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Ruthie's First Impressions'

Having joined the board of LivLife a couple of years ago, and having heard so much about KCEM, I planned a holiday to Tanzania around spending a bit of time in Meserani in March 2017. After almost 24 hours of travelling from London (including in a tiny plane) I was welcomed with open arms by Nai, KCEM Manager, who was (I think) as delighted to meet me as I was her. We talked a bit about what I wanted to get out of my flying visit, and set off from Meserani to our first stop - Meserani Juu outreach centre.

Tanzania

It was great to be there and to meet Alex, who gave KCEM his land on which to build our outreach centre, and to hear about what he and Nai would like to achieve there. The scenery around Meserani Juu was beautiful, and Alex is very mindful of the environment, planting trees and cultivating the land to work against the erosion which damages so much of the land. The nursery at Meserani Juu has about 50 children who attend. Sadly I was there in the afternoon and they'd already left for the day! On our way back to Meserani proper Nai and I walked through a sandstorm which coated us both in dust, meaning we really deserved the chai and mandazi that we tucked into on our return.

Livlife

The next day was my one full day in the area. Bright and early I walked over to the main KCEM centre in Meserani. Nai gave me the tour, showing me all of the different buildings, and we popped our heads in on the classes which were happening. I saw students in computing, in advanced English, and in the tailoring class. I was impressed by the items the tailoring class were making, everything from bags to oven gloves. Then we visited the kindergarten, where the young children treated me to an impromptu performance of a song about safari animals getting on a bus. It was truly delightful, and also great to see the young kids working on their writing. So many children are totally unprepared when they go to primary school, and the KCEM kindergartens really give them a head start they wouldn't have otherwise.

tazania livlife

Some boring admin meant Nai and I needed to go into Arusha, but it also meant that on our way back we could pop in at Shanga, a local social business which employs disabled people to make handicrafts, and is now managed by former LivLife employee Amy. At Shanga I met a number of ex-KCEM students who had come to Shanga on work experience and then been offered jobs. The Shanga workshop manager, Dennis Salamba, said: "KCEM students work hard in any department, they like to learn. They're friendly and hard working and they fit in. Every work experience group we have them and we want to keep them!"

(Part Two Coming Soon)

Turning 10 years old in style...

10 years livlife

By about five in the afternoon the children had taken over the party, swinging from trees, crawling under tables and popping balloons. Things had started slowly earlier on, once the sound system finally turned up, but a few hours of speeches, skits and presentations had ended and the children were ready to let loose.

When Kituo Cha Elimu was founded on a small, dusty patch of land in Meserani in 2005 it would have been hard to predict the transformative effect of the education centre. Not just through the range of classes including free computer tuition and English, vocational training and kindergarten, but the physical transformation as the grass grew and birdlife moved in.

Since then, more than 4,000 students have attended KCEM. Outreach centres have been established to reach the most marginalised in the community with small livelihoods projects and literacy classes. There is a thriving vocational tailoring course and over 1,200 children have attended kindergarten classes. Everything has just kept on growing – free heath checks for the children, a microloan scheme and a work experience programme that links to local businesses.

All of this and more was celebrated in a day orchestrated by centre manager Nai, and at the forefront of this celebration were the wonderful staff who have made this all possible. Around 200 guests including members of the local council, ex-students, teachers and students from Bolton School, volunteers from Working in Tandem and members of the community enjoyed music, traditional and modern dances and even a sketch about a witch doctor. But once the anniversary cake had been demolished, it was the turn of the children to take over the show.

LivLife are proud to work with KCEM and the work they do. There was a message too from the staff for all of our supporters: thank you! Here is to the next 10 years…

Livlife has a new Trustee!

Ruth TaylorWe'd like to welcome Ruth (Ruthie) Taylor as our newest trustee to the Livlife team. Ruthie brings a rage of expertise in the development sector to LivLife, providing support and advice in a number of areas.

She is Director of Operations at Orchid Project and has been working there since it was first set up in October 2010.

Ruth oversaw the development of Orchid Project into a charity with a c.£500,000 turnover within five years and holds responsibility for the day-to-day running of the organisation as well as leading their programmes work.

Her BA and M.Phil degrees focused on women, religion and power in the middle ages. Ruth has previously worked in Malaysian Borneo and in Uganda.

Ruthie also likes going to festivals, dancing, cycling and cooking when she gets a chance!

Little Fundraisers!

Kids Country

ChickenNewly opened Cheshire Nursery, 'Kids Country' has come up with an egg-citing (sorry) new fundraising idea. The team and children wanted to raise some money to help the Livlife Kindergarten and so after putting their heads together decided to sell their pet chicken eggs to the parents on regular basis. The Eggs sit in a basket by the entrance and parents and guardians put in a few pounds a time every time they fancy a fry up or a quick omelette.

We'd like to say a big thank you to the staff, children, parents and of course the Chickens at Kids Country!

Fond Farewells and New Horizons

The first term of 2014 has come and gone like a whirlwind. We’ve gone from the boiling hot temperatures of the southern hemisphere summer, to the destructive rains of the wet season. We’ve seen more than 550 people walk through the doors at the education centre and hundreds walk away with certificates and a sense of achievement.

Graduation this term was another happy and sad day where we were able to congratulate the hundreds of students who have worked hard over the last 12 weeks and excelled in their exams. It was a time of celebration, and in between the certificate presentations and rounds of applause, students kept the crowd entertained by performing a variety of dance, drama and comedy, showcasing their skills and glowing with confidence. It was also a sad day and a time for goodbyes. We said goodbye to many of the students who will now go off to find work or pursue further education. We had to thank and say farewell to this term's Work Experience teacher based at the Education Centre, Paniel, who has been an enormous help to all the staff. Overall it was a very enjoyable day and a good time to reflect over all of the successes and achievements of the last term...

Graduation Ceremony

A big highlight this term has been the unprecedented success of the Kilimanjaro half marathon. The six volunteers who ran (quite literally) half way up a mountain and back for LivLife, helped to bring in over £3000 and open the way for future fundraising challenges for staff and students at the education centres. If you have any suggestions for exciting challenges for our colleagues in Tanzania to take on then let us know at hello@livlife.org! The marathon has also inspired the establishment of the KCEM Running Club which meet each week at the crack of dawn to run together and encourage healthy lifestyles.

The runners were congratulated at this term's Graduation Ceremony where they received an enormous round of applause and picked up their certificates to mark their achievement.

Runner with certificate

The education centre has continued to meet its aim of being a relevant community resource and this term put on extra lessons for the women who run the local maasai market which caters for visitors and tourists, selling traditional maasai items including jewelery, paintings and decorative sculptures. A specially tailored syllabus was created to meet their specific needs to learn English phrases which will help them run their businesses and communicate more easily with foreign tourists. The ladies were delighted with the lessons, which they would have been unable to come to without additional support due to their long working hours at the market.

We’re very pleased to continue our strong relationship with Meserani Snake Park who go above and beyond to support our work and provide guidance, advice and helping hand whenever needed. This term we brought nearly 50 kindergarten children to the Meserani Snake Park clinic for a free basic health check. The kindergarten classes also benefited from their termly visit to the Snake Park and Maasai Museum as part of their end of term party. It’s really important that children especially, learn how to treat snakes with respect and can recognise dangerous species so that they reduce the risk of being bitten.

Snake Park Clinic

We’ve also enjoyed an increasingly positive relationship with Alliance Francaise in Arusha who have been strong supporters of our projects and provide a highly sought after work experience placement to one of our students every term. The French organisation which aims to promote French language and culture around the world, invited our French class to attend one of their music events which showcased some of the very best international artists from across Africa.

Alliance Francaise

Last but not least, we will be sad to say good luck but not goodbye to LivLife Project Manager, Amy Tew, who is leaving Meserani after nearly a year and a half of being part of the team in Tanzania. Amy is not moving very far and will be down the road in Arusha, working for a great social enterprise which employs people from the disabled community to make jewellery and home wares out of recycled glass. She will continue to provide advice and guidance to the centre with regular monthly visits. We will be recruiting a new Project Manager within the next few months. In the mean time, Nai, the Centre Manager, together with her team of teaching and support staff, will continue to run the Centre and all our current programmes on a day to day basis, as they currently do, in line with our model of all projects being locally-owned and locally-run. We’re looking forward to this exciting new phase and moving a step closer to the long term sustainability and increased independence of the Centre.

“When I first moved to Tanzania to take up the role of Project Manager with LivLife, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Despite a very detailed briefing in the UK, there was always going to be an element of the unknown. Within minutes of landing at Arusha airport and meeting Nai, I was blown away. I couldn’t have hoped to be part of a more welcoming, talented and hard working team. There is an enthusiasm for learning and self-development at the Centre that is very inspiring, and has created an environment that enables people to aim high and achieve their goals. Although I am sad to be leaving this role, I’m very happy to be able to stay involved and to witness the Centre go from strength to strength.” Amy Tew, Project Manager

We'd like to thank Amy for her time at LivLife and wish her all the best in the future.

Graduation

The education centre closed on 17th April for Easter holidays and reopens on 12th May. Registration for term 2 courses will take place between 12th and 16th May. For more information about courses available, contact the Centre directly on +255 (0)687867989.

Investing in the Future

We’d like to offer our hearty congratulations to Meserani Education Centre Manager, Nai, who successfully completed the first two modules of the LivLife Project Management Training Programme. Nai has been working at the Centre for over four years and oversees the day to day management of the main centre in Meserani and its two subsidiaries in Meserani Juu and Ilkerin. Her role is fundamental to the success of our projects and it’s largely thanks to her competent leadership and positive attitude that we have been able to take on and achieve so much.

Centre Manager

Over the last 6 months, Nai has been attending regular training sessions with the LivLife Project Manager to learn project management tools and techniques and put them into action. The modules covered a variety of topics from understanding the stages of the project life cycle, to identifying project needs and developing key planning documents. Throughout the training Nai has been an excellent student, demonstrating a great capacity to learn and eagerness to put her knowledge into practice.

Office

The Project Management training is part of LivLife’s long term strategy to build the capacity of our local partners and equip people in the local communities where we work, with the skills, confidence and tools they need to be independent. We are delighted with Nai’s progress so far and look forward to the continuing development and advancement of the team in Tanzania.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

The Christmas Grotto is now Open!

If you're still looking for that perfect gift for the person who has everything then head over to our Christmas Grotto and choose from a wide selection of charitable gifts to make a meaningful difference this Christmas.

From soap to salaries.. there's something for everyone.

You will receive a fantastic Gift Certificate and a huge thank you from everyone at LivLife for your donation.

Gifts from £5

Celebrating Student Success!

Whenever you ask a student at Kituo Cha Elimu Meserani (KCEM) why they are here, the reply is often along the lines of.. “to help me get a job”. In an area where jobs are sparse and competition is high, this is no easy task.

At LivLife we believe in hand-ups and not hand-outs. It is our aim to empower people to be able to support themselves. A major goal for us has been to enable our students to access employment opportunities through either starting their own businesses or getting jobs with reputable companies and organisations. Our Work Experience programme was developed to give high performing students the opportunity to gain real-life experience in the workplace and to build vital connections with future employers. The programme has been a storming success with dozens of students completing placements and many going on to be offered full time work across a range of industries, or gaining the confidence to launch their own businesses.

Over the last few months we have had the privilege of being part of some incredible success stories, and seen some of our most deserving students getting their first ever jobs at the start of what will hopefully be successful and fulfilling careers.

Philipo joined KCEM in June 2012 and successfully completed courses in Computers, English and French. His positive attitude, high marks and enthusiasm for learning made him stand out as a model student and he was invited to apply for the Work Experience programme. He experienced an early disappointment and lost out at the interview stage for his first choice of work placement, to another very strong student. Competition for placements is high and we strive to make the whole process as authentic as possible to prepare people for the realities of the working world. Philipo did not lose confidence and excelled at his second interview to work at KCEM as an Assistant Teacher for a term. After accepting the position, Philipo assisted with the French, English and Computer courses and won the respect of the students very quickly. Every member of staff was extremely impressed by his patient and encouraging style of teaching and good work ethic. During his placement with KCEM he was a real asset to the team and came to work everyday with a huge smile on his face!

Shortly after Philipo's placement had come to an end, the Centre Manager was approached by a local organisation to recommend someone for a computer teaching position. There was no hesitation in putting forward Philipo as a candidate. Philipo put together a strong application and excelled in his interview. He was immediately offered the job, much to the delight of everyone.

Philipo has been teaching computers to 5 - 16 year olds for the last few months and is thoroughly enjoying the role, but still finds time to come and help out at the Centre each week. He has plans to continue his education and is saving his wages to put towards going to college to get a Diploma in IT. We are really proud of what Philipo has achieved so far and know he has a very bright future ahead of him.

Philipo Celebrating

Over the next year we plan to expand and develop the Work Experience programme so that more people like Philipo can have the opportunity to achieve their goals and improve their livelihoods. As our students continue to work hard and aim high, we look forward to being able to share many more students success stories with our friends and supporters...

LivLife Family

Everyday we are amazed and inspired by the hard work, passion and creativity, as well as the fantastic sense of humour of the staff at KCEM. If the constant laughing and joking is anything to go by (I’m looking at you Shadrack!) it seems like the Centre really is an enjoyable place to work. We genuinely hope so anyway, because we believe that investing in people is the key to making our projects a lasting success. Over the last three months, the Kindergarten teachers at the Outreach Centres have been receiving comprehensive training to give them more confidence in the classroom and to build on their skills and teaching techniques. We’ve been really lucky to be able to welcome back a former teacher at KCEM, Neema, to carry out the training and benefit from her in depth knowledge of our projects and expertise. It will be sad to say goodbye once again but it’s good to see that once you join the LivLife family, you’re part of it for life!

Neema Training

Also this term we’re very pleased to announce the arrival of two new members of the LivLife family. Tailoring teacher, Francisca, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and has been enjoying maternity leave and getting used to life as a new mum. Outreach Centre Manager, Loishiye, became the proud father of his fifth child and both mother and baby are doing well. We’re still waiting for them to bring the babies to the Centre for a visit and are looking forward to the ooo’s and ahhhh’s and extra big smiles all round!

Baby Brighton

Summer Fun!

We’re right in the middle of an action packed summer (or should I say winter from down here in the southern hemisphere) and have been having a fantastic time with the many visitors and volunteers that come to the Meserani Education Centre over the summer months. Visitors include school groups, student groups, overlanders, travellers and the rest... who come here to see our projects in action and get involved!

Bolton School has been a long term supporter of LivLife and their enthusiasm to get involved with imaginative educational activities and tremendous commitment towards fundraising for our projects has really inspired the staff and students in Tanzania. This summer, a group of adventurous secondary school students came to visit Meserani for two weeks. The purpose of the trip was to take part in a range of educational activities to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing people in Tanzania as well as to experience some of the exceptional cultural delights this part of the world has to offer. You can see what they got up to by checking out their online blog here http://tanzania.boltonschool.me/ . Don’t forget to join the LivLife facebook page for regular photos and updates of all our summer activities!

Summer Games

Roof Reconstruction!

After a hugely successful first term at Kituo cha Elimu Meserani and a fantastic Graduation Ceremony to celebrate the achievements of all our students, the Education Centre closed for the holidays and staff had a well deserved break. We took advantage of this quiet time to carry out some maintenance on the Tailoring Classroom roof which is home to ten dedicated students on our year long comprehensive tailoring and business course. The roof was in need of some structural adjustments and new layer of makuti, a local roofing material made from the leaves of palm trees, to fix a minor leak that had appeared after years of wear and tear. Using local skilled craftsmen known as Fundis, the roof has been transformed and is withstanding the heaviest of rain falls. We’re looking forward to welcoming the students back this week and letting them know that they can leave their rain coats and wellington boots at the door!

removal of the makuti
Roof Under construction
Replacing the Makuti
Waterproof Roof!

New Year’s Resolutions!

It probably feels like a lifetime ago that you were counting down the seconds to midnight on New Year’s Eve and setting yourself goals for the year ahead. Well, here at LivLife we set ourselves the massive goal of making this year even more successful than the last and we are reminded of that goal every day in Tanzania! We want to see more people sign up for classes at Kituo Cha Elimu Meserani (KCEM), more children coming to Kindergarten and receiving a free meal of porridge every day, and more students going on to get jobs and start businesses to support themselves and their families. So far we’re off to a fantastic start and have seen our highest number of students enrol onto courses at the start of term in January. We also have record numbers attending Kindergarten classes, with over 100 children enrolled at the main Centre and two Outreach Centres. This term we are providing over 30 hours of computer lessons each week and have secured eight work experience placements for students who achieved outstanding results in last term’s examinations.

KCEM Kindergarten

This year we have also welcomed our newest member of the LivLife team; Amy Tew is the new Project Manager and will be based in Meserani, Tanzania for the next 18 months. Amy comes with over two years’ experience of managing and developing education projects in Northern Uganda and we look forward to her contribution to our work at the Centre.

“Hello LivLife Supporters! It’s a massive privilege to be part of the LivLife team and to have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful part of the world. I have been amazed and encouraged by the hard work, dedication and overwhelming friendliness of all the staff and students at Kituo cha Elimu Meserani. Education is the key to helping people make informed choices, access more opportunities and build better lives. The community-led approach of all the LivLife projects is a fantastic example of people being empowered to speak out for what they need, and then supported to put the solutions into action. I’m really looking forward to working alongside the team in Meserani and helping to give more people the opportunity to access free and relevant education.”

2013 promises to be another great year for LivLife and we hope that you will continue to follow and support our work in Tanzania. We look forward to keeping you updated on all the exciting new projects that are in pipeline, and sharing the inspiring stories of past and present students.

Easter Eggs for All!

With the imminent arrival of Easter, it is the perfect time for the Meserani Juu Outreach Women’s Group to be celebrating the arrival of the first eggs laid by the chickens from the Poultry Project. Over the past few months, the group have successfully constructed the poultry house, which has a roaming area, a roosting area and half a dozen nesting boxes. Twenty-two chickens including two roosters have been purchased so far, with the hope that they will breed and multiply over time. All the chickens have received their vaccinations, are in good health and are coming up to the point of lay. Group members have created a timetable to share the responsibility of looking after the chickens each day and ensuring they are fed, watered and cleaned regularly. Meserani Juu Outreach Manager, Alex, has been a huge support to the women, sharing his expertise and checking on the chickens each day. The project is now moving into the critical stage as the group start selling the eggs and generating income for the members. Committed member, Veronica Saing’orie, of Meserani Juu, says, “The project has the potential to change our lives and improve our living conditions. It has opened our eyes and taught us a lot. We are going to work very hard to make sure it is a success.” After months of planning and preparation, it is great to see the Poultry Project get off the ground and start producing results. We look forward to being able to update you on their progress and hope that this means we have an excuse to eat more ‘chipsi mayai’ (chip omelette – a very tasty local delicacy)!

Chicken Project

Work Hard, Play Hard

Education is very important to everyone at KCEM and we take learning very seriously. However, we also know how to have fun and want to make sure that people enjoy their time at the Centre and build lasting friendships. Every Saturday, staff and students alike put down their pens and come together to play sport, learn traditional dance or debate topics of interest. Like most places around the world, football is a firm favourite. The Centre organises regular matches with other local teams and at least once a term there is the highly anticipated staff vs. students football showdown (the staff won this term in case you were wondering...). Since the donation of a set of jerseys from Meserani Snake Park, we’ve seen competitiveness reach a new level of intensity and it has been rumoured that you can hear the cheers and shouts of the KCEM supporters from as far away as Arusha!

Football

The children at the Meserani Juu and Ilkerin Outreach Centres have also been having extra fun this term thanks to Meserani Snake Park and Adventures Cross-County Gap Africa group. With their generous support, muscle power and expertise, two playgrounds were constructed at the Outreach Centres at the end of last year. The Kindergarten classes have been making very good use of the new facilities and leaving the rest of us wishing we were young enough to join in!

Playground

Running for LivLife

LivLife would like to say a huge thank you to Annabel Ault for running the Great North West Half Marathon to raise nearly £900 (and counting..) for our work in Tanzania.

After months of gruelling training throughout the winter (when most of us were snuggled on the sofa!), Annabel took part in her first ever half marathon and ran over 13 miles in a fantastic 2 hours and 11 minutes.

Annabel Ault Great North West Half Marathon 1

As a sixth form student of Bolton School and part of the school group that visited Tanzania in 2011, Annabel has seen first-hand, the powerful impact that the Education Centre is having on people’s lives. In her own words she says, “I have amazing memories of my time in Tanzania, and after having been inspired by students and teachers alike at the Meserani Centre I really wanted to do my bit to try and help fund the amazing work that LivLife do.” We can’t thank her enough for the hard work she has put in to support us, which also includes baking cakes for everyone who sponsored her! It is only with the inspiring and creative efforts of our dedicated supporters that the work we do in Tanzania can continue, so thank you to Annabel and to everyone who is helping to keep our projects running.

Annabel Ault Great North West Half Marathon 2

A Message of Thanks...

The success of the Bolton School fundraiser in July has so far generated £11,240 for LivLife to provide support for our ongoing projects in Tanzania. While there were a number of activities pupils took part in, the centrepiece of the main day revolved around a simultaneous Maasai dance between pupils of Bolton school and 12 students of Kituo Cha Elimu in Tanzania. The two sets of students linked up by Skype, using the high speed Internet now available over mobile network connections in many areas of Tanzania. The difficulty was in ensuring that over 1,000 staff and pupils attending at Bolton School could see the Tanzanian dancers.

To this end, we are sending a huge shout of thanks out to Ben Lawes and Darren Clayman at IDNS AV, Bolton (www.idnsav.co.uk). Having supplied the school with audio visual equipment for many years, they came to rescue to help out during the fundraising. AV Director Ben Lawes said, ‘After looking at the fantastic work Livlife do we had no hesitation in offering as much support as we could for the day in trying to make the event as memorable as possible.’ Their generosity saw the school outfitted with a huge screen, similar to those used at football matches and allowed the day to pass off successfully. Asante sana from everyone here at LivLife for your support, and of course to everyone else who was involved in delivering such a successful event!

Ilkerin Outreach Centre Completed!

By Loishiye Ole Sabore - Ilkerin Centre Manager

I wish you all a very warm welcome from here in Ilkerin and I bring you good news that the Outreach centre is completed and up and running! As you can see from the photographs, the weather has now very much changed into hot, clear days where building work is difficult in the heat. So I am glad we have finished the very hard work!

Students painting.

Since my last update we have been able to achieve many things, thanks to your support. The most important thing is that I have started teaching. I have many students already. In my English class I have 23 students and in my Reading and Writing class I have 18 students. This is very good, as most of my students were unable even to complete Primary school. Now they are receiving some basic education to help them in their daily business and activities. I am very much enjoying teaching, they are a very nice class. The students are mainly local girls as it is often women who are unable to complete their studies in school. It is nice to be doing a different kind of work to that which I have been doing over the last few months.

Loishiye outside classroom.

Our main focus has been to paint and finish putting all of the windows into our buildings. In order to help us complete this, we had students from our main centre come and help us to paint the walls. We mixed our own paints using water, glue and ochre. This is a red pigment we also use for our ceremonies as Maasai. Many young boys will rub ochre powder into their hair after circumcision. This makes a very good and colourful paint and it should last for some years now. Our roofing was completed and we had all of our desks and chairs made, including one special desk for the teacher!

Students in adult class writing exercises.

We have not started our kindergarten programme yet as Naomi, the teacher we hope to have, has just given birth to a baby boy named Dorcas. He is only one week old. Traditionally women would spend up to one year in their bedroom area once they had given birth although things have changed now and Naomi is out and about! We can’t wait to start this next stage of our work. In preparation, we are starting an after school club for local children to come and join in. We hope in future years to start a small farm growing maize and our playground should be ready by the end of August…

Bolton School Dances into the Guinness Book of World Records and Raises Thousands for Livlife

On Tuesday 10th July Bolton School set out to raise in excess of £10,000 for Livlife.

The planning put into this fundraiser has been absolutely humbling with the whole school fully behind this momentous fundraising effort.

The day started promptly at 9.15am in the Quad, waving off senior school pupils on their sponsored 10 mile walk up Rivington pike. Despite the rain they were all in high spirits and each team posed for a cheerful photo before heading off into the bleak Bolton morning.

Meanwhile, the infants were busy learning all about Tanzania and proudly showed off their Maasai inspired bracelets. Elsewhere, the Junior Boys, clad in Maasai red, stopped for a photo with the £5,000 cheque they had raised early that term for Livlife from a sponsored fun run.

Kindergarten kids wave to cameras

In the afternoon, 350 Maasai red pupils and staff descended on the Quad in time for a Skype date with Livlife staff David and Nai and Livlife students in Tanzania. Despite a shaky start, Bolton School was able to dance simultaneously with the Maasai and broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest African Dance!

This was followed by a heartbreakingly cute thank you song by Livlife’s Kindergarteners, before the two countries said a warm goodbye.

Children and students wave to the camera.

As Director Max has said "We've been absolutely bowled over by the support that the whole school has shown to LivLife. A huge, huge thanks for raising such a phenomenal amount of money. I know there's a buzz around the school about this event and your incredible efforts will be felt by a huge number of Tanzanians living below the poverty line."

For photos, videos and more stories have a look at Bolton School’s report of the day: http://www.boltonschool.org/senior-girls/news/mass-maasai-dance-seals-fundraising-spectacular/

Bolton School Big Fundraiser

On July 10th, Bolton School will be assisting Livlife with a fantastic fundraising event in support of education in Tanzania.

Read on for what Bolton School have to say:

‘We all know that early childhood learning is the key to a successful, life-long education.  Nowhere is this more true than in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the world.  LivLife, set up by two Old Boys of Bolton School, provides free and relevant education and vocational opportunities in Tanzania for children and adults.  It is a charity that believes a hand-up far outweighs a hand-out.

All donations will go a long way in Tanzania. £5 will provide an education for one person, for one month. A donation of £15 will provide teaching and learning materials for one month. If a form group raises £100, this will pay for a teacher’s salary for one month. If the School raises £5,000, this would pay for a new education centre!

The Junior Boys’ School has already raised several thousand pounds for LivLife through their annual fun run and money is still being collected.

The Infant and Junior Girls’ School will be raising funds in a variety of ways on and before 10 July. One unifying factor across the campus will be that 10 July will be a Wear Something Red/Orange Day.  This reflects the colours of the Masai, who are one of the main users of the LivLife educational centres in Tanzania. Girls and boys in Years 9, 10 and 12 will also undertake a sponsored walk on this day from the School to Rivington Pike and back.  The day will culminate in a record-breaking simultaneous Masai dance via a Skype link-up with Tanzania, which will involve pupils, staff and Masai warriors!’

A great cause and a brilliant idea! Donations can be made via Bolton School’s online giving page here

Meserani Juu Outreach Gets a Makeover

While the finishing touches are being put to the new Outreach centre at Ilkerin, Meserani Juu Outreach centre is having a little TLC of it's own. Not only is a new roof going on but courtesy of some volunteers from Africa Expedition Support and Snake Park, a new playground is being built. So far this includes swings, a see-saw and a balance beam as well as a play frame. Not to be confused with the playground, work is also beginning this week on a chicken run for the poultry project being set up for the women's group...

Alex, the Outreach officer at Meserani Juu, says he is excited about the work that is taking place since the kindergarten continues to grow. He said, 'It is important because now we can provide the facilities the children need. We have also now started to give the children their daily maize meal as well as helping them benefit from health checks. All of this is important.'

Alex has also taken to Twitter in recent weeks along with his wife, Nanyari, in order to shed a little light on what life is like in his village and as a teacher for LivLife. Follow him @LivLife_Alex to hear more.

Roof frame on kindergarten building

May Update

Out with the Old, In with the New

It has been a good few months for the Centre and our Outreach projects. Students have graduated, projects been started and there has even been the strat of the much needed wet season.

The last few months have seen rain both in Meserani and the surrounding area. This has come as a welcome relief to local communities and now the land is green as far as the eye can see. This has also meant that many students have not only been studying but helping at home on their family shambas (farmsteads). However, there is still worry that the season will finish early. The signs are that they are drawing to a close, and so far the rainfall has been insufficient to provide for the next eight months or so until the December wet season arrives.

Livlife Education

Kituo Cha Elimu (KCEM) has seen record attendance in classes. Another term has been and gone and the new students are all signed up.

Last term saw a total of 242 students graduate from our various classes with a further 302 signed up for the new term. Graduation day was held on April 21st and there was a good turn out of students for the awards ceremony, as well as skits, songs and speeches.

Livlife Education

Health Checks Begin at the Kindergarten

In the kindergarten the children are now benefiting from termly health checks at the Snake Park clinic. Of course, the rains bring with them their own set of problems, not least the resulting breeding season for snakes. Suffice to say the nearby Snake Park clinic has seen its fair share of cases in recent months. Malaria rates increase too as the mosquitoes breed with the rains so a kind donation of 100 mosquito nets from The Asante Sana Foundation will make a huge difference, especially at this time of year. A big thank you from all here in Meserani!

Livlife Health Check

Livlife's Work Experience Programme goes from Strength to Strength

Meanwhile our work experience programme is proving more popular than ever. Seventeen students signed up this time around and luckily we have placements ready for all of them. From secretarial work to shop assistants, it is positive to see the enthusiasm with which both the students and the employers approach this opportunity. Long may it continue…

Ilkerin Update - The Latest News from Livlife's Newest Outreach Centre

By Loishiye Ole Sabore - Ilkerin Centre Manager

Livelife Outreach Centre

Well, it has been a little while since our last report. This is mainly due to the fact that we have had holidays both for the staff and the students but the good news is we are back and working hard. We hope that the centre will be completed in only two weeks time…

Up until our holiday, April was a busy period of work for us. The rains have been particularly heavy in Ilkerin and this made progress difficult. We carried on trying though and the adult classroom is now proudly finished. It is waiting only for some paint. To achieve this we have volunteers from our main centre, KCEM, who are coming up to give their time and paint the walls and windows on the 29th May. We decided to wait to paint until the main rains have passed in order to make sure that it has time to dry properly. As you can see from the photos, the building is strong and of a very good quality and the land around is now much greener. I am excited to begin teaching in our new classrooms!

Livlife

We decided to wait to begin teaching until the kindergarten is finished otherwise we would be teaching on a building site! The kindergarten already has a roof and the walls are being finished as I write this. The doors are made and ready to be hung and we have ordered all of our desks and chairs. Naiomi, the new kindergarten teacher, has benefited from many weeks of training and around our site the grass is long and healthy and the trees that I planted have grown tall. We even had a donation of 50 trees from the village and these too I am planting at the moment. By next year we will have a forest! The delays from the rain have meant we were not quite able to open when we wanted to we always feel it is best to do something right rather than rush it.

We shall be open by the end of May and that is a very positive thing. We already have plans to put in a playground in July and we will be able to begin our meal of maize program for the kindergarten students straight away. This is a very important part of our work as many of the children won’t receive a good breakfast or lunch meal in the daytime. We are also hoping to begin a programme of health checks with a nurse coming to visit the children to perform basic examinations and handing out mosquito nets at the same time.

Livlife Education

So, we are busy here and looking forward to being able to begin work soon. I will be able to write a new report in only a few weeks, and this time I hope to be able to show you pictures of our opening ceremony…

Meserani Juu Outreach

The Meserani Juu Outreach continues from strength to strength with members of the Women’s Group still meeting regularly. As well as the Outreach benefiting from a fancy new roof following the heavy rains, work has begun on a chicken run. This marks the start of our new poultry microfinance scheme. Exciting times! Yet Meserani Juu is now no longer our only Outreach centre. That is right, ever so slightly behind schedule (hey, Loishiye is a perfectionist) but resplendent nonetheless, the Ilkerin Outreach is now finished. With an opening ceremony scheduled for June, our work will be reaching more people than ever.

Maasai Dancing in Bolton?

The work we do here at LivLife simply could not happen without the dedication of volunteers worldwide. Recently, one fundraising party took place in Seattle and in July we will have volunteers supporting our cause from Bolton and the USA.

Tanzanian Seattle Livlife

Thanks to students at Seattle University and their fundraising efforts which raised a sterling £170.

In early July we are hoping to have 60 American students coming to work with us for a few days. During this time they aim to build not one but two playgrounds for each of our Outreach centres as well as renovating our existing one at KCEM. With the kindergarten programmes proving ever more popular this cannot come quick enough for Alex, Outreach officer at Meserani Juu,

Later in July, long standing supporters Bolton School will be hosting a fundraising day for students and families alike. The centrepiece of this will be simultaneous displays of Maasai dancing from KCEM students and Bolton school pupils via a Skype link up. Fortunately Bolton school pupils have been furnished with a training video so that their dancing, which make its way online sooner rather than later. No word yet as to whether the Maasai in the village are keen on learning Morris dancing.

Volunteer Amanda Takes Livlife Transatlantic

Charity livlife event

Dedicated volunteer Amanda, not content with her fundraising efforts last year in Manchester, has taken he support for Livlife back to Seattle with her.

Along with a team of fellow students, Amanda will be hosting a charity fundraising night for Livlife in Seattle, USA.

So, if you're in the area on 10th May be sure to swing by to The College Pub Inn for a night of free entertainment and an all-night Happy Hour for those who donate!

Thank you Amanda!

Livlife are limbering up for the FSI Challenge 2012

30th June 2012, Thornbridge Hall, Derbyshire

It's that time of year again when Livlife ask you to take part in The Challenge and run, walk or skip a 10 or 4 km course, suitable for all ages, to help fundraise for Livlife.

The route takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the Peak District, after which you can relax in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall, the country home of Emma Harrison (Chair of the FSI).

If you would like join us, contact Kate@livlife.org for more details.

April Update

The last year has been hard on the villagers of Meserani. The lack of rain that has affected some areas of East Africa so severely has hit the region as the pressure of smaller than usual rains earlier in the year and the late arrival of the short rains in October began to tell.

However, with the skies steadily darkening and and a flash flood recently at the nearby Snake Park it seems we might be on course for some good rains at last. Despite this, at the Centre there has been steady improvement with numbers growing each term for the classes on offer.

Congratulations to the 230 students who passed their exams in December, and good luck to the 243 students registered this term!

Demand for places remains extremely high, with computer and English classes the most popular as ever. The tailoring course continues apace and hopes are high for the course next year.

In the kindergarten, new teachers Fathuma and Sofia have stepped in as if they have been there forever, assisting Naomi and continuing our tradition of finding teachers among our students. In and around kindergarten classes Nai’s daughter Esupat, now one and a half years old, can be seen joining in activities such as Yoga or sleeping in the play area. An enviable lifestyle…

Spectacle-ular…

glasses donations

Many, many thanks to Peter and Diane Swann and Specsavers (Stockton-on-Tees) for bringing out reading glasses for the pupils at the Centre.

The kind donation has meant that many students who were studying at the centre but struggling with their vision are now able to work in comfort. Sometimes it is the smaller things that make all the difference.

Hats Off to the Tailoring Class!

livlife sewing classes

As the Centre’s Tailoring Students have progressed towards the end of their year long course year, the challenge would always be to translate hard work and learning into the production and sale of items.

Often such a translation relies on a little luck and a breakthrough into a market. So it came as a surprise, but a very welcome one, when towards the end of November an order was placed for 2,000 Christmas cracker hats by a hotel in London. Each was to be made from two types of kitenge (a local, colourful cloth) and all needed to be identical.

This presented a number of challenges new to the students. The ability to produce large quantities of items that were exact replicas of each other, all to a high standard and working in a production line- all to a deadline. The ten sewing machines were readied, and the students rose to the challenge. The first 1,000 were produced ahead of schedule and posted off to the UK for diligent volunteers to create Christmas crackers.

The hard work by the students has paid off, allowing them all to earn money as a result of their studies. Now approaching the end of their courses, some (such as Abraham, pictured here) have used the money to purchase their own machines while others will access the microfinance available to them at the end of the course…

Ilkerin Outreach

livlife construction

The months of September and October saw extensive planning for the new Outreach in Ilkerin Village. Following the pioneering blueprint of the Meserani Juu Outreach, building started January after the (very) short rains had finished. Loishiye, the new manager, has already begun to register students for Literacy and Numeracy, English and Swahili classes; and teaching is taking place in the local village office.

Construction is well under way despite the early arrival of the long rains in February and both Ilkerin villagers and KCEM students have been helping with the build- a real community effort. Local homes have donated small shelters for storing materials and the village council is helping to provide trees for planting around the site.

With the opening provisionally scheduled for April 2012 expect further updates very soon…

The first Noel…

Livlife baby

The kindergarten and adult classes at the Outreach continue to grow. Literacy and Numeracy classes have groups of up to ten students, while the kindergarten has 30 children regularly attending. Attendances have been so good that a second kindergarten teacher, Nai, has been recruited; not before time either as our other teacher, Beatrice, recently gave birth to a lovely baby boy named Noel. Appropriate really, given he was born on December 21st…

52 Women at the Meserani Juu Outreach Centre!

Our first outreach centre has been blossoming since it opened about a year ago, thanks to the hard work of our manager Alex, his kindergarten teachers Beatrice and Nai and support from the main centre staff.

We always knew that women and children were the main targets for the project, since it was women who had told us, so many times, that they couldn't get up to the main centre, but they wanted to learn. Nonetheless, we never expected local women to take such speedy ownership of the place. Since we opened, a women's group has grown up organically and beautifully from the literacy classes and they now have a whopping 52 members!

They're working with Alex and our project manager David, shaping the content of what they do themselves. They've decided to take on a poultry project first, and they're working hard on it as you read this....(updated Feb 2012)

Go bananas!

Banana tree

Nyangusi the gardener has been nurturing these trees with run-off from the roofs, and carefully monitored drought supplies for a couple of years now. He has the greenest fingers of anyone we've ever known. And its all paid off! Look! The kids sing a great song called 'Go bananas', I wonder if they've been singing it under the trees...Go bananas! b.a.n.a.n.a.s...(updated Feb 2012)

Our outreach manager, Loishiye, tells us about progress at the new Ilkerin outreach site

Teacher and workers at the new toilet site

Loishiye is the manager of our new Outreach centre in his home village of Ilkerin. He first came to our main centre in 2005 as a student and became a teacher there in 2008. He tells us about his new job and the new centre in progress....

Welcome to the first of our series of updates on the progress of our new Outreach centre in Ilkerin Village, Tanzania. Back in August 2011 the villagers of Ilkerin donated an area of land to LivLife in order to build a small education outreach centre. I have lived in Ilkerin my whole life and before we were given the land I spent time in the village researching whether it would be possible to build an Outreach here, and it was clear there was a lot of interest. Having been given the land the next step was to spend time making it suitable for our purposes. I spent two weeks planting cactus fencing around our land, after which I then planted eighty trees on the land to cover the area and help prevent soil erosion. The villagers have provided fertilizer to help these trees grow, which is easy in an area where everyone has cows.

The land we were given has a gully running through part of it, which during the rains can fill up with water. The villagers have been giving their time to help redirect the water around our land by cutting terraces in the soil, as you can see from the picture. During this time I have been teaching small classes in an office provided by the Village Government and by the end of our first week we had 52 students registered! As well as this I have been taking care of the land by watering the plants and maintaining the fences, which is important if you do not want the goats to eat the trees you have planted.

We were finally able to begin building on the 20th of January, as we had been bringing all the materials to our site the week before. Our fundi (builder) Sakaya first spent two days digging the latrine pit and is now in the process of building the toilet structure. We hope that this will be finished soon and that we can begin building the classrooms by the 27th of January. We hope to have the whole Outreach completed by the 15th of March and at this point we would like to begin teaching Adult classes of Literacy, Numeracy, Reading and Writing. We hope to open the Kindergarten shortly after this, where the children will have access not only to teaching but also to a meal of maize each day.

I am excited because beginning the building work shows real progress and demonstrates to the village our commitment to the Outreach. This centre will really help the people around me where I have grown up to get better access to education. For myself, I know that this can help provide employment and enables a link between my people and others who may want to visit or village.

Of course this would not be possible without the support of those who sponsor our work from the UK. We are especially grateful to everyone who has made this possible. (Jan 2012)

Crackers about tailoring!

This Christmas The Olde Bell, Stoke Place and The Crown are doing something special for some of their private dining customers. Rather than provide crackers they have decided to support LivLife by purchasing Christmas Crowns from our tailoring course to give to their guests over Christmas. The revenue generated from the three hotels combined will single-handedly run the tailoring course for 6 months.

Each one has a joke inside like any good cracker should and some information about where each hat came from.

Livlife poverty xmas hat

Henry Cavendish bakes in the name of education!

Child poverty, livlife, education, tanzania

A huge thank you to all the students at Henry Cavendish School in Balham who worked incredibly hard to bake and sell cakes to raise money for Livlife.

They raised an fantastic £246!

A huge thank you to all involved.

FSI Challenge 2011

The FSI Challenge proved to be a fantastic day out for all. Set in beautiful Derbyshire, 30 individuals set out to run 10km for LivLife, followed by a picnic in the park. A huge thank you to everyone who came along to support LivLife and the FSI.

Annual Report

Our Annual Report for the period 1st December 2008 to 31st May 2010 has been published and is now available for viewing. Please click on the link below to download it.

30th June 2010: World Cup Mystery Solved!

The kids at the Centre, with a bit of help from LivLife, have put together their interpretation of why Frank Lampard's goal against Germany wasn't given.

The 2:45 minute clip stars Christopher as Frank Lampard, Akwi as the German keeper, Nai as Fabio Capello, Ibrahim as the referee, Salim as the linesman and Nasra and Upendo as the reporters (with a little help from Petro).

Take a look below...

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26th April 2010 Blog: Meet the Staff...

Saturday was our most recent graduation day. As always, students gathered in to the classroom to receive their certificates. Nearly 200 students took the exams and over 100 more had had to postpone their studies so they could work on their farms when the rains came... Read more


21st April 2010: A New Way to Donate

We have a new, easier way to support LivLife! We have an account with Virgin Money Giving which gives us more flexibility on having regular and single donors, as well as allowing people an excellent online platform to do sponsored events for us. There's less admin charges too, and they claim gift aid back for us automatically.


21st April 2010: Blog: Taking the Next Step

Last time I blogged (many moons ago…) I heralded the start of a new era at the Centre – one of an outreach programme breaking down the barriers for those who can’t get to the Centre. Next week we hope to see a new programme starting at the other end of the spectrum – a work experience scheme to help students who’ve been through our courses find work... Read more


29th March 2010: Blog: Snakes, no Ladders

Today heralded the start of a new era at the Centre. After two weeks research and a week’s preparation, our Outreach Officer, Alex, left the Centre this morning all packed up on his two-wheeled school for his first day teaching in the community... Read more


15th March 2010: Blog: Expeditions, Outreach & Goals

Hot on the heels of the successful Skype link-up, I’ve been showing round Rick this week, an old friend and outdoor pursuits teacher at Bolton School. The intention is to bring over a group of schoolchildren in 2011 to see what Africa… Read more


8th March 2010: LivLife Quarterly Issue 4

The latest edition of the LivLife Quarterly is now out! We’ve got features about the Centre manager, Nai and our new outreach programme in addition to a host of other news and updates… Read it here


3rd March 2010: Blog: Skyping the Maasai!

Got to love it when technology works and something you’ve worked very hard for is actually a spectacular success. One of my aims of the year is to develop our schools linking programme… Read more


19th February 2010: Blog: Continuing Well…

Sat down round the back of the Centre (see photo) typing my blog. I’ve got the sounds of the literacy class behind me, the computer teacher instructing on the use of Excel to my left, the chattering of the kids as they draw each other… Read more


14th February 2010: Blog: Getting Going…

It’s been a busy busy week… In fact Monday seems so long ago it feels like I’ve been back in Tanzania a month rather than a week… Read more


7th February 2010: Blog: Rain, Packed classes and baby elephants

Arrived back in Tanzania on Friday morning and it’s been a busy first couple of days… Got my tent up without too much trouble, although it’s failure to stand up to the afternoon thunderstorm… Read more here


1st February 2010: Blog: Back to the ground

Back to Tanzania on Thursday after 6 weeks in the UK. Can’t wait. Managed to make some excellent progress in the past month and a half… Read more here


23rd December 2009: Follow Max’s Vodafone Blog

As a winner on the Vodafone World of Difference Programme, Max is keeping a LivLife blog at http://worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk/international/max-griffiths/. Have a read of it and follow our progress over the coming 12 months…


30th November 2010: LivLife Quarterly Issue 3

Issue 3 of the LivLife Quarterly can now be downloaded here. Read the story of Babu, see how the weather is wreaking havoc in Meserani and hear how Vodafone are helping us make the World of Difference.


18th September 2009: Making the World of Difference
We're delighted to announce that we are one of the winners of the Vodafone World of Difference programme 2009. This means that Max Griffiths, who together with Sam Yates founded LivLife, will become the full-time Director of LivLife for the next 12 months.

This will let us put many of our ideas into practice. Amongst other things we will introduce textile classes, health workshops, renewable energy and make plans for a second LivLife Centre.... There's more details on the link below. Download the Livlife 12 month plan

Thank you to everyone who voted for us. The support we received was truly staggering and incredibly encouraging. It's exciting times here at LivLife...


31st August 2009: LivLife Quarterly Issue 2

The second edition of our LivLife Quarterly focuses on the younger end of our members. There’s a chance to learn more about the kindergarten and read the story of Neema, our excellent kids teacher. Read it here


28th May 2009: LivLife Quarterly Issue 1

We are very proud to present the first edition of the LivLife Quarterly, the emag for LivLife supporters. Read about our ideas, thoughts and some of our success stories already. Plus, there’s a recipe for authentic Tanzanian tea! Download it here