Our Volunteers: Jennifer Ferris volunteering in Tanzania

Shoes at Kesho LeoFood Water Shelter / Kesho Leo

Food Water Shelter is an Australian organisation which builds and maintains eco-friendly children’s villages with education, social and health facilities for vulnerable women and children in developing countries.

Kesho Leo (meaning ‘tomorrow today’) is FWS’s first children’s eco-village, located within Sinon village, in the Arusha region of Tanzania. In addition to the eco-village itself, FWS supports a variety of educational services including primary and secondary schools, adult and vocational education, community health education, English language tuition and permaculture training.

FWS is firmly committed to the principle of localisation, hoping to reduce the dependency of Kesho Leo by empowering local staff, including through training. The teachers in Sinon understand the importance of education and are committed to providing quality teaching to the children. In order to build the local teachers’ capacity to do so, Food Water Shelter placed a request with Palms Australia for an Education Manager to assist with improving their educational and management systems.

Jennifer Ferris

Jenny Ferris is a primary teacher from Palmwoods in Queensland.  She also has experience in horticulture and information technology.

Jenny brings a great variety of relevant expertise, including previously having volunteered with Palms in the Northern Territory and independently in Africa in animal rehabilitation.

Jenny is committed to contributing what she can to build a just world, and is excited about the opportunities to contribute to the education of Tanzanian children and to work with local staff to develop sustainable systems.

The placement may not be easy but Palms Australia, Food Water Shelter and Kesho Leo believe Jenny is well equipped for the task.

Supporting African Initiative

August 10, 2012

Fulvio and Wogeni fix a cabinet at Holy Family Care Centre, Bushulo, Ethiopia
Despite being the world’s second largest and second most populated continent, African news gains little traction in Australia. Occasionally stories break through, like the Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian uprisings, or the hunt for Joseph Kony, but in most cases the stories told revolve around non-Africans.

Even we at Palms may be guilty of this occasionally, focussing necessarily on the contributions of our volunteers. Each field visit, though, provides the great privilege of meeting our partners and being reminded that our volunteers are only a tiny part of a long-term development story which is driven by Africans. It is a terrific reminder of what Palms Australia is all about – supporting local initiative.

Ofcolaco, South Africa

At Holy Family Care Centre in Ofcolaco, the OLSH sisters have established a home which provides safety for vulnerable children and opportunities to participate in education programs in the community and to prepare for life beyond the centre.

Our volunteers, Fran Hewitt and Carmel Lawry, have provided support and training to Gregory (teaching), Lily (creche), Olga and Sr Helena (health care) to build upon their existing skills. Fran and Carmel both pointed out that it was the dedication and skills of the local staff which kept the program going in the past and would continue it into the future.

Arusha, Tanzania

As in many tourist destinations, my first impression of Arusha was of hotels, billboards, tour groups and hawkers, but for the people who live here it is home – a place to live, study, work and play. While staying for a lamentably short time, I was lucky enough to bypass the facade and meet some of the people working to make Arusha a better place for Arushans.

Br Nkwabi, the principal of Edmund Rice Sinon School, explained the school’s transition program to assist students with English language education. The benefits of this program, facilitated by Kathy Brick, Eddie and Paul, flow on to every student and teacher in the school, improving outcomes at all levels.

At Kesho Leo, Jenny Ferris introduced me to Regina, Lucy and William, whom she is assisting with their teaching practice. These two teachers and librarian, respectively, provide early education and after hours tutoring to the children living around Kesho Leo.

Over the last few years, it has been our pleasure to know Fr Andrew Mutubusi AJ, a Ugandan priest working in Sydney. It was great to meet his fellow AJ fathers and visit their schools in Arusha and Moshi. Their warm hospitality and commitment to education throughout East Africa looks to be the basis of a strong partnership in future.

Bushulo, Ethiopia

Bushulo Health Centre employs over 25 local staff and provides health services to thousands of people around Awassa town. The staff I met, including doctors, administrators, nurses, phamarcists and handymen, were very happy to work with Claire Michalanney and Fulvio Fabreschi building capacity to deliver health care in Ethiopia.

Teaching in Tanzania

March 2, 2012

I find that I like working with the little children a lot more than I expected. I am especially happy to be working with the teachers, Regina and Lucy.

Click here to read the full article

A monkey up a gum tree

February 16, 2012

Can you believe it? I just saw a monkey up a gum tree.

Click here to read the full article

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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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A partnership is not about money changing hands. A true partnership is about ideas changing minds. - Jan Vandemoortele