Tanzanian Exchange - An amazing Journey for our Students

Our enriching Tanzania link has been running for 13 years and is a well-established part of our school life at Imberhorne. We are linked with Minaki school, a boys' Sixth Form just outside Dar Es Salaam. The link was created by a former Deputy Headteacher at Imberhorne who taught in a neighbouring school in Tanzania during the 1960’s. When Minaki school were investigating potential partners he was contacted, the request was then forwarded to the then Headteacher at Imberhorne, John Morrison, and the Governors, who agreed to the partnership. After some initial investigations and a visit by school staff the first exchange took place in 2005/6.

In October 2018 our fourteenth group travelled to Tanzania, made up of 12 students and 2 staff, our current Headteacher, Martin Brown and our trip Coordinator, Sadie Evans. Students and staff are hosted by teachers at Minaki who live on the school site. After arriving and quickly climatising, the group visit lessons and talk to the students about their educational experiences.  A visit to a local primary school, Chanzige, in the small neighbouring village of Kisarawe is also scheduled in.

It is here that our Sixth Formers teach lessons to students of different ages, from nursery classes up to the equivalent of Year 6.  Classes are invariably much bigger than here in the UK, the largest class taught this year at Chanzige was 97!  The students all speak Swahili with rudimentary English. Teaching problem solving, practical lessons on such a scale was an interesting challenge but they responded really well. We give the Tanzanian students quite a different experience of learning.  After some initial confusion they picked things up very quickly and were impressive in their creativity and effort. 

An additional link that has developed over the years is with a local orphanage, also in the nearby village, Kisarawe. The orphanage operates out of a very dilapidated building which houses more than 20 orphans of different ages. We take gifts for them along with much needed supplies that help the orphanage function. The Imberhorne students spent two and a half days there and during this time helped the children update their memory books. These are annotated photo albums that trace their time at the orphanage. Madam Veronica who runs the orphanage creates a caring family feel and it is a pleasure to help and support her with the work she undertakes in the community.

The amazing insight into life in Tanzania that this programme gives our students is extraordinary. We feel privileged to be able to build such relationships and really value the friendship and warmth we are shown by everyone. We try as best as we can to provide assistance and support to all of our partner institutions in Tanzania.  A significant part of our work with them involves the fundraising activities organised by Imberhorne that help us invest in the upkeep and development of their buildings and resources and to pay for the return visit by a party from Minaki school in the new year.  This is when the whole school benefit from the exchange programme journey.

Over the years this long-standing link has enabled many strong friendships to build between both the staff and the students at the schools. Our students learn that despite many cultural differences, young people are the same the world over.  One cannot help but be impressed with the amazing resilience and enthusiasm shown by the Tanzanian students. They welcome and look after us and perhaps most of all, show how much they value their education. The commitment and effort they show to their learning is very powerful, education is their stepping stone to a better life and they work relentlessly to achieve the highest standards they can.

An ex-Imberhorne exchange student recently commented that this trip was life changing for her having participated in it over ten years ago. Here are a few words from the students who have just returned:

“We experienced a completely different and fascinating culture. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity where we stayed with local people and learnt how privileged we really are. It has encouraged my passion for travel and to volunteer in developing countries in the future.” Ellie Durrant

“A Wonderful cultural experience which has taught me  a lot about the things I take for granted in the UK” Felix Constant-Glemas

“The people are so warm and welcoming and would give you the world even though they have so little. I felt a huge sense of community wherever we went”  Charlie Ghansam