Sid & Marilyn return in 2021, KLSS alumni stories, students needing our help

As we read the news it’s difficult to avoid the brokenness of this world. Extreme poverty and injustice is experienced by millions of people every day. There’s a sense of darkness which feels overwhelming at times. With the task so big is it possible to have an impact? Globally there has been incredible progress towards eliminating poverty. Now, 9.2% of the world survives on $1.90 a day or less, compared to nearly 36% in 1990. This is remarkable progress – but for the first time in 20 years extreme poverty is expected to rise as the COVID-19 pandemic compounds the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress. Whilst we pray for a world free from poverty – The Katoke Trust’s goal is much simpler. Together we walk beside people who are struggling and help bring the light of Jesus into the darkness. We show love, kindness and compassion to those in need. One by one, we seek to help people escape the poverty cycle. Thank you for being part of this journey – the impact you are having is profound and truly life changing. 

In this newsletter:

  • Sid and Marilyn take the reins at Katoke-Lweru Secondary School again
  • The joy of hearing what KLSS alumni are up to now 
  • Meet incoming form 1 students needing sponsorship
  • Tanzania mourns the loss of their much revered President, John Magufuli 

PHOTO ABOVE: Marilyn pictured with former sponsored students, Anderson Kushumbo and Giftanus Dionise, who have volunteered to serve the school in whatever capacity is most helpful. 

Sid and Marilyn return to Katoke and meet KLSS alumni. 

We’re delighted that Sid and Marilyn Moir have arrived safely in Tanzania. They have taken the reins at the Katoke-Lweru Secondary School again. Sid and Marilyn have had a very busy and productive start to the year, overseeing enrolments, sponsorship of students and scheduling of staff and initiatives for the coming year. Over the past few weeks Sid and Marilyn have had the joy of meeting many of their former students. They have been overwhelmed by the sense of gratitude that the ex-students express to those who have given them a hand up. Here’s an excerpt from Marilyn’s recent note;  

“Two young men, Anderson and Giftanus, both previously sponsored and now graduates from Universities, have volunteered to serve at the school in whatever capacity is most helpful, just as Beathi Benedax (another sponsored graduate) is already doing. The next day, Editha Henry, again formally sponsored and now a qualified nurse, arrived to replace Pelesia Cosmos who has commenced maternity leave. Yesterday Bayon Reuben, previously sponsored, and now graduated in Environmental Science came to greet us and will come next week as a volunteer to speak to the whole school as well as individual classes on the importance of caring for our environment as Christians and understanding our role as care-takers. Joventus Katunzi is now a Science teacher, and did a wonderful job as teacher on duty leading the assembly with warmth and enthusiasm”

Education is truly a gift that keeps on giving and the most sustainable form of aid. We’ll continue to share these stories of hope throughout the year. 

Incoming form 1 students and sponsorships

PHOTO:  Ava Achard started at KLSS in form 1 last year. She returns in 2021 as a form 2 student with a half sponsorship. 

Form 1 has started with 58 students – of these, 38 require sponsorship. We are so pleased to have already found 26 sponsors and recently received generous sponsorship support that is making a great difference. Yet there is still scope for us to assist students from poor families, with 12 students from form 1 still requiring sponsorship, and a further 17 students requiring half or full sponsorship in forms 2 to 6. You can read some of their stories below. Sponsors make education accessible for children who can’t afford it. They play a critical role in lifting families and communities out of poverty. 

Recently Marilyn was called from her office by two girls who are sponsored for tuition, but not for boarding. They were begging her to find sponsors who would be willing to pay for them to live in the boarding houses at school, rather than walk each day to school and back from the surrounding villages. Why? Because Ava (16, pictured above) walks one hour each way, often through tropical downpours, arrived drenched and cold. When she arrives home in the afternoon, she must begin the daily task of collecting water from the nearest river to her home, two trips, each taking half an hour return, carrying heavy buckets of water. It is now 7pm, just on nightfall. Now comes the lengthy and arduous task of cooking on an open wood fire…. no instant gas or electricity. When everyone has finished eating, cleaning-up begins, then bathing in cold water (basin and jug). If not exhausted then a little study by lamp light and then into bed to repeat the whole exhausting process the next day. 

The students who live off site are disadvantaged from their fellow students because of tiredness and the challenges of studying at night. Their English (the language of instruction in Secondary Schools in Tanzania) is poor, because they are not having the opportunity to practice with their fellows, and yet Marilyn said that “I could not help admiring their determination to seek me out and explain their deep desire to be able to study hard”. Students really do value education in Tanzania.  

If you have the ability to help a child like Ava, we’d love to hear from you. Full sponsorship – for tuition, board and meals is $110 per month. Half sponsorship is also available at $55 per month. Please contact Lee King for further information on 4294 1114 or email: sponsorship@katoke.com.au

Meet 3 of our 29 students needing sponsorship in 2021

  • Edson (top left): Edson’s father went blind abruptly and his mother also has health problems. They were renting but his mother was unable to pay the rent. Edson’s grandmother is now his guardian and they are very poor.
  • Anord (top middle: Anord has been abandoned by his parents and has no permanent home. He is presently living with his grandfather.
  • Aredempta (top right): Aredempta has both parents. Her father is a pastor in Izigo with few people in the congregation making it difficult to support Aredempta and her 5 siblings, all of whom are in primary school.
Local Tanzanian news
Tanzania at present is overwhelmed in sadness. Their greatly revered President John Magufuli has died at 61 on 17 March 2021. Schools were closed for a day of mourning and again for the funeral and 21 days of mourning has since been announced. It was a difficult week for al Tanzanian’s and there were scenes of weeping and distress. I have sent the sympathies of the Trust to our brothers and sisters through the Bishop of our Diocese.

Vice-president, Samia Suluhu Hassan has been swiftly sworn in as the President’s successor, making her Tanzania’s first female president. This is seen as a positive move to allow for a smooth succession, prevent uncertainty and encourage unity. We pray for the nation and people at this time, as we walk beside those who are struggling. 
Care and grow projects
We’re incredibly thankful that our care and grow initiatives have been largely unaffected by the coronavirus. In the last year we’ve had well attended field days for vanilla growing, additional villages and more than 600 people involved in malaria prevention, and a well attended program on prevention of HIV/AIDS. These projects continue in 2021.
Thank you once again for helping to bring hope and light in the darkness.

Warm regards,

Associate Professor Alan Watson
President, Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid    
M | 0422 225 556       
E | a.watson@unsw.edu.au

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