Speaker for 12th February 2019

New Vice President Derick Woods greets John McCullough with club members John McHenry (L) and Graham Kane (R)

Coleraine Probus find out about the 'Kids4School' charity

First, an excellent summary of the talk from Graham:

The Vice President, Derick Woods, introduced the speaker for the morning, John McCullagh, the topic of his talk being ”Kids4School, Tanzania”.

John McCullagh and his wife Grace are members of First Donegore Presbyterian Church and John shared their experiences in travelling to Tanzania in East Africa under the auspices of their home church and 'Kids4School'. This is a ministry that primarily enables children to go to school. It is currently building a Christian Academy with services on an eighteen acre site a 15 minutes journey north of the capital city, Dodoma. This will provide a Gate lodge to house volunteer support teams, a Primary School, Special Schools, Vocational Training Units and an Administration Building.

In the Vocational Training Units children are taught the skills required in adult life. The ministry also operates a family feeding project. Although education in Tanzania is compulsory and free, school uniforms, books and essential equipment are not. These are provided free of charge by the ministry together with a simple daily meal of maize porridge. At the end of each stage in education all children are tested and they must pass in order to progress to the next stage.

The Academy will also provide a secure educational environment for blind albino children some of whom have been abandoned by parents. People with albinism are often persecuted because of vile superstitions related to black magic, believing that body parts of albinos have magical properties.

John’s presentation was illustrated with excellent photographs and video clips. Who could forget the wonderful African choir in the Dodoma Cathedral singing favourite hymns in Swahli. The lifestyle described by John showed the urgent need in Tanzania and how the 'Kids4School Ministry' are building for a brighter hope for tomorrow.

Second, some additional notes from your 'WebEd':

Probus members were recently given a look at school life in Tanzania, when John McCullough visited the club to talk about the work of “Kids 4 School", a charity he and his wife Grace, were very much involved with.


Both John and Grace originally went out to Tanzania some years ago. Flying to the capital, Dar es Salaam and then taking local transport along the A101 'Great North Road', which at that time was mostly an unpaved wide track across the sand and mud, to Dodoma (the Legislative capital of the country). Their brief was to take the first steps in setting up a school, further along the A101. The prospects of success were somewhat daunting as the village where the school was to be based had neither buildings, electricity or water! However, good contacts and friendships were made, along with agreeing a site and plans for the school.

The busy main road

In 2015 both John and Grace were back again to find that work had got well underway. By the time of their of their next visit in 2017, they came with a team of volunteers to help bring in the electricity and the vitally important water supply. Throughout his talk John had a series of photos and videos, to let the members 'see' just what it was like on and around the school site. To say the some of the work methods, in terms of 'Health and Safety', were somewhat 'hair-raising' is quite an understatement. BUT, despite this, the work was done, the volunteers had a fulfilling and unique experience of Africa AND the school got completed.

Farming, a hard days work!

John concluded his talk with some spectacular views from around the area which included the 'Great Rift Valley'; local farms; public transport; the meal market, and many friends from the local village and church. This was a fascinating and thought provoking talk, with many ex-teaching members of the club thinking what a wonderful job John and 'Kids4School' were doing - and thankful it wasn't like that when they were teaching in Coleraine!

A village "duka" (kiosk or shop) in rural Tanzania. Despite being a poor nation, many people use mobile telephones as the infrastructure does not exist for land lines.

If you want to know more about the charity, then 'Click' the logo below for an interesting read (please note that this will open in a new window)


And for a look at 'everyday' life in Tanzania, just 'Click' the logo below for this interesting website - and where the photos above came from (please note that this will also open in a new window)


Two notes about daily life in Tanzanian, which is just one of the FIFTY FOUR different countries that go to make-up the continent of Africa

1. What price water?
Tandi is 9 years old. Like most Tanzanian girls of her age she is wraith-like weighing maybe 30 kilograms or just over 5 stone and standing about 5 feet tall barefoot. On her head she balances a yellow 20 litre water container. Empty, it weighs a kilo. Filled with water, it will weigh nearly 20 kilos.

She sets off before first light with a small group of girls and a couple of older ladies. She walks at a fast pace to keep warm - chatting and laughing incessantly. To get to the spring they climb up and down three very steep hills that would have most people panting by the time they would reach the top of one. The group reaches the spring in 2 hours.

The spring is no more than a muddy hole. The water is dirty, brown and smells. It is obvious that animals have been drinking from it. Tandi uses a plastic cup to collect the filthy water and fill her container.

The trek back takes longer. Tandi carries the container on her back using a rope and cloth sling. They arrive back at midday – they had left before six. The women and girls’ workday then begins. There is no school for Tandi. Without a water point closer to her village and an opportunity to attend school, the daily trek is her future. It is a high price for 20 litres of dirty water.


2. General Finance, A World Trade view

The modern city of Dar es Salaam

The United Republic of Tanzania is the second largest economy in the East African Community and the twelfth largest in all of Africa. The country is largely dependent on agriculture for employment, accounting for about half of the employed workforce. Even though Tanzanian is a rich country, an estimated 34 percent of Tanzanians currently live in poverty. The economy has been transitioning from a command economy to a market economy since 1985. Although total GDP has increased since these reforms began, GDP per capita dropped sharply at first, and only exceeded the pre-transition figure (of 1984) in 2007.