Get Global

Creating together

Get Global

Fun with the Florentina Foundation

Our students tell us about their internship with the Florentina Foundation in Tanzania. For more information about our Global Internships, visit our website.

Week 1

Hello, I am Jonathon Brooks and have just completed stage two economics. I am currently on the Florentina Foundation internship in Tanzania working at the Elizabeth Centre in the small town of Kolila, close to Arusha.

The Elizabeth centre provides education and boarding for primary and secondary school children of the local area and is partially dependent on funding from the Florentina Foundation. By 2020, the aim is for it be able to fund itself and for this to be achievable it requires income generating projects.

This internship provides the opportunity to look at local economic development and explore the benefits the Elizabeth centre has had on Kolila, as well the benefits from expanding the centre making it financially independent. Our task this year is to investigate and create a business plan for the centre to support boarding and guest lodging. So far we have been speaking to the sisters to gather more information while planning our report.

Coming to Tanzania and looking at economic development interested me as it gives me the opportunity to apply topics I have learned throughout my course, particularly microeconomics. As I look ahead to my stage three modules, I have picked Economics of development, hopefully this experience will give me first-hand knowledge and is something that I can reflect upon and use in my future studies. After University I hope to complete a masters in economics or a branch of economics, with the end goal of becoming an economic analyst in finance or development. Hopefully this trip will be the first of many where I am able to learn and understand more about the economics behind development.

I have had a fantastic first week. I have been humbled by the hospitality of the sisters at the Elizabeth centre and everyone else we have met. Sister Immaculati has made us feel most welcome. So far we have managed to explore our local town, looking at the market on Friday, we have gone into Arusha and watched England knock out Sweden in the quarter finals of the world cup. We also enjoyed spending the Sunday morning at the Church singing lots of songs and the afternoon at the hot springs. Tanzania is proving to be a beautiful country and I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.

Week 2

We have recently finished the second week of our internship and we are loving it. Zoey and Jesley joined us on Saturday 14th of July and we are getting on really well. We have planned out our report – the layout, points to discuss etc, and have also read previous reports to get an idea of what we want to cover. We have planned our interview questions and surveys and these will commence on Saturday 21st, both privately and in whole class environments.

In our free time we have visited the two closest cities, Arusha and Moshi, experienced the local markets and visited the hot springs, again! Jonny and I cooked for the sisters last week and we have cooked again since the other students have joined us. Jonny and Jesley have played football with the children, while Zoey and I played with the other children, with balloons and skipping ropes.

We also got to see the Maasai village that sits behind the Elizabeth Centre. An English teacher and a pupil showed us around as they are both from the Maasai. Getting to see their houses and their way of living was really interesting.

We attended the local church for a second time, and the boarders of the Elizabeth Centre performed this time. When I was speaking to the secondary school boarders they asked if we could go and seemed happy that we attended.

In my opinion the biggest struggle so far is trying to keep up with the children’s energy! They are always so excited to see us and want to be around us constantly.

Week 3

The majority of our research was carried out this week. We visited two local secondary schools and interviewed both students and teachers to obtain information for our research project. We learned a lot from this experience. We wanted to find out about student numbers, facilities, fees etc. in order to be able to compare it to the Elizabeth Centre Secondary School. We used a standard questionnaire for students in forms 3 and 4 to fill out, this was provided in both Swahili and English for the students to understand and this was provided to all 3 schools. We then interviewed certain teachers to obtain information about facilities such as class sizes and textbook to student ratios. We took plenty of photos to include in the report as a means of comparison.

We completed the questionnaires at the Elizabeth Centre first and then planned our visits for the other schools.

We visited Okolili Secondary School first, which was a very expensive private school that offered both core education subjects as well as vocational training. Facilities here were noticeably better in comparison to the Elizabeth Centre, for example they had a proper football pitch and netball court.

Next, we visited Malula Secondary School which is a government provided school. Classes were much larger here and facilities were insufficient. We interviewed the head teacher of the school and she informed us that pupils share chairs and we could see that classrooms were lacking. However, the pupils were the happiest to see us and interviewed us in front of the class. The head teacher even invited us to her home in Arusha to go for dinner!

Once we had received all of the data, we processed it in excel and calculated percentages that we could use in our report. The majority of our report was written in this week also. We decided to split our report into 4 sub questions and used our data to answer these. Between the 4 of us we managed to write the majority of the report using the data that we found from the 3 schools.

As we approach our final week, we have decided to book a safari as a final treat.

By Jonathon

Week 4

Our final week has been a very exciting, yet emotional time. Jesley, Jonny and I went on a 3-day safari to Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara. It was such an incredible experience and we saw some amazing animals! We stayed in ‘igloos’ and the accommodation had the most incredible views overlooking lake manyara. Our photos from the trip don’t do it justice.

We visited Kilimanjaro National Park and trekked through a river to see waterfalls, they were breath-taking. On our final day we exchanged all the remaining gifts that we had, including clothing for the workmen and toys for the children. We said our final goodbyes at dinner and we each wrote a letter for the sisters. They gave us traditional African shirts as a gift and that was so special.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the trip and we would both love to return in the future. We have learned so much, not only about education in Tanzania but also about their culture and the way the sisters live their lives. The sisters are all amazing people – I have never met anyone so willing to help others at their own expense. Sister Immaculati helps so many people already, and gets upset that she can’t help more. It is truly admirable what they do for the children and the community around them. The overall experience has been remarkable and one that we will never forget. It has exceeded our expectations and we couldn’t have asked for a better trip!

By Esme



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *