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.
I have to give you some very sad news: Egha Egha, formerly Head Teacher of Heri Special School, has died. He had been ill for many months, firstly after being severely kicked by a cow (which his family kept to provide milk), and secondly when he developed pneumonia. We have to bear in mind that hospital facilities in Tanzania are very limited, and we can only guess at what quality of care he received. I have never known Egha’s exact age, but I estimate that he was in his early sixties.
Egha was a wonderful man and a true Christian: he was never concerned about his own well-being but only about the needs of his family and community, and especially about the needs of the children of Heri Special School, which he worked so hard to develop. It was a privilege for the St Jude Foundation to be able to help him in that work, thanks to the generosity of you and our other supporters.
Egha realized several months ago that, owing to his health problems, he would be unable to continue as Head Teacher and he therefore decided to retire. He wished to be succeeded by his elder daughter, Safina, who is 40 years old and a qualified and experienced teacher. Since 2010 she has been studying for a degree in special education. Safina was keen to take on the headship of Heri Special School and, after checking on her teaching experience and training, I agreed that our Foundation would be willing to continue helping the school under Safina’s leadership. I am sure she will have her own ideas regarding the future development of the school. Egha’s wife, Emma, and his younger daughter, Anna, (a qualified teacher and physiotherapist) will be continuing to work at the school. I attach a photo of Egha and Safina taken a few months ago (see below).
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,
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