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Mission Possible volunteers from the UK have changed life for a village in Tanzania.

Mission Possible volunteers from the UK have changed life for a village in Tanzania.

Mission Possible Deployment 2022

Over the course of just one week, a group of young volunteers from the UK has helped improve the quality of life immeasurably for approx. 1,500 villagers in one of Tanzania’s poorest regions.

The six volunteers, accompanied by Islamic Help’s UK and Tanzania staff, delivered a range of aid and support as part of Mission Possible, our flagship-volunteering programme.

Each of the volunteers had raised £5,000, which covered not only the costs of their deployment but the aid and materials that they delivered directly to the beneficiaries in Kigongomawe village, in Tanga region in the east of the country.

Having taken part in briefings and training before leaving the UK, their work during the week-long deployment started with meeting the villagers en masse in a CPA (Community Participatory Assessment) to discuss their needs and requirements. 

This set the framework for the volunteers’ work, which started with a water trek to experience the daily 5km return trek the villagers have to endure to fetch water from a pond that is shared with animals.

Rather than the clean and safe water that the volunteers have on tap in the UK, the muddy, contaminated water is the only source for the villagers. And watching one of them drink it was something Mission volunteer Sulayman Uddin could not envisage doing.

“It’s a small village and I’ve never felt so welcomed when we first arrived. We’ve walked with them to the water source, with jerry cans to fill and take back. The water quality is not the best, it’s so sad to see.

“It’s contaminated and I cannot imagine myself drinking it but they are,” he said.

Another of the volunteers, Afzaal Ahmed, added: “It’s very challenging. I understand now how people do it every single day and I appreciate it a lot more.”

...

Supporting Schools

Water and the provision of sanitation facilities was at the forefront of the groups priorities as they began the task of installing a Rainwater Harvesting System (RWHS) and expanding the toilets block at Kigongomawe primary school.

The RWHS is designed to capture rainwater in pipes along the roofs of buildings and filter it into a 170-litre storage tank, providing a source of clean drinking water. “The community can use the water from this from the rain, which will benefit them and save them having to do the 5km trek every day,” explained Afzaal.

The school’s toilets consisted of two units for the entire school. Armed with building tools and materials including building blocks, sand and cement, the volunteers – aided by local fundi (labourers) – set about the task of expanding the block to 8 toilets, and renovating the classrooms by stripping plaster in preparation for its refurbishment which included plastering and skimming the walls and levelling the floors.

The refurbishment would, in the words of Afzaal, “help their education and be a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly space for them”.

There was also a more mobile aid package for the youngsters at the primary school and at the village village secondary school. With many of the pupils having to walk several miles every day to school, a distribution of bicycles meant they now had the means to travel more quickly and safely.

“So providing them with the bikes means they can get to their lessons on time and not miss out on their education,” said Sulayman.

 

 

Livelihoods and Emotions

One of the most emotional aspects of every Mission Possible deployment has been the distribution of livelihood projects. Beneficiaries are interviewed and selected on a needs assessment, which has often left volunteers in tears as they have to explain to seemingly deserving villagers why they will not receive that element of aid.

“Livelihoods was where I felt it personally the most, meeting the beneficiaries and understanding their stories,” explained Afzaal.

“Two of them were widows, young women with young children. That made the most impact on me, being able to speak to them and understand their struggles, and seeing what we could do to help change their lives and help them a business Insha’Allah.”

Hashim Majeed expressed similar sentiments. “One of these beneficiaries is a woman who has 4 kids and has been through a lot. Sadly, her husband has passed away and they have lost their home as well.

“By giving her a small shop, it will get her up and running. Insha’Allah it will work out and may Allah give her and her family everything they wanted.”

Other activities carried out by the deployment group included the distribution of stationery, first aid and desks and chairs at the schools; awareness sessions on the dangers of malaria and the distribution of mosquito nets; planting of trees; distribution of sportswear to the schoolchildren and taking part in a football match with the youngsters.

As with previous deployments, the volunteers not only saw the fruits of their fundraising labours directly benefiting the villagers but came away knowing that they had made a permanent imprint on changing the beneficiaries’ lives for the better.

“It’s a great experience, you learn a lot,” said Afzaal. “It makes a huge difference to the community, the children, and truly it’s made a great change to my perspective on life – the things that we take for granted in the UK, and which we should be thankful for, that the children and the communities here do not have.”

Find out more about Mission Possible and apply for the next deployment here

written by | islamic help

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