Like a mirror

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Former KIUMA pupil now teaches at secondary school

Athumani Rashid has been a teacher at the Tanzanian wortundtat project KIUMA mid-2013. Following the successful completion of his Bachelor course at the University of in Darussalam in early summer, he is now teaching linguistics and literature. The KIUMA management is particular pleased that Athumani Rashid, a former pupil of the project, has now returned to teach there himself.

The home village of the 25-year old, where Athumani Rashid grew up under simple conditions, is about 170 kilometres away from the KIUMA grounds. A mud hut covered with straw was his home. Light came from Kerosene lamps, his mother fetched the water from a river some kilometres away and electricity was virtually unknown when he was a child.

Dependent on neighbours

His father died from malaria, when Athumani Rashid was four. His mother married again some years later; that is why his three siblings are much younger than he is. “Sometimes we did not have enough to eat and had to go hungry. When the harvest was poor, we had to rely on the help of neighbours”, says Athumani Rashid. And malaria too, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, against which Africa tourists just take preventive medication, was a permanent and annoying companion of his childhood: “I was infected with malaria circa every three months and in most cases it took six or seven days until I was alright again, as we didn’t have the money for medicine.” And a doctor, who could have prescribed medicine, or a chemist, which could have sold it, were almost out of reach in these remote regions.

Four teachers for 300 pupils

Unfortunately, the school, which Athumani Rashid attended as a youth did not give him a good start for successful vocational training. “There were only four teachers for about 300 pupils It was easy to have a rest during lessons, but I didn’t learn very much”, remembers Athumani Rashid, who left the secondary school after only four years. The family simply could not afford to pay for more education.

But then the young man came to KIUMA, where he attended the secondary school, without being a financial burden to his family. There was no longer any opportunity to have a rest during lessons, but Athumani Rashid didn’t mind. On the contrary: after two years he was chosen for a study course in the seaport of Darussalam, which he swiftly completed. That he now, after graduating from his first course, has returned to his home, has two reasons. On the one hand: “I have learned at KIUMA how important it is to help one another. If someone has something or is able to do something, what the other doesn’t have or can’t do, he or she should share it. Now that I am a teacher, I can be like a mirror: I received help from KIUMA when I was young. Now I am here to give help to other young people.”

Being close to the family

On the other hand, Athumani Rashid wants to be close to his family. He manages about every three months to visit them for the weekend: “My brothers are now seven and sixteen. I hope, seeing what has become of me will make them work hard too to achieve something similar once they are older.”