Gongali Village School

Gongali Village School
children at the Gongali Village School, built by Primary Schools for Africa in Nov/Dec 2010

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

It was an amazing trip; full of surprises and accomplishment, but not without the realization that much work still remains to be done at our schools. It is a continual process of completing each school’s building program as well as existing building maintenance and school operation. 
Alan was joined on this trip by Canadian friends and donors Don and Ruth James and Anne and Terry Pearson. Ruth and Anne are the founders of African book Box Society (ABB), whose work has been described in our previous post.
The first week was spent at the opening of our joint project, the Luhunga Girls Dormitory, in the village of Mufindi. That was followed by a visit to our Karatu District to look at our school projects.


We celebrated the opening of this amazing new facility with a tour of the new building complex followed by speeches from regional politicians as well as a heartfelt speech from Ruth James that acknowledged the work of their African Book Box Society (ABB) in creating this dormitory project and many other projects during their wonderful 10 year relationship with this Mufindi village community.
Thanks to the initiative of local women who approached Ruth and Anne to create this project, there are now 64 comfortable bunk beds, a modern shower/toilet building, laundry area, multipurpose room, 2 house mother rooms, a workshop and a kitchen/dining room. PSFA’s architectural design took the opportunity to provide sustainable features that include roof rainwater harvesting, solar lighting, solar hot water heating, and a garden for the girls to grow their own vegetables. We will be forever indebted to the work of builder Restus Sanka who overcame the incredible logistical challenges of a remote location to produce such a high quality facility, in only four months.



ABB is now going to focus their efforts in the northern Tanzania region of our schools, to supply a range of interesting books that go well beyond the curriculum requirements. They are also contemplating the possibility of other community building initiatives. We at PSFA look forward to exciting possibilities working with ABB to increase the quality level of both education and health in the village communities.


One such initiative is a new regional vocational training centre that will be a collaboration between ABB and PSFA. Over one year ago, Alan Roy was approached by local officials in the village of Bashay in the Karatu District to build a much needed trade school where the many unemployed youth aged 17 - 25 that hang around the streets of Karatu could learn a trade and lead a productive life. The need is great within both the tourism industry for cooks and hotel workers and the building industry for carpenters, metalworkers, electricians, bricklayers and many other trades. Alan approached ABB, and serendipitously, they came up with a donor that agreed to fund a first phase development. so we are now in the design process, working the the regional office of the federal government’s Vocational Educational Training Authority (VETA), trying to decide which trades we should start with. More on this in later blog posts.


The first teacher residence is complete and ready for occupancy by the first teacher family. Thanks to our project donor, Safari Partners Inc from Vancouver BC, this facility’s development is well under way; we now have a new Administration Building, a 2-classroom building and its first teacher residence, with additional buildings to be constructed in the near future.


The first laboratory building is complete and ready for student classes. The high quality construction of builder Restus Sanka features terrazzo concrete countertops for durability and anti-corrosion from acids. Workstations include gas-fired bunsen burners, water faucets and sinks. 
With this laboratory, the high school now meets the government requirements for registration of the school. Official registration procedures are now underway by the District Council office.
Thank you to our major donors and their generous funding; the Eldon and Anne Foote Fund grant of $20,000 and the Tony and Beth Gvora grant of $25,000.

countertops feature terrazzo finish

The new Chemistry Lab Building

Standard levels 1, 2 and 3 classes are now being taught at our new school that started in 2015. The school has a temporary solution for the accommodation of its 3 teachers; nearby farms have put them up until we can provide new residences at the school site.
So this is our most urgent priority for fundraising. We have $18,000 now; we need approximately @$20,000 more for the construction.


We gave the Canadian group a tour of this school. Head Teacher Magreth Macha impressed us with her speech outlining the schools’s needs. The big concern at this point is the serious lack of an at-school lunch program. Kids have to walk home at noon for lunch and when they return 2 hours later, they are tired and cannot focus on learning. ABB to the rescue!! Anne and Ruth suggested the possibility of them funding a “meal in a mug” lunch program. They will also supply books. Wonderful news.
On our part, we will be upgrading the buildings to replace some deteriorated ceilings, and modifying the kitchen dining building to accommodate a teacher residence and allow for the operation of the food program.

Gongali Primary School Head Teacher Magreth Macha outlining school needs


The grand finale to the trip was a tour of the modern FAME Hospital in Karatu, where, at the end of the tour, we had a wonderful surprise. Nancy Allard, the hospital’s architect had just finished showing us around the modern facilities; an outpatient clinic, radiology department, 30 bed ward, a laboratory and plans for a new maternity ward. Alan had no sooner introduced the hospital’s founders, Dr Frank and his wife Susan, when Ruth and Don surprisingly announced a donation for the remaining funds needed for the new maternity ward…$300,000 USD. “Well, we are at that stage in our life…”, he humbly offered. Dr Frank, emotionally stunned, then quickly ran off, saying, “I’ve got to tell my staff”. It was a moment of excitement and jubilation for the rest of us as we hugged each other, fighting back tears of joy. This will be such a greatly needed feature for the hospital, where Labour and Delivery are literally bursting at the (belly’s) seams. Much kudos to you, Don and Ruth!!

L to R. Terry Pearson, Fame Staff Dr, Alan, Anne Pearson, Susan Gustafson, Restus Sanka, Don James, Ruth James, Dr Frank, Nancy Allard 
What’s Next??

Since 2010, we have built 8 village schools that are in various stages of development. We usually start with a couple of classrooms, then progress through teacher residences, dining halls, toilet buildings, and administration/library buildings. 

Needed Now:
Tidivi Primary School - 2-Family Teacher Residence Building - $38,500
As of 8 March 2017, we have $19,000, but we need another $20,000, so please help us with your donations.

Please make out cheque to "PSFA Primary Schools For Africa Society", and send to:

Primary Schools For Africa Society
3301 Wordsworth Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4B9

or with credit card, click on DONATION button on website www.PrimarySchoolsForAfrica.com

A tax receipt will be provided.

Asante sana sana (Thank you so much).

End of Update