ISSN 1710-6931 February 9, 2007 Issue 92

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It makes difference!

When one door closes, another one opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. —Alexander Graham Bell.

When there exists a sincere commitment to do something, for sure we would look for the open doors around us instead of simply escaping.

That is exactly what Ms. Kay Adoshima of the United States of America (USA) has done by gifting a bunch of pens to the refugee school in Nyarugusu Camp, Tanzania. Kay found some unused pens in her apartment, collected them all one day but realized that there were many more than what she needed.

Outline map of Tanzania

She didn't throw them away; instead she wanted to find someone or some place where they would be most appreciated. It may be a small contribution but the hope and cheers it had brought to the faces of children are invaluable.

According to Mr. Bilombele Asukulu, the Executive Director of the New Educational Centre for Hope (NECH) School at Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, "all children are happy and they realize that there are people who care for hopeless people."

Being a volunteer herself previously with aid organizations like the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kay has strong feelings for refugees. Wishing to pass it on to a refugee organization or a school, she searched the internet, found RESPECT and decided to route her gift to a refugee school through this organization.

The NECH Refugee School is an autonomous vocational school operating in Nyarugusu camp. The camp is located in the Makere Zone of Kasulu District in Kigoma region of western Tanzania and hosts around 54,000 refugees.

The UNHCR, Tanzania Water and Environmental Sanitation (TWESA), World Vision Tanzania, and the Government of Tanzania manage the camp and provide the residents with basic living facilities. However, post-primary education and vocational training remain unsupported still. The refugee residents took an initiative themselves to provide educational access to their children and various schools were opened in the camp.

Life as a refugee is a misery that an outsider may not fully realize. Even in such a depressed mood "Parents are very much aware of the importance of education and all schools operating in Nyarugusu have been created by them [the parents]. But the availability is very limited and they don't have access to higher education," says Asukulu.

NECH is one such school opened up by the inhabitants on July 3, 2003, and it currently has 154 students. The school is managed by member contributions and donations by the humanitarian aid organizations.

The school provides free education to girls and HIV/AIDS orphans. Apart from this, other major services offered include vocational trainings, seminars on HIV/AIDS, and assistance to HIV/AIDS orphans by paying their school fees in different secondary schools.

The school is also the partner of RESPECT International in Tanzania and participates in the refugee Global Letter Exchange Programme conducted by RESPECT across the globe. Nevertheless, the school had not received any donations after the start of the programme since the exchanges were very small and the follow-ups by their Western pen pals were also not as much as expected.

"We are looking to expand our activities by building a favorable education environment and putting in internet learning, but we are facing lack of funding to run and expand our activities," says Asukulu.

A contribution does not essentially mean a bulk sum. Small drops of water make up a mighty ocean. What is required is an awareness of the plight of the disadvantaged and a collective thought of supporting them in any possible means to make our brothers and sisters feel there is hope.

We may not be able to make hefty donations or dedicated voluntary service, but we definitely have options to explore like Kay did. It makes difference!

In Jimmy Dean's words, "We can't change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails to always reach our destination."

Contributions/Donations to the school can be made at:

  • Mr. Bilombele Asukulu
  • NECH Executive Director
  • Nyarugusu Camp
  • E3.Cl 11 Pl 09
  • C/o World Vision T. C. S
  • P.O. Box: 154 Kasulu, Kigoma
  • Tanzania
  • E-mail: biloasphilibert@yahoo.com

The school acknowledges the receipt of money. Mr. Asukulu is always available and could be contacted anytime for clarifications.

Donations can also be made through RESPECT's online donation page or you can contact them directly:

  • Marc Schaeffer
  • International Coordinator
  • RESPECT International
  • 935 Warsaw Avenue
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • R3M1B9 CANADA
  • 1-204-284-1919
  • E-mail: respect@respectrefugees.org

You can read the interviews used to write this article at:

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