Our Volunteers: Fran Hewitt volunteering in Tanzania

ERSSSEdmund Rice Sinon School, Tanzania

Edmund Rice Sinon Secondary School is more than a school. It is a concept that is grounded in universal values and human aspirations.

The initiative for a secondary school came from the village leaders as early as 1984. In March 1988 the school began in some existing rooms of the primary school. The school is owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha. The funding of the building largely came from the Congregation of Christian Brothers. At present the managers of the school are from Australia and New Zealand. In 2004 the school had an enrolment of over 700 students.

The school is located five kilometers from Arusha town centre, in north-eastern Tanzania. The Sinon Secondary School has over 40 staff but each year they rely on two volunteers whose first language is English, to conduct a Special Transition/English Program for new students into the school. This program runs for 9 weeks and it is conducted 4 times, so by the end of the year all two hundred new students have done it. The needs for this program stem from the system where all primary education is conducted in Kiswahili and Secondary education is in English. There is a real need to get the students into a program that can help them make this huge step.

Fran Hewitt

Palms Australia recruited Fran Hewitt, a teacher from Hobart, to work with the students and teachers of Edmund Rice Sinon School.

Fran brings years of experience as a teacher, with experience in direct teaching and coaching, program development and coordinating regional programs. She has also provided training to teachers and aides in working with children with special needs.

Fran has experience with home care programs, providing support for people with disabilities and the aged. She has also previously volunteered with Palms Australia in South Africa.

Palms Australia needs your support to cover the costs of providing teachers to Edmund Rice Sinon School Tanzania. Please click donate above to make a recurring or one-off gift.

Exercising Freedom

November 28, 2013

Walking is the most common form of exercise. Pictured here is the “road” from Fran’s house to her workplace, Edmund Rice Sinon School.
So much has been happening here in Engosengiu and life has been so interesting; but once again I can only relate some of the experiences to give you a glimpse of what living here is like.

My teaching friends at school, Pascal, Nestory and Paul are also responsible for the fitness program at school for all the boarders and hostellers, which consists of a run around the village 3 times a week (Tues, Thurs, and Sat afternoons). Here girls and boys cannot exercise together so no one goes running with the girls, so this term I started running with them. But they are bored with just running, so I did a PowerPoint presentation on health and exercise for the girls and the teachers, (welcomed and appreciated by the Pascal, Nestory & Paul) showing them that fitness can be much more varied, interesting and fun. We (boys and girls) now do fitness circuits, and exercises to music as well as running. I also prepared a submission for the headmaster (he’s keen on sport & exercise) requesting the maintenance dept. to make some equipment for us – chin up bars, ladders and weaving poles, etc – which can also be used for the senior sports teams training sessions. They will be finished next week. The guys and I will help to paint them, then use them in our program. I have also found sporting equipment in numerous locations around the school, and put them all together in the sports store and done an inventory. That means we have balls, skipping ropes and other gear to use in our fitness program.

One Thursday we did an exercise class to music then I taught the girls (about 100 of them) the chicken dance as a fun way to finish up. There was a big spectator group watching – the headmaster, teachers, the boys, the cleaners and cooks, the boarding matrons, etc, as they’d never seen something like that before(!) and everyone (the girls participating and the crowd) laughed, wriggled and really enjoyed it. When I go on a run with the girls though the village, people stop and wave or call out – everyone seems to be happy I’m being involved and of course that makes my life here way more interesting, fun and inclusive.

Sport and exercise isn’t seen to be necessary or proper for girls/women in many African cultures. But Pascal and Nestory can see the benefits of me role-modelling for the girls, and so one afternoon I even played on the staff football (soccer) team against the Form 5 students (only for a very short time), much to all the Form 1-6 students and the village spectators amusement! But we are showing the girls it’s ok and fun for females to participate and have a go. My involvement in the exercise and sporting program has actually earned me additional popularity and respect amongst many of the males in the village, which is interesting.

Fran Hewitt, a physical education teacher from Tasmania, is currently on her second volunteer placement with Palms Australia, this time in Tanzania.

From Limpopo to Arusha

May 14, 2013

Fran Hewitt recently finished her first Palms’ placement in South Africa. She is now volunteering at Edmund Rice School in Engosengiu, Arusha, Tanzania.

Click here to read the full article

News in brief

November 15, 2012

Three brief updates from Fran Hewitt in South Africa, John Gartner in Papua New Guinea and Kernah Foster in Kiribati.

Click here to read the full article

More articles

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Population: 40,213,160

Area: 945,087 sq. km.

Median Age: 17.8

Literacy: 69.4 %

Languages: Kiswahili, Kiunguja, English, Arabic, many local languages

Tanzania was formed when newly independent Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged in 1964. It is home to Africa’s tallest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro, largest lake, Lake Victoria (which it shares with Uganda and Kenya), and deepest lake, Lake Taganyika. It also hosts the famous Serengeti National Park. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. […]

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