Our Mission

Generating growth for African children and communities devastated by HIV-AIDS and poverty, through the goodwill of people in the UK and elsewhere

News Archive - August - 2014

Marissa's time in Tanzania nears its end

Marissa's time in Tanzania nears its end

The time nears, much too quickly, when I again will have to leave Tanzania. I have visited many projects, some of them projects my host organization here, Art in Tanzania (AIT) work closely with placing volunteers, and some projects I have either sought out or somehow networked my way to (one of them on a dalla-dalla talking to a Canadian woman conducting health seminars here). I have visited little kindergartens in the poorest of neighbourhoods or in rural Moshi, some of these with only a roof for a school building, some of these a bit better equipped with facilities even to wash your hands before eating. All of them run by dedicated Tanzanians, many of whom do not get paid for their work. I have visited a vocational school, Mkombozi run by the indomitable Bibi Mshana, whose school offers formal training to girls and boys to become tailors, work in hotel management, tourism, and catering. The school offers classes in English, German, French, business skills, computer skills and more. All of this is done in extremely modest surroundings and with very little funding. The school boasts a very good success rate in placing their graduates in gainful employment. They are also quite good at marketing their skills and generating a modest income for themselves. Last night I attended a meeting of the Tumaine Soweto Women’s group. There are 20 women in the group who pay monthly membership fees in order to run a catering business that generates more income for the group, so that they can also help fund the individual small business the women run. They have plans to start a daycare center (a novel idea for Tanzania where full day care centers do not exist) so that more women can have the opportunity to get jobs. A problem in Tanzania is that many working women have to leave their young children in the villages with relatives as there is no childcare otherwise. I was at the meeting as part of a newly formed organization that is providing grassroots groups with advice and training to help them reach their goals.

These are just a few of the projects I have been getting acquainted with. All of them are founded and run by dedicated Tanzanians wanting to give the members of their communities a better life. I am really fortunate to be allowed to participate in that process. And I look forward already to my return.

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Remembering Tree 2014 gets go ahead from Council

Remembering Tree 2014 gets go ahead from Council

Woohoo!!

Stratford District Council have just approved our application, to use one of their trees, for this year’s 'Remembering Tree'.

To gain permission we have had to supply risk assessments, method statements and complete an application form.
#TRT2014

Read more here 

The first Montessori kindergarten in a Tanzanian government school

The first Montessori kindergarten in a Tanzanian government school

This was an initiative spearheaded by our Trustee and Treasurer Marissa Alvarez. GAGA UK along with Art in Tanzania, Korongoni School in Moshi, Clara and Marissa worked to make this become a reality. What an achievement!

Read the full article here

She’s done it!

She’s done it!

After a summer of early mornings, wind and rain, packed cars and mentoring two young Grandchildren, Sylvia has reached her fundraising target of £1000.  What an achievement, what a commitment. We are so grateful for her hard work and her support of our work in Southern Africa. Of course a special mention needs to be made about Sylvia’s Grandchildren who have often accompanied her. Both Francesca and Isabel have helped raise the total. 

Update from Tanzania

Update from Tanzania

Marissa updates us from Tanzania

Tusaidiane (Let’s Help Each Other) is a women’s society operating in Newlands Village, Moshi Rural, Tanzania whose mission is “to provide economic, emotional, and educational support to the women of Tanzania in order to foster gender equality and improve standards of living”.  Tusaidiane fosters emotional strength and cohesion through support groups and community awareness discussions wherein women discuss problems, exchange ideas, and formulate solutions from their unique, feminine perspectives.

Tusaidiane also promotes fiscal responsibility and support among its members. To help in this area, Tusaidiane maintains personal savings accounts for its members, which they access on a cyclical basis. They also encourage members to contribute to a hardship fund available to those members who are experiencing health problems or family bereavements. Together these activities encourage members to be financially responsible, whilst assisting one another. Tusaidiane also provides members with information on topics such as local and global women’s movements, international women’s and human rights agendas, child and maternal health, and women’s reproductive health. With awareness of such issues Tusaidiane members’ minds are broadened to include a range of contemporary gender equality discussions, providing a foundation for social change dialogue amongst themselves and with others in the community.

I was invited to one of the seminars - on behaviours in romantic relationships. When I heard the topic (the workshop was to be led by a Canadian health worker, with the help of a translator in the community - a model the two had been successfully employing for the last couple of months), my first, and frankly, lasting, thought was that there was no way women from this small rural village were going to participate actively. I was proved very wrong! There were 32 women at the workshop, and when asked to place cards with behaviours on the board in one of three columns - acceptable, not acceptable and ambiguous - they flocked to the board to tape them where they thought they should. And then when asked to discuss why they were placed in the columns they chose, they eagerly discussed their thoughts and feelings about male - female issues. There was a fairly free flow of laughter and discussion for the next hour about sex, physical abuse and spousal control issues.

The women of Newlands Village have been meeting regularly for about four years and they know they have a safe space to discuss issues that are specific to women and to change in their lives. I was delighted to join them for this seminar.

Sylvia plugs away in aid of GAGA

Sylvia plugs away in aid of GAGA

Sylvia, one of our wonderful Ambassadors, spends her summers raising money for GAGA at any car boot sale where she can get a pitch. She sells everything on her stall and has become well known for her plants (which she propagates herself). Sylvia has even built up her own team of dedicated helpers, Lois (Pictured, who joined Sylvia for a trip to South Africa to see firsthand what GAGA does back in 2012) and Sylvia’s two grand-children Francesca and Isabel.

Despite the weather, long hours and early starts Sylvia remains committed to raising funds for GAGA. We are so lucky to have her support. Each year she has a target to raise £1000 and she is well on her way to achieving that again this year. 

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Sylvia's Grand Daughter, Francesca manning the Bric-a-Brac Stall

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Sylvia's Grand Daughter, Isabel manning the Plant Stall

Better together

Better together

We have had a busy morning, today meeting with Carol from Spirit of Africa, discussing our future collaboration with them and how we will continue to support Ithembalihle together. Currently we have a 50/50 funding partnership and this is set to continue going forward.

 

Latest update from Tanzania

Latest update from Tanzania

Sango nursery is a small nursery school in rural Moshi in Tanzania. About 20 children 3 to 6 years old attend morning sessions absolutely free of charge. It serves the poorest families in the local vicinity, whose families cannot afford to send them to government school kindergarten.  There is one local volunteer to teach the children. The nursery was founded in 2000 by Anna Edwards, a nurse by profession, and is run by her and the Tumaini  (Hope) Women's Group. The group is made up of 8 widows, who pool their resources together to make a living by selling pigs, eggs and chickens, and by growing corn and vegetables for themselves and for selling. They do a great deal with very little.

Marissa was there to learn about their work and introduce two volunteers from the organisation she is helping with programme development in Tanzania. She said the women ‘were a true inspiration’. 

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What happened next?

What happened next?

Didn't get the email? Don’t worry. Here is what happened next after TRT 2013. Including what happened with the squares and what we did with all the wonderful funds raised.

Read more here

Zimele's Annual Report

Zimele's Annual Report

We’re really proud to share with you this year’s annual report from one of our South African partners, Zimele.

As you will read, progress has been exciting and achievements numerous!

Zimele's Annual Report 2013/14

What a difference a year makes!

What a difference a year makes!

Marissa, GAGA’s  Treasurer and Trustee is currently in Tanzania catching up with projects that she has been involved with and that GAGA UK has also supported. Marissa is also spending time exploring new projects in the Moshi area.

As and when she can get an Internet connection she is going to share with us what she has been getting up to.  Her first update is from her visit to Korongoni Primary School, a project which we have been supporting.

What a difference a year makes! 

A year ago, with your support, the Montessori Kindergarten opened at Korongoni Primary School  in Moshi. It is the first and, as far as we know, still the only Montessori programme in a government school in Tanzania. 

This past week I returned to the school and was met with not only a very different classroom setting, but also with children who were concentrating, listening and learning in a way that was simply not possible in the previous environment.  Clara, the main teacher, who originally introduced the idea, says she now looks forward to the school day, whereas before she felt it was hopeless. She and the new Montessori teacher, Mary, work very well together and they are getting through the curriculum with relative ease. For the first time they are actually even able to introduce English to the kindergarten classes. The subject is a required part of the school curriculum but there had never been time to get that far because much of teachers’ time was spent just getting the class to settle. So the kids entered standard 1 class unprepared for the next level of English.  

You all helped to provide the kindergarten with colourful and engaging materials, age-appropriate desks and chairs with plenty of room for writing and drawing, as well as exercise booklets for the children. That in turn encouraged the teachers to create teaching aids themselves and now the classroom walls are adorned with  pictures and other materials that the teachers use as teaching aids.  And, Clara is very proud to tell that some parents in the area have taken their children out of their local school to bring them to the Montessori classroom, but there is not enough room to say yes to more than a handful extra. Some parents have offered to pay extra to get a place!

We have also been fortunate to receive beginner readers, donated by Wendy Tweedie founder of PhonicBooks. This coming week, Clara and I will spend time going through the books and finding ways to integrate them into the curriculum.  Clara has asked me to help her with ideas to make English learning more interesting for the children, and in the coming weeks we will work on that together,  involving some of the volunteers from the programme here, making visual materials and working in small groups. 

Korongoni Montessori Kindergarten 2

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