Dear Project Wezesha Supporters,
Thank you so much for joining us on this journey! We are seriously rounding the bend in a big way!!
There are two great updates to share:
Co-founder Rai Farrelly will be joining Lucas in July to observe the progress, get updates to share with you and keep the momentum going with the local government. In addition, we are excited to announce that we have a fabulous intern joining us for 6 weeks this summer. Brian Fredrichs, newly elected student body president of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT will be living in Mgaraganza village with our friends Ashahadu and Jane. We look forward to his work and contributions to the project.
We also wish to thank our friend, Krista Arthur who visited the village and stayed with Ashadahu and Jane for two weeks. The photos in this project update were provided by Krista and we love having them to get excited about the progress!
Thank you so much for all your support! Please continue to share our work and encourage friends to contribute as we round the bend on the school! Our efforts won't stop there, of course. As you may know, we have a great scholarship program and we are excited to be able to add 30 girls through Girls Education International this summer, bringing our scholarship impact to almost 60 children in the region! You can support our children's scholarship fund by visiting this link and contributing.
Asante Sana!!Rai Farrelly and Lucas LameckCo-founders, Project Wezesha
We here at Project Wezesha hope that 2013 has started off with good fortune and love for all of you!
We are happy to share the news that the 3rd quad at Amahoro Secondary School is getting its roof this month! Thanks to your generous contributions, we were able to make sure that Isaya and his competent crew of builders had the funds necessary to pay for the wood, nails, iron, aluminum, and transportation to make this 3rd 'roof raising' possible! Of all the pieces of the big school building puzzle, the roof is the most expensive. There are truckloads of materials that go into these roofs and a good deal of labor. Once complete, this will give us 12 mostly completed classrooms and 2 administrative spaces. The details that remain are being taken care of by the Government of Kigoma and include doors, windows, floors and furniture.
In addition to rounding the bend on our 3rd quad, the foundation for the 4th set of 4 classrooms has been complete for months now and is finally meeting its brick counterparts! The walls of our final 4 classrooms will be complete in no time and then that quad, too, will be ready for a roof raising! If you live in Salt Lake, keep your eyes and ears open for news of our 3rd Annual Raise the Roof Music fest and fundraiser.
In other good news, we have a new intern going to Tanzania this summer. Brian Fredrich, a student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, will be traveling to Kigoma to live with our friends Jane and Ashahadu in Mgaraganza Village. We are very excited to have Brian join the project team this summer. He demonstrates a strong knowledge about sustainable development work and is eager to help out with the needs of the villagers. He has excellent cross-cultural competence and has previous experience working on a conservation project in Namibia. We anticiapte that Brian will teach in the primary and secondary schools, help us develop our mentorship program with our 5 Amani Hope Scholarship students and become best friends with Lucas!
And finally, on a personal note for Project Wezesha - our co-founder and in-country project director, Lucas Lameck is a father! Join us in raising a glass to Lucas, his partner Asha and their new baby girl - Catherine Zilabela. There is talk of a big wedding for Lucas and Asha this summer so keep a look out for those images!
Great big thank you for all of your support! It takes a while to complete a school this big in a village and we are so grateful for all your dedication and patience as we make this school a reality!
Asante sana,Rai Farrelly & Lucas LameckCo-Founders and BestiesProject Wezesha
Wow! This was a tremendous summer for Amahoro Secondary School. The work on the ground this summer was productive, important business relationships were strengthened, community support was leveraged and co-founder Lucas Lameck learned a tremendous amount about being a project leader.
In terms of school construction progress, we are happy to report that all four blocks of the school are at various stages of development.
The first block with four classrooms and two offices have completed walls and roofs. The village and town leaders, along with Lucas and I, have made good headway toward garnering government support for the completion of these classrooms. The leadership in Kigoma Town has rallied and offered to complete this phase of the project by providing doors, windows and floors.
The remaining three blocks are all under construction. Block two contains four classrooms - walls and roofs were completed this summer! Block three has a complete foundation for all four classrooms and bricks have been purchased for the walls on these rooms - to be completed very soon! Block four foundation is underway currently and plans are set for the cement to be poured before the rainy season sets in.
Together, our co-founder Lucas, our intern Katy and I spent time working with village leaders to ensure that everyone is aware of the complexity of village development and the need for collaboration. We highlighted challenges that had arisen over the year and acknowledged the efforts made by supportive community members. I spoke to them during a meeting - giving a 'speech' in Kiswahili that you can view on our site. In this talk, I emphasized the importance of their continued support and the value this school will have on their bright, enthusiastic children. It was well-received and served to strengthen our shared commitment to the project.
Lucas came into his leadership role with Project Wezesha because he was motivated, invested in children's education and proficient in English. His training for leadership was non-existant; but over the years through his work with Project Wezesha, Lucas has learned how to assert himself, keep a budget and conduct meetings with leaders who are often his elders. This summer, we identified some significant mentors in the town leadership who gave Lucas invaluable insights about conducting business and fighting corruption. It has been remarkable to watch him develop in this role and of course, without him - Project Wezesha would not exist.
On behalf of the villagers whose children will attend Amahoro Secondary starting January 2014, the leadership who value your support and Lucas, who has grown as a man and leader in his community, I want to say - without you, none of this would be possible! Asante sana (thank you very much) - you make all the difference.
Greetings friends and supporters of Project Wezesha,
Thank you so much for your kind and generous support of the project to provide a school for 1,000 children in Tanzania! Your contributions to this project are funding the 16 classroom Amahoro Secondary School, which will be the first ever for the village of Mgaraganza village and the other four villages in the district. We are excited about the outpouring of support in recent months and feel confident that we will be able to reach our goal of completing this school by the summer of 2013.
Some of the obstacles to progress this past year were the unavoidable rainy seasons that take away approximately 6 working months per year and an unfortunate accident that resulted in the breaking of our General Contractor, Isaya's hand. Fortunately, Isaya has healed nicely and is back to work with his crew. Now that funds are streaming back through the project, thanks to the help of you and other fabulous supporters, the building is rolling out as we speak!
On Friday, June 15th, we hosted our 2nd Annual Raise the Roof fundraiser in Salt Lake City, UT. It was a fun event with live music, a silent auction and raffle. On our website, you can read more about the local supporters and musical talent, without whom this event would not have happened. The event raised $3,500 - which goes a long way for our project! Big thanks to all the volunteers who made the night a success!
We also want to acknowledge the amazing support of the first year medical students at the University of Texas at Austin. Together, with their mentor, Dr. Oakes they raised $15,000 for Project Wezesha!
Finally, we are excited about the wedding of Shelmina and Minaz. Shelmina was raised in Tanzania and Minaz was raised in Uganda. They have been living in the US for many years now and wanted to give back to their home countries. They're starting in Tanzania by asking their friends and family to donate to this project in lieu of gifts for their upcoming July wedding! So far, the impact has been tremendous and Shelmina and I believe we may be building another school together sooner than later!
Please stay tuned as I venture to Kigoma, Tanzania on July 11th to track progress, have meetings with the villagers and local government and of course - take many pictures and videos of the project in action! You'll be able to watch your dollars at work by checking our Facebook page and website over the summer months.
We are sincerely grateful for all your support and the trust you place in us to carry your donation to its final destination > Amahoro Secondary School!
With love and gratitude,Asante sana!
Rai Farrelly and Lucas Lameckco-founders, Project Wezesha
Greetings Supporters of Project Wezesha - a partner of Girls Education International!
Thank you (Asante!) for your fabulous support over the past year. It has been an exciting year and we are looking forward to a productive 2012!
In 2011, Project Wezesha hosted the first annual Raise the Roof fundraiser. The objective was to raise enough funds to put roofs on our first block of classrooms at the school. With 6 music artists donating their talent, a local venue donating space, several local businesses donating items for the auction and raffle and of course numerous volunteers donating their time - we were able to not only have a blast but raise over $4,000! With those funds, we did 'raise the roof' on our first 4 classrooms and 2 offices.
Since then, the structural foundation for the next four classrooms has been established and the bricks are going up slowly but surely. We are waiting for the end of the rainy season and another surge of funds and then we are back in business!
Last year, I sat with Hindu and Saidi - two of our scholarship students - and we discussed the state of secondary education in the area. It was a depressing conversation in some regards because these bright youngsters were critically reflecting on some of the more unpleasant realities of rural education - oversized classes, absence of textbooks and disengaged, underpaid teachers. However, I also found this conversation to be insightful and therefore hopeful. They were able to articulate their thoughts in English, a language not many speak well in the village (other than teachers and some older students). Their awareness of the situation showed me that they will also be able to problematize challenges in their community and approach them with an eye for solutions. (See our conversation through the video link below: Hindu and Saidi discuss education in Tanzania.)
One hopeful development of this conversation is a growing interest within Project Wezesha to seek out partnerships with teacher education programs in Tanzania. We want to identify ways to strengthen the teaching force in the village. This summer, we aim to invite teacher trainers into the village to provide professional development trainings and incentives. As a teacher educator, I am invested in the notion that much of student success hinges on the effectiveness of the teachers. I'm looking forward to exploring this issue at lenght this summer and I'm grateful to Hindu and Saidi for keeping it real.
Another exciting development for Project Wezesha is that we will have our first intern this year! A bright Colby College student will be going to Tanzania this summer to live with one of our close community friends in Mgaraganza Village. Katy and I have begun to develop a plan of action for her time in the village. With Katy's help, we will collect interviews from community members related to Project Wezesha's work, we will explore the deeper desires of the village leaders related to their community development plan and we will endeavor to increase teacher development and engagement in the local primary school. Katy is also excited to spend time teaching English at Mgaraganza Primary School.
Please, feel free to let us know what you think about the work we are doing! We invite feedback and welcome continued support through tax deductible contributions and spreading the word. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Team Project WezeshaLucas Lameck & Rai Farrelly
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Co-Founder, Project Wezesha; Treasurer, Girls Education International