Working on the Bandari Project’s strategic plan was just one of the many things Gloria Masukuzi has done on her first Australian visit.
Ms Masukuzi is the Bandari School project manager in Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania, which opened mid-2016.
The school has since expanded to include women’s and agricultural programs to educate and upskill community members in the region.
It was founded by Port Fairy’s Seif Sakate and Catherine Ryan and constructed by south-west volunteers.
Primarily locally-based volunteers visit the region in April each year to complete work at the facility.
Ms Ryan said the Ms Masukuzi runs the Tanzanian facility under the direction of its Port Fairy-based board.
She said she oversees the running of the school, interviews prospective families and selects students with the help of social worker.
She also co-ordinates the women’s project and the agricultural operations including a chook farm, cows and a greenhouse.
Ms Ryan said Melbourne- based volunteer Gidia Timmerman sponsored Ms Masukuzi’s visit after developing a strong bond on her three trips to Tanzania.
Ms Masukuzi said the community had welcomed her and made her feel like family. She has visited Sydney, Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, Tower Hill and Mount Eccles and enjoyed seeing Australian wildlife. She stayed with Port Fairy volunteers and their families in their homes.
Ms Masukuzi said the Bandari School had had a positive effect.
“The children are loving it,” she said.
“Our kids are taught English and are getting a different kind of education than they would at our government schools. They are very happy about what Bandari is doing for them. The fact that we feed them, they have breakfast and lunch there, that they wouldn’t have at other schools.
“They’re very happy and the kids know a little bit of English and you can see their health is good because they’re getting food and they’re active all the time.”
She said women’s program participants felt they were now employable.
“They’re getting skills they wouldn’t get at home, it makes them more confident.
“The women like it because they are learning to sew, it’s something they would have to pay for at other places but they learn for free,” she said.
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