Bandari Project volunteers prepare for Tanzanian trip

Eight Port Fairy volunteers are preparing for a trip of a lifetime when they visit Tanzania this month. 

Group members will get their hands dirty, helping to build a new classroom at the The Bandari School in Mto wa Mbu.

It is the second volunteer group to visit the school this year. The visit is in addition to the annual trip to the region which is held in March or April.

Project co-founder Catherine Ryan, from Port Fairy, said two classrooms had been built at the school which opened last year to provide education for the region's most disadvantaged children.

Generous: The Bandari School students in Tanzania will welcome a new group of volunteers later this month. This is the second trip by south-west volunteers this year, with another visit planned in early 2018.

Generous: The Bandari School students in Tanzania will welcome a new group of volunteers later this month. This is the second trip by south-west volunteers this year, with another visit planned in early 2018.

“The plan is to build a cow shed and a third classroom, and some of the people will be working to support the teachers as well,” Ms Ryan said. 

The Port Fairy community and south-west volunteers have contributed financially and physically to help build the school, which opened in August 2016. 

A strong contingent of volunteers are from the Port Fairy Football Netball Club including Martina Murrihy, who is looking forward heading overseas on October 26. 

She said group members had been having Swahili language lessons with Ms Ryan and her partner Seif Sakate, who is originally from the region, ahead of the trip.

Mrs Murrihy said it had been “quite funny” and they had learnt how to count to 10, and basic words and greetings, as well as how to introduce yourself and ask someone their name, and words and phrases such as good and thank you.

Volunteer Bridget Forrest has created a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy three cows which will provide fresh milk for the children. 

It has exceeded the $1000 fundraising goal she set and has so far raised more than $1500, Ms Forrest said.

“The cows will help us provide nutritious milk to our students and any excess will be sold to support our women's program (to help them learn sustainable skills to earn a living),” she said. 

Retired kindergarten Marian Dempsey is selling raffle tickets and homemade items. She is also collecting new books to take over to the school.

Visit gofundme.com/the-bandari-project to donate.