By Sandra Vaughan, Grand Circle Foundation Project Manager, East Africa
In early March, Grand Circle Foundation had an incredible 36 hours rolling out projects in East Africa. Most important, of course, is the impact these projects will have on the schools that we support. On a busy Friday, the Foundation funded four projects at Tanzania’s Njia Panda and Changarawe primary schools, with the goal of bringing the schools up to speed with technology.
For two years, the schools have been asking for a photocopier. While initially this sounded like a luxury, it no longer is. It’s a necessity. Every week, grades 4 and 7 partake in tests used to monitor the schools’ overall progress. These tests are conducted alongside other schools to create a competitive atmosphere. Hundreds of test papers are photocopied weekly, which involves a teacher being absent from school for the day and traveling four to five miles to the nearest copy machine, and then paying 100 Tanzanian shillings per copy (the equivalent of 5 cents U.S.).
Our second project at each school was to donate three laptops, a screen, a projector, and a sound system. Again, is this considered a luxury? Studies have shown that East African children who have no technology skills whatsoever will not get jobs in the future. With this snippet of information and the fact that all head teachers need a laptop to communicate with their government departments, laptops and technology are necessities.
Over the last two years we have had some exceptionally generous travelers, and we thank them. Without their donations, completing these projects—and so many more—would never have been possible.
A group of O.A.T. travelers who recently visited Changarawe Primary donated four laptops. The story started six months before their adventure, when Group Leaders Tina and Johnathan reached out to ask if they could donate laptops to a school they were visiting while on Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari. They had previously visited in 2010, and realized the urgent necessity of bringing technology to schools. This year they brought a group of family and friends who all contributed to purchasing Dell computers.
Thank you to the whole group. What an incredible gift to a school: four laptops, learning DVDs, a projector, and school supplies.
Immediately after setting up the laptops in the library, the teacher commenced her first lesson with four students. What a moment.
See firsthand the impact Grand Circle Foundation has had on schools in East Africa during Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari.