Our Volunteers: Kathy Brick volunteering in Tanzania

Edmund Rice Sinon School, Tanzania

Palms volunteer Helena Charlesworth at Edmund Rice Sinon School
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.

Kathy Brick

Kathy Brick is an experienced Primary School teacher from Melbourne.

Kathy has previously has volunteered twice with Palms, in Samoa (87-88) and South Africa (93-94), and independently on Bathurst Island. She brings a broad range of skills to her work, including curriculum development, administration, caring for students and mentoring teachers.

Palms Australia and ERSSS are confident that Kathy will make a positive difference to the students of Arusha, assisting to build confidence in the English language and developing thinking and learning skills.

Palms Australia needs your help to cover the costs of placing Kathy as a volunteer for two years. To make a contribution, please use the donate button on the right of the page.

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.

A generous spirit

May 22, 2012

I had a feeling that I had met someone rather special one day when in the staffroom one of the teachers, James Kissima, was talking to me passionately about the responsibility of teachers to do their absolute best given the sacrifice that some families make to send their students to school.

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Once more into the fray

December 9, 2011

Volunteering can be both a challenging and immensely rewarding experience. Few returnees would claim to remain unchanged by the experience. Some, such as Des Hansen and Monica Morrison, value the experience so much that they return for another placement.

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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. […]

More on Tanzania

The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress
and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. - Octavio Paz