Local Turkish Cypriot fundraising for children’s education in Tanzania

By Margaret Sheard ….

 We were invited to attend a fundraising event at the home of Figen Rasmussen who is passionate to help a Masai friend, John Laizer, to complete his dream project of a secondary school in Losinoni, Tanzania.

We arrived at Figen’s home to find around 12 people at a beautifully laid out table and were served with chicken curry, vegetable curry and side dishes, followed by profiteroles and apple crumble and custard.  There was wine or soft drinks to accompany the meal, which was delicious.  

All of the guests made a donation for the meal and raffle tickets were given in exchange, so following our sumptuous feast there was a draw and everyone seemed to receive a parcel from under the Christmas tree.  A nice touch.   We were told that 1,050TL was raised from this first event and Figen will be holding others to raise more funds for her friend John to complete his project.  Figen would also like to thank a good friend who has said he will double the amount raised.

When most people had said their goodbyes, I asked Figen for some information about how this all came about and she told me that following a trip to Tanzania in 2003 at the invitation of a friend, she found herself looking after a family where the husband had died leaving a wife and 4 children.  They were very poor village people and had little in the way of food, and she was devastated at the life these people had, and has continued to sponsor this family over the years.

Figen met John Laizer while she was in Tanzania, he was a young man of about 16 years of age at the time, he is now married and has 2 children of his own.   John’s education and training in Tanzania to become a teacher was paid for by Figen’s dear friends Palle and Ingrid Mork from Denmark.  Once John had obtained his degree he returned to his Masai village of Arusha. 

A few years ago John built a small primary school for the local children, with the help of Danish friends and aided by volunteers and sponsorship, which gave the children the chance to receive a much needed education.   Now those children need a secondary school.  The secondary school has now been built, again with the help of his Danish friends, but John now needs to build toilets for the teachers and boys and girls. He has been working on the now completed school building for the last 18 months but there is more to do with the building of toilet facilities.

Following is a comment from Figen :

” Had a lovely afternoon with my much loved paying guests. Today we raised 1,050TL, although, donations should still come in. A great start but our goal is $7500. So we still have a way to go to build a toilet block like the one shown. Here is a photo of a school from 2003 when I was in Arusha, Tanzania. From this to this! “

Following is a comment received from John Laizer :

We will have 4 classrooms. Two are finished ready to be used. Two are not yet completed. There will be two offices, the one for the teachers is finished but the one for the Principal is not yet completed. We discussed that the teachers should stay at the Primary School teacher’s house where they have the extra space, but later we will start building houses for the teachers. We are looking for more than 6 teachers.  

The district education office told us that the important things are the toilets and desks then the teacher’s houses, laboratory, library and other important things for the school. 

Instead of walking 9 km to Oldonyosambu secondary school, the children of the Masai will now walk 3 or 4 km to their new school.  The opening day of the school has been scheduled for 6th January 2020.

Right now we need to finish all four classrooms, to build 3 toilet blocks, two teachers houses just to start with. We expect next year soon the children will start Form One. So we need around 44,450 USD dollars for the above to be completed. Welcome all of you who wish to give your support.  ‘Education for all’!

‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’ Lao Tzu.

Thank you to Katrinadal School in Denmark (Gitte Kaersgaard), TANAPA, Finn and Erik, My society, Doctor Mahera from Arusha DC and all of you. We still need more support from you. ”

When the project is completed there will be a facility for the education of around 100 children from the villages in the area.

We are overwhelmed by the dedication of John Laizer, who has spent many years working to give the children of his homeland a chance of education in a purpose-built school, firstly a primary school and now a secondary school, to enable them to at least have the opportunity to make something of their lives and in return perhaps also to be able to help the isolated villages and people of the area.

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