Sunderland aid mission to African orphanage

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EDUCATION workers travelled thousands of miles to help youngsters in a poverty-stricken African village.

Career advisor Andrew Calder and enrichment officer Laura Mitford, from Sunderland College, spent three weeks in Moshi, Tanzania, as part of the Maasai Education Project.

The pair were members of a five-strong group from the North East which helped to build new classrooms and a playground.

They also handed out toys, books, pens and backpacks at an orphanage.

“Travelling to Tanzania has been an eye-opening experience,” said 35-year-old Andrew.

“The few schools that there are rely on hand-outs, struggle to pay staff and in some tribal areas schools still don’t even exist.

“We also visited an orphanage called Simba’s Footprints, that relies solely on donations to care for the children.

“Here we were able to give each child some much-needed writing materials, and a Sunderland AFC shirt which had been donated by fans.

“It makes you realise how trivial your own day-to-day worries can be.”

Andrew said he hoped the trip would be the start of a partnership between the college and the Moshi community.

In the run up to the trip, Laura, from Washington, worked with students to raise £800 in donations from college members, with the money used to support the project.

“Getting these education programmes off the ground is just the start,” said Andrew, from Hendon.

“We want to be able to help the Moshi community for years to come.

“As a college, we recognise what we can do to support those from other parts of the world less fortunate than ourselves.

“As part of this we’re hoping that following another fund-raising drive we can return to Tanzania this time with some college students.

“The project in the Maasai village would be a great opportunity for students to stay within the community, help construct new classrooms and work with the children.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring the Maasai Education Project or making a donation to the orphanage should call 511 6000.

Alternatively, visit www.facebook.com/#!/MoshiWatotoProject.