A retired office manager from Victoria is scrambling to raise $1,500 by Friday to ship school supplies to Africa.
Sylvia Delainey, a 63-year-old mother of four grown children, is that much shy of the $7,000 needed to ship a container of donated school supplies to a high school in Tanzania.
The school, Mgutwa Secondary School, has 45 students and is located near the famous Mount Kilimanjaro. The supplies donated by groups and individuals in Victoria include textbooks, laboratory equipment, stationary, board games, musical instruments and sporting gear.
Delainey visited and volunteered at the school last year for three weeks and came away determined to help.
“I just couldn’t believe that they had so few tools,” she said in an interview.
“They didn’t even have paper. The teacher spent hours putting information on the board, and that’s all the students saw.”
Furthermore, all the young people are orphans or displaced children. High school in Tanzania is not free, so the students have no resources other than their school, where they also live.
So when Delainey returned to Victoria, she went to work collecting the donated goods for the shipping crate. She has also collected 20 bicycles, bedding, two sewing machines and clothes for young people.
She approached friends, family, her church, Lambrick Park Church, and the Rotary Club to raise money to cover shipping costs. But she has still fallen short.
The crate is now being handled by a group called Compassionate Resource Warehouse. The all-volunteer agency has been shipping goods to countries that need them since 1999.
Volunteer Merv Black said this container for Tanzania will be the 350th. If the money is not arranged in time, it will simply be sent later, but perhaps not in time to serve some of the children now at the school.
Black said the agency works by using the already extensive worldwide shipping-container networks that have made international transport relatively cheap. Ports, however, especially in the developing world, can be tricky places for outsiders to operate.
But by collaborating with goodwill agencies already on the ground, the group has built expertise in seeing goods arrive where they are intended.
Now, every container is followed up to ensure its delivery.
Black said the advantage of this effort, over sending cash, is it uses the cost-effective service — the container delivery system — already in place. People can also select items deemed appropriate for those they choose to help.
“In a lot of cases, the goods we send are simply not available at a reasonable price,” Black said.
To help with shipping the container to Mgutwa Secondary School, go to crwarehouse.ca. Donations should be clearly marked “Tanzania.”
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