Heri Special School
Working with the St. Jude Foundation - registered charity no. 800451
Please help us to raise money for The Heri Special School at Mporoto, Tanzania
Tanzania, in East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Although the Tanzanian government's policy is that all children should be entitled to primary education, this does not, in practice, extend to handicapped or disabled children, who are mostly kept at home; in many cases their families are ashamed for them to be seen. This was the situation a few years ago at Mporoto, a large village near the town of Mbeya in the south-west of Tanzania.
Then one day a teacher called Egha Egha visited Mporoto and was so distressed by what he saw that he made a big decision, – to leave his teaching job and set up a special school for the disabled children of Mporoto. For the next few years, with great difficulty, Mr Egha kept the school going, using various rented buildings (one of which was destroyed by a storm!). The school received no state support, and the pupils parents were too poor to pay school fees; so Mr Egha started a small farm to provide funds for the school, growing maize and other crops and vegetables for sale, with the help of the pupils' parents (this work continues today.)
Mr Egha calls his school "Heri Special School”, “Heri” is the Swahili word for “happiness”.
In 2005, with the support of the St. Jude Foundation, Mr Egha began the task of providing a permanent building for his school at Mporoto. A piece of land was bought, plans were drawn up, and work began on laying the foundations of the building. Since then, the building work has continued slowly but steadily; the rate of progress has depended (and still depends) on the ability of the St. Jude Foundation to raise enough funds to keep the work going. The photos show the development of the building over the past five years.
Recent News and Photos
See our Facebook page for recent photos from the Heri Special School.
We are very pleased to announce that during the course of 2012 we received a total of £11,737 in donations. The money has mainly been spent on: provision of covered way outside classrooms; installation of ceiling boards in classrooms; painting and decorating (internal and external); purchase of furniture; purchase of wheelchairs, books and classroom materials. Thank you to everyone who has helped to raise money for the Heri Special School. We look forward to another great year.
The recent photos (please see Facebook) show two disabled children recently admitted to Heri Special School – Mwajanga (5) and Zuhura (9). Two other recent admissions (both girls) have been Elina (5), who has Down’s Syndrom, and Zawadi (7), who has cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties and no speech. It is worth remembering that, without Heri School, none of these children would have a school to go to: they would have been kept at home throughout their childhood and, in some cases, hidden from the outside world to avoid bringing shame upon their families. The fact that they are now able to attend a school which meets their special needs is entirely due to the consistent and generosity of you and all our supporters and benefactors. In seven years, Heri School has grown from nothing to a school which is now functioning at least in a basic way and providing a gradually improving level of service to “special” children and their families in the area of Mporoto.
More still needs to be done in providing furniture and equipment: Mr. Egha is very keen, if and when possible, to provide training for the older children to give them the skills to make a living when they leave school. This means that the school will need such equipment as sewing-machines, carpentry and cooking facilities, all of which unfortunately cost money; so any support which you can give us at any time will be gratefully received. As I think you know, all those who help the St Jude Foundation give their services free of charge, and we have no office or advertising expenses to meet, so all donations received go entirely to support our work in Tanzania.
Thank you for all your help and generosity. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Since I last wrote to you, there have been several improvements to the building at Heri School: the classrooms have been painted and decorated, as you can see from the recent photo of the nursery class, and ceiling boards have been installed to reduce the noise of rain on the metal roofs (in the rainy season this can be deafening!). Externally, the walls have been painted and a covered way has been installed to provide shelter from the rain, - again, in the rainy season this is badly needed. Many thanks to our generous supporters who have made these improvements possible.
As you may remember, there are several severely disabled children in the area who are unable to attend the school because of the practical difficulties in transporting them there at present. School staff visit them weekly in their homes to provide advice and to help so far as possible. One form of help which most of them need is a good wheelchair, and we are now in the process of providing these, - again thanks to the generosity of our supporters. You can see Rehema and Aggie in their wheelchairs in the photos (previously, Rehema could only move by shuffling around on the floor). So, although we cannot get these children to school at present, we can at least do something to improve their quality of life at home.
Thank you very much for all your kind support. Donations are extremely welcome at any time. Please contact us if you would like any more information about the St Jude Foundation or about our work in Tanzania.
With all good wishes,
The St. Jude Foundation will be very grateful for any contributions, large or small. The Foundation has no paid staff and no office or other administrative expenses to meet; all those who help run the Foundation give their services free, so all money donated goes in payments to the project in Tanzania.
For more information please see our donations page
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Mporoto is near Mbeya in the South West of Tanzania