How it all began
The idea began in 2003, when a small group from the UK worked in the village of Kisasa, near the capital Dodoma with charity Habitat for Humanity to build decent homes for three low-income families. Plans for an eventual number of 300 families on the site prompted community leaders to ask us if we could build a primary school as the nearest local school was quite a distance away and already overcrowded with up to 160 children in some classes!
Eight of the original team of twelve volunteers were able to commit to return and worked hard over the next three years to raise funds and plan the school build.
A new registered charity, AZAR (meaning ‘helper’) was established to facilitate the process and the group arranged many events to raise awareness and recruit new members to come and help with the build. The result of this work enabled an amazing team of 32 volunteers who, financing their own expenses, travelled to Tanzania in August 2006 to help with building the school. With the aid of local volunteers and paid builders (Fundis), the first eight classrooms of the school were completed. Simultaneously we also managed to build three more houses, for local families, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
Unskilled but supervised volunteers dug pit latrines, laid blocks, mixed cement, plastered walls and raised roofs. They connected with the local community in a way that no ordinary tourist ever could; living and working alongside them, swapping stories of families and lives at home, singing songs and sharing lives.