Friday, August 27, 2010

Oman's Observer Newspaper,

'Little' help for Zanzibar school

Omantel Charity Campaign

Five-hundred Omani rials was a lot of money but it was not enough to cover the total cost of packing and shipping so many computers.
Coincidentally, at that time, Oman Air was about to begin flights to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, again. The little, with few options other than hope, approached the airline to ask for assistance in flying the computers to Dar-es-Salaam where they could then be ferried across the channel from Tanzania to Zanzibar.

Oman Air was initially receptive, as the airline was keen to grow its corporate social responsibility programmers. However, to get the approval to ship 1,028kg of computers for charity was understandably not a decision Oman Air could make over-night. There were a few months of nail biting, e-mails, waiting, and phones calls and then -Oman Air issued the final "go ahead." Oman Air, true to their word,: showed they are an airline with a heart,' symbolizing the caring nature of the people of Oman.

The project came to a successful con-' elision this month when all the computers arrived in Bwejuu village internet. Bwejuu villagers, teachers, administrators and even a Member of Parliament joined the Little's in a celebration of thanks to all who had come to their aid. Today, computers have been installed and are being used in the schools by the children, who now have hope for a brighter future.

Thanks, in part to a Zanzibar-based NGO, 'Zanzibits', that provides training and technical support to schools, students will receive the necessary computer skills to run their own businesses, efficiently or find technical employment requiring computer proficiency. This is 'of particular importance to Zanzibar's 'who must increasingly compete for technical jobs, now often occupied by foreign workers.

While this chapter of the book has a Wonderful ending, the story is not over
Yet. The schools still have serious needs, Such as finding additional money to connect the schools to the Internet.
More urgently, however, many of Bwejuu primary school students have to study, sitting on the floor as there are not enough desks for each child. Roofs are often in disrepair and there are never enough pencils, pens or paper.

Books are a rare commodity and the Schools' administrators even nurture a dream that one day they will be able to offer science classes complete with modest, even basic, tools such as test-tubes, simple lab equipment and even microscopes.

.John and Sarah plan to continue their efforts and are currently forming an NGO. Although they are moving to the US this year, they will have a continuing close connection with Oman and Zanzibar with frequent return trips planned. Additionally, there are people based in Muscat who will' continue to be actively involved in this project.

John and Sarah are available on and Sarah's new blog, for anyone interested in extending a helping hand for a great cause.

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