Volunteers from New Zealand
Hi! My name is Belinda Robb and I am from New Zealand. I am a Development Studies Masters student who one day hopes to live and work in Tanzania.
I first visited, and fell in love with, Ngaramtoni back in 2008. I spent 3 months in Tanzania from May through to July and I spent the majority of that time in Ngaramtoni volunteering in a school. It is there that I met Pastor Herry as he was also volunteering at the school, helping out as their secretary.
While I was in Tanzania my friends and family back home were fascinated with everything that I was seeing and doing over there. When I mentioned in one of my emails that one of the orphans at the school was living with his 5 siblings in a 2 room house with incomplete walls and a leaking roof that would only cost about NZ$50 to fix the response with offers to pay to get it fixed was enormous.
So fix it we did. An American volunteer, who was living with the same host family as me, also received donations from home. So we pooled all of our donations and, with a lot of help from Herry, set about doing little things here and there to try to help out the children and their families. We painted the inside of the school (a bright blue adorned with a colourful garden), built desks, bought a bed for one orphan and his grandmother who were sleeping on the floor of their mud hut, bought art supplies for a fun day of making masks – with special help from a Tanzanian friend of mine who is an art teacher at another school. With the help of other volunteers we also undertook a mammoth exercise of taking all (about 85) of the kids at the school to the hospital for a range of tests, including HIV, eye, blood, stool and urine tests. This was a week-long event!
It was amazing to see how much we could do and this immediately instilled in me a desire to do more. So, when I returned home to New Zealand I aborted my Masters degree in Psychology (transferring the year I had completed to a Postgraduate Diploma). I then enrolled in a Masters in Development Studies.
This helped me to achieve my first goal of getting back to Tanzania as soon as possible. I returned as part of my thesis research in 2011. I spent another 3 months in Tanzania, and again, a lot of that time was spent in Ngaramtoni. This time I had a lot of interest from friends and family back home in sponsoring a child. In 2009 my parents had begun sponsoring Leah (pictured with me above), a little girl who stole my heart in 2008, as well as her sister Glory. I have since arranged sponsorships for 9 more children. One of these children was Neema.
I remember Neema very clearly from the school I volunteered at in 2008. She was a very smart, pretty girl who always wore a bright smile and often paired this with a bright pink coat! I saw Neema again on my very first day back in Tanzania. When thinking of kids that I wanted to be sponsored I immediately thought of her. My aunty and uncle back home in New Zealand began sponsoring Neema and she spent one term at her new school before she passed away. Her sponsors and I were devastated to hear this news and it continues to upset us today. It was through talking with Cordula (Co-Founder & President) about our shock and sadness at Neema’s death that we began to formulate our plan to help children like Neema in gaining the education that she had only just begun to enjoy. This is why we decided to name our project in honour of Neema.
Please support us in building a Primary School so that many more kids in Ngaramtoni can achieve a high quality education and better their own lives and the lives of their families and the community.