September 2016: Tunnel Design Engineer Jamie Bradley has returned from an inspirational eight-week trip building an education centre in Tanzania.
Rugby-based Jamie coordinated the final stage of constructing an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre for Raleigh International, a charity that helps deliver infrastructure in poor countries.
The centre, which will be managed in the long term by Save the Children, educates approximately 100 pre-primary children in Chibe, a remote village in Shinyanga Province. It provides a safe environment for them to learn literacy and numeracy, with running water and a toilet block. The children receive a morning meal of porridge, before going out to water the orange, papaya and mango trees that they planted in the school grounds with Jamie and his team.
In delivering these buildings Raleigh International contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, which include the eradication of hunger and poverty, and provision of quality education and clean water and energy. 20,000 children under five die each year in Tanzania from preventable diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. There are also problems with child malnourishment, gender inequality and lack of education.
Jamie surpassed his fundraising target of £1,750 for the trip, with many generous donations from friends and colleagues at work, and this was matched by UnPS. He also received an ICE QUEST Travel Award to help pay for his flights.
As well as contributing to the development of the children of Chibe, the project helped develop the leadership skills of the 12 young Raleigh venturers in the group. Jamie and his two co-managers empowered each venturer to take it in turns to be the day leader and make decisions about the organisation of the tasks, resources and programme.
“The venturers laboured away in a very challenging environment,” said Jamie, “casting 120 fence posts and building a 315-metre-long chain link fence line with vehicle and pedestrian access gates and barbed wire.” The volunteers also carried out plastering, fitted windows, made allotment beds, painted murals inside and out and installed play equipment. The team members integrated with the community, living in homestays, playing football with the locals, learning Swahili and teaching English.
The centre opened in a ceremony coordinated by Raleigh, with village leaders joining a 300-strong group for a celebration featuring tribal dancing, sporting activities and music.
The trip was one of mixed emotions for Jamie. “It was fun, rewarding, challenging and hard work,” he said. “But all of the hardship was forgotten about for the end result – all I have is good memories. It has had a long-lasting positive impact on everybody involved.”
- You can find out more about Raleigh International at https://raleighinternational.org/