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 to the right show the development of the building since 2005.
HERI SPECIAL SCHOOL, MPOROTO, TANZANIA
This has been a year of significant change for the Heri School. As you know, the founder of the school, Egha Egha, sadly died last March and has been succeeded by his daughter, Safina, who is dedicated to carrying on the work of the school in honour of her father’s memory. During the past year the Foundation has continued to support the school with a number of projects, including the building of a wall surrounding the school, and paying for repairs when severe rainfall caused subsidence close to the building. The Foundation also purchased a laptop for Safina and this has greatly improved our communication with her, especially as she can now email photos and videos. The Foundation supplements the salaries of the staff twice yearly and has recently donated money to purchase various teaching materials. Finally, in the past week, we have paid for the installation of additional toilets on the school premises.
The school was recently visited by Tanzanian Government education inspectors. They suggested a number of improvements which could be made to the school if and when funds permit. Sadly, they did not offer to supply any funds themselves! However, they “approved” the present uses of the buildings, which means that the school can legally continue to function as a special school. The further stage of official “registration” will be considered when the suggested improvements have been completed. One of these was the improvement to toilets, mentioned previously. Another urgent aim is the provision of fire extinguishers. After that, we need a level, fenced playground for organised games and physical exercise; this will be provided if and when funds permit.
As a result of the inspectors’ visit to the school, I am hoping to make contact with the department of education in the Tanzanian Government to see whether Heri School, now that it is built and functioning, can receive any government funding. In the meantime, it falls to the St Jude Foundation to provide what funds we can (supplemented by the fund-raising efforts of the school staff with their farm and shop). So, as always, donations are very welcome at any time. Thank you again for all your past generosity. Visit our Facebook page to see some photos recently taken at Heri School. We have also uploaded a short video to YouTube, click here to have a look.
So, despite the great sadness of losing Egha, the future of the school seems to be in good hands. The school will continue to need our support so, as always, donations will be gratefully received at any time.
With very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
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.
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Mporoto is near Mbeya in the South West of Tanzania