Tanzania Rural Revival started working with the people of Bulongwa in south-western Tanzania in February 2006. We wanted to help, if possible, with the daily difficulties faced by ordinary people living in the countryside in Tanzania. We began by discussing with them what their difficulties and priorities were? 

The difficulties were many: –

How could they send their children to primary school if they couldn’t afford school uniforms? 

How could a village with little visible means of support help the many children orphaned by the AIDs epidemic?

What was wrong with their water supply which failed to flow during the lengthy months without rainfall?

And talking of rain, what could be done about regularly being cut off from the nearest town (about 4 hours away by car on unmade roads, somewhat longer on foot) in the rainy season?

There were other problems such as limited electricity, largely unaffordable secondary education, a lack of employment prospects and so on.  The local people said they would welcome some help.

TRR decided that to start with, we could provide school uniforms by offering the Most Vulnerable Children Committee (MVC) cash to buy them. We could also give money to the Bulongwa Children’s Home to buy salt, sugar, soap, oil and other necessities for the children in their care. And we could find out why the water didn’t work and see if there was something we could do.

Fortunately, we had already written to our families, friends and acquaintances telling them what we planned and asking for financial assistance. There was a really generous response.  We were able to set up systems for funding the MVC and the Children’s Home quite quickly. We still send regular donations to the MVC. The Children’s Home is now mainly funded by a Swedish Church.

The water took rather longer but began to flow much more reliably in 2011 after we established an excellent working relationship with the District Water Engineer. 

The District Council carried out the necessary renovation of pipes, building a new storage tank  and other works, and we supplied the cash, with some help from Water for Kids.  Water became available not just in Bulongwa but in eleven other villages as well.  We are planning further investment in the system.

So that was the beginning of a relationship between ordinary people in Tanzania and ordinary people in the UK.  Quite a lot has happened since.   See the Where We Work and What We Do page.