Street Children at Iringa, Tanzania
FISCH = Future for Iringa Street Children
Going to School - a Christmas Present!
With the lockdown biting deeper in the UK, and most school children at home, we are appreciating more fully the immense value of education. Our children are missing school, in more than one sense.
However, the coronavirus does not seem to have taken hold in Tanzania, and education resumed in the summer after only a brief lockdown in the spring. Since then it has been continuing as normal.
So it is with great joy that we have enabled 193 Tanzanian street children in both primary and secondary levels to go to school. This was possible through our supporters, who helped us attain our target of £3,828. Our Advent appeal raised £2,751 including £250 in Gift Aid, and we had some money in our Where Needed Most Fund to add to it. With the money FISCH had raised, the total was enough to provide all the required uniform and stationery.
In anticipation of reaching our target, a number of girls who used to be street children have been very busy making all the uniforms required. For their efforts they receive a fair income and are encouraged in their business ventures. As for the stationery, FISCH is ensuring each child gets the items he or she needs, depending on whether they are at primary or secondary level.
For each of those children it all adds up to a wonderful Christmas present.
Photos available soon
Giving Street Children a Helping Hand
A need has recently been brought to our attention and we have just decided to go all out to raise the money required. In Tanzania the school year begins in January, and the government there provides free school places for all children. However, students must supply their own uniform and stationery, and that is beyond the street children. Last year we said that we didn’t want any child to miss out on school just because they didn’t have their uniform and stationery, and were able to pay for these items for 67 children who had not yet received that help. This year, in spite of lockdowns curtailing activities, FISCH has raised almost half of the sum required. Their team in Iringa has identified 193 students with school places waiting for them, and has checked every child to find out what s/he needs. (Some items they received last year may still be good for this year, e.g. maths sets.) Part of the money FISCH has already raised can buy material for the seamstresses so that they can be getting on with making the 193 uniforms. However that leaves a shortfall of £3,828. If we are able to cover that before the end of December, no child will need to miss the start of the school year.
Whilst in the UK uniform and stationery might not be at the top of a typical child’s Christmas list, in Tanzania it means such a lot! It will be a wonderful Christmas present for every child who receives it!
One church has kindly offered its Christmas Day collection to this appeal, and we will be participating in their celebration over Zoom on 13 December.
We have also devised an Advent calendar, which you can download above and to the right (or below on the mobile site). It doesn't have windows to open, unfortunately! However, it gives the costs of each item we are funding, along with a few examples of our past achievements. The exciting thing is that a small sum of money can make a big difference. For example, 34p will buy a set of five pens. There is no point in having exercise books if there are no pens to write with, so a gift of 34p will enable one student to do his/her schoolwork.
'Gifts for a Future' Gift Cards
For an alternative Christmas gift we will post a gift card to you, for you to give to a loved-one. Priced from £20, each card bought will pay for some or all of the items needed for one child. Your gift card will be sent to you in a blank envelope so that you can add your own message before giving it as a present. For further details see here.
Finally, if you are shopping over the Internet, 'Easy Fundraising' will donate to Natalya's Fund a percentage of your payment, at no cost to you. We receive those donations not just from online shops but also for things like switching energy suppliers. Until the end of the year we will add that money to this appeal. For details see here.
Gifts for a Future - no longer available
Two for the Price of One!
All 193 school uniforms will be made by the seamstresses. See below for why that means two for the price of one.
It hasn't escaped our attention that part of the money we gave to FISCH has been used twice, meaning that twice the benefit was achieved! First of all it bought uniform to enable children to attend school. But some of the uniform was made by the three FISCH girls who set up the seamstress business, so the same money then paid their bill, supporting their venture and contributing to their income.
So the result was two achievements for the price of one!
Effects of Lockdown and its Release
The Tanzanian government has announced that Universities will open at the beginning of June, and that sports activities such as football leagues will soon also be able to restart. Schools and training centres are expected to open up sometime in June or early July.
At the moment FISCH activities have been largely reduced to providing food, as the families of FISCH kids are affected by the economic hardship that's resulted from the slowdown due to the virus.
Sunday Church continues and has been booming.
The sewing business had chosen a location by the university in order to attract students; however, shortly after they started, the universities were shut, so it has been hit hard. FISCH hopes that business will pick up once they are open again.
Football boots were purchased, although instead of the full 32 pairs, the team decided to use some of the money on other equipment such as footballs and shin pads. They are now kitted out to a suitable level for playing in the league when it opens, hopefully in June. This will be the first year that FISCH Utd has been eligible for playing in the official league, thanks in part to the provision of items by Natalya's Fund.
Vocational training courses for four of the youngsters had been paid for before the vocational centres had shut. FISCH hopes the training centres will open again soon. When they do these young people will begin their courses, and FISCH will be able to pay for and start the remaining six courses too.
Covid-19 Affects All of FISCH, Including Football
Here is an array of football boots FISCH has bought with money we provided. There is a lockdown in Tanzania but it is not as strict as in the UK - the FISCH United teams cannot play other teams, but at least they can still train.
All schools are closed, but small businesses are still operating as normal.
As of 19 April there have been seven deaths from Covid-19 in Tanzania; that is equivalent to 12 March in the UK.
The students that began their vocational training have had their courses put on hold. However, the sewing business has started. Youngsters in school and university have all returned home and will continue their courses once government restrictions have been lifted.
FISCH will continue to provide food, shelter and support for these vulnerable children. It is also adapting in many ways to this situation, including enhancing facilities for hand-washing and sanitising, and purchasing additional, basic medical supplies.
We have suggested that in the circumstances FISCH may redirect any of our funding to their Coronavirus response if needed.
School, Vocation, Start-Up ... and Football
January - March 2020
We sent a cheque for £4,683 to FISCH to enable 67 children to attend school, ten to receive vocational training, three girls to begin a sewing business together, and 32 kids to play in one of the FISCH United teams. Part of the money paid for provision of uniform and stationery, without which children could not take up their free school places (ten secondary and 57 primary). The vocational training is to provide opportunities to become taxi drivers, electricians, mechanics, and other trades. Football boots will enable the kids to play against other local teams.
The sewing group made the school uniform - 238 items in all - shirts, skirts and trousers. Adelina, Johari and Lucy have now started their business.
Thank you so much for your donations, which have enabled all this to happen!
19 November 2019
Speaking of our grants, Rich Gercke (FISCH's Co-Founder) says, "These were such a blessing, particularly the uniforms and stationery which we had a real need for at that time. It's been amazing to see how God has blessed and grown FISCH. Although the needs continue to grow, we have seen God continue to provide and we are so thankful to people such as you who have supported us to change so many lives!"
Here are a few highlights:
These have been extremely useful. During the past year a small group of 3 girls have been receiving training three days a week from Eva, and one of the original FISCH girls they trained up and is now self-employed).
The plan is that when ready, FISCH will support these girls to set up a business together. This may happen in the new year.
At present, this group is currently being paid by FISCH to make some of the items of uniform for the new school year in January.
Uniform and Stationery
As mentioned above, this had been a real pressing need. For kids in Tanzania, Primary and Secondary school is now free in government schools. However the big hurdles for kids living in poverty are the hidden barriers, which are uniform and stationary. Without these items kids are turned away.
Education - Promina
At the time of our grant, Promina was in her last year of education and had shown potential for making it to university.
We are delighted to hear that she was successful in getting into University, and has completed her first year! She is doing a Bachelor degree in Human Resources Planning Management and has done pretty well so far.
FISCH Church & Bibles
The sounds system equipment that we provided has transformed the services, and FISCH Church has been blessed significantly as a result. The team at Iringa are always proud to show off the sound system!
See attached film clip and listen for yourself!
The bibles are shared out at the beginning and returned at the end of each service.
There is always a steady stream of medical needs to attend to, arising from a variety of injuries and illnesses.
The toilet at the drop in centre was in desperate need of repair, and our support enabled FISCH to achieve that. A big thank-you from many grateful kids during the wet season!
Vocational Training - Taxi Drivers
FISCH tries to support vocational training, as continuing in education is not the answer for a number of the kids. The big increase in cars in Iringa, and also especially motorbikes and tuk-tuks, is providing a source of income for many young adults. FISCH has supported about 6 kids a year to complete their driving licence and make use of this opportunity. In fact just this last month 2 more boys qualified.
Vocational Training continues to be an area that FISCH are looking to grow.
Gifts from Natalya's Fund
24 July 2017
This girl had missed her chance years ago to attend government school, and so FISCH has been supporting her to attend a private school (her only option). She has done well to progress each year, and is now entering her final year (effectively A-Level 6th form). The total school fees for the year = 975,000tsh which is approximately £310 at today's rate.
We provided a grant of £340 to cover the final-year fees and other expenditure.
Our Initial Support
The initial grant given to FISCH was £2,835.
This sum was for the following:
3 sewing machines
keyboard, microphone and speaker/amplifier
6 months' supply of washing powder
180 bars of soap
43 pairs of shoes
41 school jumpers
school stationery for 39 children
school socks for 42 children
tracksuits for 24 children
204 school exercise books
medicine and first aid supplies for nurse to administer
repairs to computers to allow use in teaching computer skills to the children
training for boy to become a taxi driver
Natasha, the daughter of a friend of ours, visited East Africa, helped with the building of an orphanage, and spent time with the orphans. Tragically however, back home in 2013, she died from Toxic Shock Syndrome at the age of 14. As a positive legacy, her family have been supporting FISCH, a local charity which works in Tanzania. FISCH raised money for a permanent Drop-in-Centre - a place where vulnerable children can go to find love and support. The charity is also engaged in a number of other activities:
The FISCH Sewing Club teaches girls to learn the trade of sewing and provides sewing machines with a view to them being able to set up in business to provide for themselves and, as their income grows, to repay the cost of their machine. To continue the project FISCH needs more sewing machines.
FISCH Church meets at the Drop-in-Centre, where tea and bread is provided and the children can praise God together and receive teaching. To that end they have requested Bibles and musical instruments.
The FISCH United football team builds confidence in the youngsters. Last year the team, all under 18, was invited to join the Easter League for players aged 23‑25. One thing the team needs is laundry soap for washing their kit.
To find out more about FISCH, see www.gofisch.org
To find out more about Toxic Shock Syndrome, see www.tssaware.org.uk
Count Your Blessings
During Lent 2017 we supported FISCH by counting our blessings and raising money with a view to purchasing some of the items they needed: sewing machines, musical instruments, Bibles and laundry detergent.
How Did it Work?
A 'Count Your Blessings' calendar was available for download. Every day during Lent the calendar directed participants to count up something they had available - things which we usually take for granted - like electric sockets or doctors' surgeries - and pay a certain small sum for each item they counted. They collected the money, and donated it to our Iringa Street Children Fund after Easter.
Money is still coming in, but the total raised so far is:
Walking the Yorkshire Wolds Way
Heather, one of our trustees, walked the Yorkshire Wolds Way over Easter, raising money through sponsorship to add to the Iringa Street Children Fund. Read more here. Net of fees taken by Stewardship, the charity which runs our fundraising web pages, she raised:
Other donations we have received for the Iringa Fund have been so generous that we have been able to exceed our target and include many other items that we had not initially considered.
On behalf of the Iringa Street Children and those working to help them, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!