WE would be most grateful if we, the trustees of Friends of Malezi, could use the Hunts Post letters page to express a massive thank you to the children, parents and staff of Westfield School, St Ives, who have just raised the amazing sum of £1,100 for a small orphanage that is being established in Tanzania.
Specifically, this money has been raised to install a deep-water well, thus guaranteeing fresh water supplies for the community. It will be known as 'The Westfield Well'.
We had been invited to attend the leavers' assembly, on July 21, and had been told that the children had raised 'a sum of money' through a non-uniform day and collections taken at the school play performances. We had no idea how much had been raised so, when Stuart McCarthy, the head teacher, announced it, we were completely dumbfounded.
It is a most wonderfully generous gift and we will never be able to thank all those involved for providing the means by which the Westfield Well project can now happen.
The well would normally be dug by hand but, with this money, simple machinery can be hired. It will also be possible to line the well walls properly to stop them collapsing and a generator powered pump, with a 2,000 litre storage tank, to be installed.
This all came about as a result of Westfield School agreeing to host the inaugural meeting of the charity, Friends of Malezi.
We needed to start a fund, initially to buy the farm where the orphanage is to be built. Malezi, as it is now called, is in Geita, a mining town, in Northern Tanzania and is a Swahili word that captures those life skills all parents would want to give to their children.
It is the vision of a local woman called Mary Makaranga, who works with orphans and vulnerable children, many of them HIV-positive and living as street children. We had met Mary, a year ago, whilst in Geita, and been inspired to help her. She is a truly remarkable person.
As a result of that evening, Stuart McCarthy felt that ensuring a safe and reliable water supply was a part of this project that would capture the children's imagination and simply asked the children to help. And help they have done, magnificently.
There are more plans, for the next school year, to raise even more money and awareness and, indeed, to establish contacts between the two groups of children.
We have had fantastic support for helping Mary realise her vision - the purchase of the farm has just been completed - and now, through this exciting initiative from Westfield, much more can and will be done by way of offering support for the children who will come to live at Malezi.
DEE and GEORGE SMERDON
Trustees of Friends of Malezi