More Than a School
“Arise is more than a school, it is a Community Based Organisation, thus not merely located at Wiri but part of it. Arise is and will always be Wiri’s flagship.” Local Community Member
Arise Community School is so much more than a school. From the beginning, Sue and Ron wanted it to become a resource for the community – “their school, for their children and their community”.
This was also Frank’s aspiration. As a member of the local community himself, he and his wife, Salome, have worked unstintingly to realise it. Jobs have been created locally generating much needed employment.
The teaching and support staff are local; all the building and associated jobs have been undertaken by the local workforce; desks and chairs are made by local carpenters and all the school uniforms are made locally.
In fact, the school has become a pillar of the community, the focal point around which local life revolves. It has become a resource for everyone to use and enjoy.
The Kisimani Kids’ Club is a vital is a vital part of this. Every Saturday afternoon since its earliest days, whether they are pupils there or not, Arise School has opened its gates to all local children to come and play.
In many countries, play is seen as an essential part of child development. But, in Tanzania, play is a luxury. In villages like Wiri where agriculture is a mainstay, traditionally, boys are expected to help out on the land whilst their sisters assume household and caring responsibilities.
There is simply no tradition of playing or time to play
Annually, Arise also contributes to learning in the community by running a popular and well attended Pre-Secondary School Studies course for young people who have recently finished their education at the local government primary school.
By particularly focusing on English, the programme seeks to minimise the disadvantage many students experience by the switch from being taught in Swahili at primary level to being taught in English at secondary school.
Outside of school hours, the classrooms are made available for use as a community resource for the benefit of the whole village – a place for local events and groups.
Two local micro finance groups hold their regular, weekly meetings there, as does the Faraja Women’s Group, a local women’s finance cooperative group which provides encouragement, practical and emotional support to its members.
All three groups give loans to their members to encourage local businesses to be set up with members receiving a share of the profits at the end of the year.
Not least, with its awesome backcloth of snow capped Mt. Kilimanjaro and their tropical foliage, the school grounds are becoming a popular venue for couples to have their wedding photographs taken!