A Textbook Case in Karatu, Tanzania
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A Textbook Case in Karatu, Tanzania

With characteristic generosity, a group of OAT travelers helped distribute 1461 books to two rural schools

Kambi Ya Nyoka Primary School in the village of Karatu, Tanzania is a government sponsored school—but in rural Africa, government funding can only carry a school so far. In 2010, Kambi Ya Nyoka received just $800 USD to support a student body of 800. With a budget of just $1 per student, things like textbooks, which are normally considered a bare necessity, become more like unattainable luxury items. What's more, as of March 2011, the school had yet to receive any budget for the year.

Earlier this year, Grand Circle Foundation checked in with Cosmos Mateo, headmaster at Kambi Ya Nyoka, to determine how best to support the school. He told us that he desperately needed new textbooks—and the nearby Njia Panda Primary School, also located in Karatu and supported by Grand Circle Foundation, expressed similar needs. So the Foundation supplied funds to purchase a total of 1461 brand-new textbooks to be divided between the two schools.

When the books were ready to be delivered, a group of OAT travelers were already scheduled to visit Njia Panda Primary School—but little did they know they'd be doing so on a very special day. Sandra Vaughan, OAT's Operations Coordinator in Africa, met up with the travelers while she was dropping off the textbooks. "Emotions ran high with many of them," says Sandra. "They could not believe that [head teacher] Agnes Indely managed to achieve a 75% passing rate among her students without even the barest of essentials." The group helped Sandra unload and distribute the textbooks, which arrived just in time to help the students prepare for their year-end exams. "The teaching staff was ecstatic," says Sandra.

Sandra became ecstatic herself when the group decided to postpone their next activity in order to continue their goodwill mission. "They all requested to help distribute books at the second school, so onward we went!" The children of Kambi Ya Nyoka certainly made it worth their while. "They pulled out all the stops," says Sandra. "The road to the school was lined with children singing and drums beating." The team made quick work of unloading the car, after which they were welcomed into the staff lounge for a much-needed tea break. The entire staff offered words of appreciation.

With their good deeds completed, the travelers continued with their previously scheduled activity—a bit behind schedule, but what they lost in time they gained in satisfaction. "The travelers were very moved by their experience," says Sandra. "We bid them farewell with promises of better achievements at the school. It was another wonderful example of a community touched by the generosity of OAT travelers."

Featured in our June 2011 e-newsletter. Read the full issue here.