At the foot of Kilimanjaro, nestled in the barren, romantic landscape, the mountain village of Shimbwe can be found. However, nature's beauty can be deceiving and can do little to diminish the signifigance of the poverty which grips the region. The Child & Family Foundation, along with the help of the aid organisation Enjetare & C-re-aid, have made it their goal to restore two of the primary schools in the region and, in so doing, to optimise the learning environment and to give the children of Shimbwe a chance at a better future.
A font of knowledge in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro
The Shimbwe Chini Primary School in Tanzania can look back on a long history and this is reflected in the state of the school's buildings. Thanks to the Child & Family Foundation's support, some of the school's buildings have already been renovated and
It crumbled and fell
One of the schools is called the Chini Shimbwe Primary School. The 70-year old building is perched on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and is subjected at times to heavy rain as well as direct sun shine, as well as being exposed to other climatic and structural influences, which threaten the building materials and foundations. The school serves 250 children who are divided up into seven classes and a children's nursery. The school also has a director's office, for Vincent Temba, an office for teaching staff, a kitchen as well as a dining room, toilets, two unfinished houses for teaching staff and a playground outdoors. The school was built in 1948, has not been renovated once since then and the building materials require urgent replacement.
The school's infrastructure is in such a bad way that the children no longer have a safe place in which to learn. The classrooms and the sanitary facilities, dining room, kitchen and windows had already long come to the end of their lifespan and appeared to be held together by merely a coat of paint. Both the interior as well as the electricity and plumbing systems proved to be in a shocking state. In March 2019, the Child & Family Foundation made plans and suggestions for renovations with the help of Enjetare and Ce-re-aid and the budget was approved during the course of the summer.
A new look
In September 2019, we were able to start renovating. Planning the logistics for the transport of the necessary materials proved to be the greatest challenge as the route to the school follows a mountain school and only all-terrain vehicles are suitable. Under the watchful eye of the Spanish architect, Eva Cabezuelo, the team which was made up of locals, belgians, italians and germans got to work: Obsolete sections of building were torn down and, as of December, three new classrooms, the Headmaster's office and the sanitary facilities rose out of the rubble. The school's electricity supply was also repaired to ensure no further power cuts. Modernisation and renovation of the remaining buildings in the school's grounds and the plumbing system are on the cards for 2020.