IRENE Mushi comes from a poor family in Kahama District, the diamond-rich area located in northwestern Tanzania. Irene has dreams of pursuing further education, but her family financial capacity was holding her back.
Her poor parents could not afford funding her education expenses when she wanted to enrol for secondary education. “I want to achieve my dream of becoming a journalist,” she says, “however, I found it hard to achieve my wish because my family couldn’t afford to meet my education expenses.”
She was relieved after the Acacia and CanEducate, a charitable organisation, through their programme to sponsor unprivileged students in the lake zone Region came forward for help.
“Thanks God with the support from this programme, I completed advanced secondary education and I am now pursuing further education, I don’t know how I could reach this far without the support,” she says.
Parents have been hailing the CanEducate programme for the vital support it provides for their children’s education. Recently, the programme donated different learning items to Bugisha Secondary School.
Among them were more than 300 textbooks covering a range of academic subjects.
The students received uniforms, school fees, exercise books, text books and stationery as part of support. Bugisha Secondary School is located near Buzwagi Gold Mine, consisting of more than 29 2 students, 200 of whom have benefited from the Can- Educate fund since 2012.
“It is encouraging us to see that our contribution goes far beyond our Lake Z one to a national level as we continue to support efforts towards Tanzania’s socio-economic growth and the attainment of the Country’s Development Vision 2025.” says Mr Asa Mwaipopo, Managing Director of Acacia Tanzania.
He explains that Acacia has partnered with CanEducate to implement educational support programmes in the communities surrounding its three mines in Tanzania.
CanEducate invests in education for Tanzania’s future generations by supporting students from low-income families who cannot afford schooling expenses such as uniforms, text books and stationery.
The programme supports vulnerable and underprivileged students with school uniforms, scholastic materials such as books, stationery and other supplies that enable the pupils to be fully equipped for learning.
The CanEducate statistics programme started in 2011, Acacia has been investing an average of 4 50m/- per year enabling the programme to cover more than 20 schools and has supported over 5,000 students.
In recent years, Acacia sponsored the annual Lake Z one cycle races under the name ‘Acacia Tufanikiwe Pamoja Cycle Challenge’.
The races became one of the biggest annual sports events in the region with hundreds of participants every year with the aim of raising funds to support education sector.
Building on the event’s popularity, this year the Acacia has launched ‘Acacia Imara Pamoja Cycle Challenge’ as a fund raising event to continue to open up valuable learning opportunities for children in Tanzania.
Sponsorship to the programme is going to a great cause because it will also be providing precious hope to students with a dream to receive a good education and realize their career goals.
The Imara Pamoja Cycle Challenge is one of the biggest annual sporting events in the region with hundreds of racers and over 10,000 spectators lining the roads.
During the recent launching event of the charity race, the Deputy Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Authorities and Local Governments), Mr Joseph Kakunda, raised about 280m/- out of the targeted amount of 340m/- to be collected through the initiative which aims at supporting education in the country.
Mr Kakunda called on various stakeholders in the country to support the initiative and commended the Acacia and CanEducate for their generous support geared towards enabling children fulfil their lifelong dreams.
“Since President John Ma-gufuli came to power and implemented the free education policy there has been an increase of 33 per cent in enrollment for new pupils while the number of students registered for their secondary education has also increased from 366,396 in 2015 to 483,216 in 2017,” Kakunda said.
Imara Pamoja Cycle challenge to be held in November 3, 2018 at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza, is cycling event which aims to raise funds that will be used to support students from poor families, who cannot afford schooling expenses.
This year, the company plans to raise a total of US$ 250,000 to significantly improve children’s education and enable them to fulfil their lifelong dreams.
In additional to CanEducate partnership, Acacia prioritizes education as part of its sustainable communities strategy which has seen over 38 per cent of Acacia’s social investments going to education over the last 5 years.
In 2017, the Acacia’s sustainable communities’ projects positively impacted over 60,000 Tanzanian, where by US$75 million has been invested to the community since 2010. We have also built or renovate 57 schools in the communities around our mines in the last five years.
“The Acacia approach is focused on strengthening three core pillars; ‘our business, our people and our relationships’, while continuing to invest in our future,” he states.
He adds: “We have invested heavily in key infrastructure, including schools, roads, health and water facilities and now we seek to add further value through the development of the local economies around our mine.”
During the last year the three mines invested over US$8 million (TZ S18 billion) in social projects in the country, including over US$3.5 million (TZS8 billion) on initiatives in education, health, infrastructure, water and sanitation.
“Education has always been a key development priority for Acacia in Tanzania. Under its Sustainable Communities strategy the company has long focused on efforts to improve access to schooling, particularly for girls, as a way out of poverty and as a cornerstone of Tanzania’s economic and social advancement”, the company says.