Education workers from Sunderland College have travelled to Tanzania to try to make a difference in a country where a day spent at school is still considered a luxury.
The trip was to Moshi, Tanzania, as part of the Maasai Education Project and Andrew Calder, Careers Advisor at Sunderland College, said he felt ‘humbled’ by the experience.
Laura Mitford, who also travelled to Africa, worked with students to fundraise for the venture as part of the enrichment programme offered by Sunderland College – and almost £800 in donations were made by generous students.
Andrew and Laura were part of a group of five from the North East who helped build new classrooms and a playground and handed out toys, books, pens and backpacks at an orphanage.
Andrew said: “Travelling to Tanzania has been an eye-opening experience. The few schools that are there rely on hand-outs, struggle to pay staff and in some tribal areas schools still don’t even exist.
“We also visited an orphanage called ‘Simba’s Footprints’ that relies solely on donations to care for the children.
“Here we were able to give each child some much needed writing materials and a Sunderland AFC shirt which had been donated by fans.
“It makes you realise how trivial your own day-to-day worries can be.”
Andrew hopes the trip can be the start of a partnership between Sunderland College and the Moshi community.
He said: “Getting these education programmes off the ground is just the start. We want to be able to help the Moshi community for years to come.
“As a college we recognise what we can do to support those from other parts of the world less fortunate than ourselves.
“As part of this we’re hoping that following another fundraising drive we can return to Tanzania this time with some college students.
“The project in the Maasai village would be a great opportunity for students to stay within the community, help construct new classrooms and work with the children.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring the Maasai Education Project or making a donation to the orphanage should contact Andrew on 0191 511 6000. Check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/MoshiWatotoProject