We visited Tanzania in February 2013. We stayed at Onsea House outside Arusha and brought about 20lbs of school supplies with us for the Baraa Primary School. As it turns out, we could have fit more in the bag that we took but we were concerned about weight (we had some books and heavy watercolor paper and CDs) so didn’t buy any more. Too bad, since they obviously need everything they can get.
We were quite lucky in that Miguel Van Hoof from the iThemba Foundation in Belgium was staying at Onsea House the day we arrived. We arranged for a visit to the primary school with him and Dirk (the owner of Onsea House) the next morning. Unfortunately that was Sunday so we were not able to see the school teeming with children. iThemba has done a tremendous amount of work there as evidenced by the before and after pictures they have on the wall at the school. We learned much about education in Tanzania and the challenges at that school in particular, so it was a very educational experience for us.
Quite unexpectedly when we were at a safari camp in the southern Serengeti, we were able to visit a remote Masai primary school. It was poverty stricken compared with Baraa. The comparison showed us how important your organization is and the huge impact it can make via our small contribution and the contribution of others.
Our experience at both the schools confirmed our thinking that giving SPECIFIC supplies that the locals have asked for, instead of money, is definitely the best type of philanthropy in Africa, as we imagine it is in other emerging countries.