A Shrewsbury woman who went to Africa to set up her own educational charity is back in town and appealing for items she can take back to help her students.
Caroline Goody, an International Development graduate, went to Africa three years ago and sifter seeing the need for a youth project, she and her friend founded The Umoja Centre in Arusha, northern Tanzania.
The centre is a small educational institution which administers a free educational and support programme specifically designed for disadvantaged young adults who have fallen out of the formal education system.
Students very often come from difficult backgrounds. Some are orphans or their parents are very sick and have to look after their brothers and sisters, some have experienced physical or domestic abuse, many live in extreme poverty and some have even been forced into prostitution or a life of crime.
The programme at Umoja consists of a Foundation Year, during which students are instructed in English, IT and Key Skills. They are also given access to information and resources which help them to care for their physical and emotional well being. Once they have successfully completed the Foundation Year, students become part of the Outplacement Scheme whereby they are placed into the mainstream education system, vocational training, or into new careers which will allow them to provide effectively for themselves and their families.
Each student is also given routine medical examinations over the course of the year, including vision, hearing and HIV/AIDS testing. Steps are taken to address any medical issues which may be uncovered during these examinations, and students who are found to have poor vision are fitted for glasses. In addition to medical health checks, students are also provided with information related to their health which they would otherwise have difficulty obtaining.
Caroline, 33, who lives at the centre and for two years took no wage, said: “Umoja’s mission is to create a centre of learning and thinking that empowers young people to create change in their lives and then in the wider community. We have worked hard to find the funding and support to be able to continue to fund the students and the centre. As of 2012 we have now helped 165 students.
“We appreciate times really are hard for everyone. But it would be fantastic if people could have a couple of coffees or magazine less a week and sponsor one of our students or donate some of the much needed items we need to help keep the centre running. We really are trying to help people who without us, would not be able to better their lives.”
Caroline is particularly looking for the following items to help at the centre:
• Mobile phones
• Flash Drives
• School Bags (i.e. Small back pack types)
• Smart clothes for young adults (small or medium in size), shirts, trousers, skirts
• IT Text books
• Printer Cartridges HP60 and HP 121
A number of students still need sponsoring for this year. For only £18 a month, you could make a real difference to a young person’s life. If any individuals or businesses can help with items or sponsorship, donations or would like to know more, they can contact Caroline on 07527 971949.
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