Plan of the Dining Hall
All of us at the Tanzania Development Trust would like to say a very big thank you to the very many Trusts, Churches, Groups, Schools and Individuals who have helped to make our appeal a success- and just in the nick of time. By the end of November, when the FGM Cutting season begins in Mara, Mama Rhobi the Project leader tells us that 40 girls will come for sanctuary to the Safe House. They will find that the buildings of the Safe House and Vocational Training Centre (VTC) are complete, although the VTC will not open until January.
Donations have come from France, Germany (where two girls gave their pocket money), the USA (especially the Friends of Tanzania), and England. Here people have dug deep into their pockets, held special evenings, run fell races, sold their art work and ceramics, bought cards and artefacts and taken Mama Rhobi and this project into their hearts. Several Trusts have donated most generously; more than 280 individuals have given through GlobalGiving and Just Giving. In all we have now been able to transfer around £70,000 to Mara Diocese. But we haven’t finished and especially Rhobi’s friends in Bamford Chapel in Rochdale are going on fund-raising right through December.
Mama Rhobi was here in late September and for three weeks in October- well, she nearly wasn’t! Her Visa was refused by our Government even though she was due to speak in the House of Commons! A massive campaign was mounted over a week with more than 30 MPs and ministers being contacted and the Government gave in. Rhobi’s tour was a huge success. She covered 700 miles and spoke to 17 different groups in London and the Home Counties, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Worcestershire and to schools, churches, Soroptimists, a university and in Portcullis House, of the House of Commons and raised over £9,000 to date, with some more contributions to come.
So that’s it then? Done and Dusted? Well, not quite. At the moment there is no kitchen, and all the cooking is going to have to be done in a garden shed, which doesn’t sound too good for hygiene or safety. The Diocese has decided to put the kitchen at the back of a rather large multi-purpose dining hall, and the two buildings together with water and electricity are going to cost another £28,000 ($45,000). That’s a bit steep, you might say, and we at TDT did too, until Rhobi revealed what friends of Blackadder would recognise as a “cunning plan”!
The Safe House girls will be able to use the Hall for singing, dancing and making music. In addition, the Dining Hall, which even includes a stage, has been designed so that it can be let as a wedding venue. Tanzanians adore large wedding parties, with plenty of loud music, dancing and doubtless many speeches. The income from the hall can then be used to help the running costs of the Safe House. Seen like that, it becomes a very good idea. So we are keeping the Global Giving Appeal open, hoping to raise this final amount.
My wife Ann and I will be there for the formal opening on February 27th 2015.
Best wishes to all our donors
Rhobi with UK students who donated over $1000
Evening Standard Article Oct 15th 2014