Trustees Visit February 2016

Dee & George Smerdon had a visit to Malezi and reported some exciting new.

We’ve recently returned from Geita, having had a very happy time with Mary and the children. You will also be receiving individual reports from Nicky. We were so pleased we could do these personally with the children and Mary and the lovely house mother Faridah.

This letter though is to bring you up to date on an important decision Mary has made about the children’s education. Firstly though, we were delighted to see how well the children are and how happily settled they are living at Malezi. We vividly remember their arrival 18 months ago, in varying physical and emotional states. You have completely transformed these children’s lives! 

When we arrived, Mary shared with us her concerns about the children’s education. They have completed one year at Rich Hill but Mary says there is generally a lack of progress, with several children still illiterate. She feels the school has failed the children. We saw the exam results and reports which confirmed what Mary is saying. We visited Rich Hill and discussed the individual children with the Head and his staff. The key issue is to do with language and understanding. Rich Hill teaches in English (and will continue to do so) and the children have not been able to learn significant amounts so as to understand the lessons. Several children do have learning difficulties arising from their troubled starts in life and these are not being addressed. 

The Tanzanian Government  under a new, and, seemingly progressive, President has passed a law decreeing ‘free’ primary and secondary education with all teaching to be in Swahili.

It so happens that there is a rural Government nursery and primary school called “Ikulwa” and is set in lovely countryside about 5 miles from Malezi. Mary visited this school and felt this would be a better place for the children. We went there and were impressed too. The Head teacher was very nice and welcoming, clearly well educated, speaking excellent English and has been at the school for 5 years. There are 1000 pupils but no class has more than 50 children. He explained that the President (who used to be a teacher himself) has ordered a new National curriculum which is supported by textbooks provided by the government. The atmosphere at the school was very positive. We have total confidence in these decisions Mary is making and hope that you will also feel you can support this change. It is clearly in the best interests of the children. 

With best wishes and many thanks,

Dee and George

(Trustees of Friends of Malezi)