Larry & I have committed ourselves to help with the Village of Hope and the farm in Bulale. Each year we spend a couple of months helping on site. While Larry was busy at the farm developing infrastructure projects (future post), I enjoyed spending time with the children at the Village of Hope. This school is one of 10 Village of Hope locations in Africa and opened in April 2018. Both the Lower Class (Junior Kindergarten in North America) & Upper Class (Senior Kindergarten) have approximately 17 children who were chosen because they were ‘at risk’ for a variety of reasons and may not have otherwise had the chance to attend school. I spent most of my time with the Upper Class and really came to know them & their amazing teacher, Betty.
I was really impressed that these kids didn’t know English when they started school and only 6 months later are taught exclusively in English. They take pride in their work and were happy to show me what they were working on.
A huge advantage of the small class size is the chance for one-on-one attention when needed.
Mid-morning they are served a nutritious porridge which they really look forward to.
Tanzania, like many African countries, faces some big food challenges in the future. A current population of over 50 million is expected to increase to 134 million people by 2050. Global warming may cause severe food shortages and this beautiful country could be faced with a challenge to feed its population.
For the past few years we been looking to get involved in a project that could increase the quality of life for people in Africa. It is easy living in Canada to take for granted all that we have from homes, cars, clothing, food and education. An opportunity has presented itself to us in Tanzania. A new Village of Hope (Bulale) is in its initial phase of construction and plans to open to students in January 2018.
A few hundred metres from the Village of Hope complex is their 70+ acre farm that has been under utilized but has great potential. This is our short exploratory trip to view the facilities and see if we can contribute to the development of the farm. We would like to spend time here each winter helping out at the farm.
The future direction of the farm is in it’s initial phase but some goals would include meeting the food needs of the Village Of Hope, increasing the production of the farm to generate income and to provide agricultural training for the surrounding community. Hopefully our nearly 25 years in business will help us contribute, in some small way, to the success of the project.
It is our desire that some of you reading this post will take the time to investigate the Village of Hope website and decide to sponsor a child or contribute financially to one of their great programs.
We had a great visit at Village of Hope Mwanza. Village of Hopeis an amazing organization that gives help to vulnerable children by providing education, nutrition, healthcare & housing (when needed). They currently have 9 locations in 6 African Countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe & Burundi) and provide help to 3,000 children.
We were very impressed with what we saw at the Village of Hope Mwanza. Not only do they house 86 children ranging in age from 3 years old to early twenties, they also have about 200 kids from the community that come each week day for school & nutritious meals. All of the older children go to community high schools as VOH Mwanza currently offers classes from pre-school through Grade 6.
In total they have 10 houses, each with 8 to 9 kids and one house mother. Every house has both boys & girls as well as mixed ages which feels more like family to the children. The kids are also required to help with chores such as laundry, cooking & cleaning so that they learn the skills they will need to be independent. The meals are cooked in a traditional Tanzanian outdoor kitchen.
There is also one large outdoor kitchen where all of the house mothers cook a mid morning & mid day meal for all 250+ kids who go to school on-site. Watching them cook was very fascinating which may deserve a blog post on its own!
The grounds were well cared for and kept clean both by the kids and staff.
One room is set up for sewing as well as a dedicated man who does beautiful beadwork.
There is also a large garage/machine shop where many pieces of equipment, large & small, get fixed.
The kids were a lot of fun to meet! Huge smiles, happy greetings and a lot of silliness 🙂