Program and Projects
All funds raised will reach the children. Members of the board pay for administration, marketing etc. Travelling costs are carried by those travelling. You can be assured that any donation you give will reach the chosen schools.
As much as possible we purchase locally in Tanzania
Most of the schools have enough Braillers. Because of the dusty environment at least half of the units in use need repair and service annually.
Since the schools generally do not have a budget for this SchoolKids Light has organized the annual service of the Baillers through Perkins’ authorized service technician Veronica Kassidy. Veronica annually visits all schools with visually impaired students in order to service their Braillers and at the same time supporting our organization with the flow of information to and from the schools.
Necessities for education
Necessities for education count for one third to half of our expenses.
Since the very beginning we have focussed on children whose needs are different and not that well covered in the regular education system.
We started bringing Braille back packs from Worth Trust in India. The back pack contains everything a blind primary school student needs in order to learn to read and write. There is also an abacus and other support to learn basic mathematics.>a
This program has now come to an end for SchoolKids Light as the Ministry of Education has taken over the role of supplying the schools with these back packs. We are proud to have served as pathfinders.
We now continue ordering spare slates (writing frames) and styluses for visually impaired children who have lost their own.
Some schools need table model Abacuses that we luckily can find.
Children who are physically or mentally impaired have special needs that we deal with on a project basis.
Children with albinism often have poor eye sight and many need magnifiers that we try to provide annually.
Many schools are very large and have inadequate budgets. A few years ago it was normal that there were 7-10 students per book, lack of basic necessities like pens, exercise books, white chalks and dictionaries.
The situation is now somewhat improved. In the schools we support there are mostly 3 students per book while the situation regarding other necessities really has not improved.
For this reason we ask the schools to define their needs for regular educational necessities once per year. Based on other projects, we define a remaining budget to be used for these items and ask for offers from Tanzanian suppliers. Necessities are distributed during our annual trip.
Sun protection for children with albinism
In Tanzania there is a large concentration of people with albinism. Children with albinism need to be protected from sun rays at all times. Failing to do so may result in skin cancer. Many also have sensitive eyes.
To relieve the situation we obtain, through purchases or donations, sun glasses, sun hats, sunbrellas and long sleeve clothing. Effective sun lotion is distributed to some schools from KCMC, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. We get some from Nairobi.
Musical instruments, balls, toys and games
Most schools do not have space in their budgets for anything but the mandatory. Many of ’our’ schools are boarding schools and become de facto homes for children with impairments, not wanted in their real homes. Especially children with albinism move to boarding schools at very young age. Here they are safe behind high walls and armed security personnel.
By offering means to play we provide the children’s life with meaningful content during the significant part of the day when they are not occupied with school work.
Leasing tools and equipment
Graduating students from vocational schools are offered the opportunity to lease tools and equipment from the school. Thus they can afford necessities for their new profession and become self employed. Once the leased objects are payed back they become the property of the graduate. Then the school has received pay back and can make replacements for following graduates. Our role is initiating the process and financing the initial inventory of tools and equipment.
Latrine buildings, especially for girls, are needed in many schools. Schools are growing rapidly and the need for toilets is growing as fast. Most of the schools we support have requested additional latrinees for girls. These construction projects are expensive and we have been able to provide 4 latrine buildings.
Where children have eye infections there is a strong need for warm water for hygiene maintenace. Sun heater panels are an effective solution.
As schools are growing so is the need for dormatories and refurbishing, including the beds. Though in many cases the number of beds is sufficient, students often sleep two per bed, the quality of mattresses and bed sheets is often shocking. A mattress may consist of several pieces warn to only 1-2cm thickness. Replacing mattresses and bed sheeting has become a regular part of our activity.
Sabasaba, a vocational school for disabled, was built on a badly drained area. The pathway from the dormatories to the school was muddy and difficult to even walk. Where students are dependant on wheel chairs the surface they move on needs to be reasonably smooth and hard. Aware of this we received a donation to pave that pathway, which is now an elegant several hundred meters long road.
In an attemt to make the schools more self sufficient and perhaps provide a little flexibility in their budgets, we have started to finance farming activities.
Three schools have received green houses, chicken farming tests are under way with the goal to establish one chicken farm still this year.
We have also financed the purchase of livestock.
A rather large scale production of beans outdoors turned out not very favourably and we decided not to repeat that.
Since we are reasonably well known organization we are sometimes asked to support other organizations or private people, either with information or with practical arrangements for issues concerning Tanzania. Right now we are arrangeing fo r eye doctor equipment to be sent to a new hospital in Dongobesh.