Sidmouth backs bid to build school in Tanzania

A BID to build a school for young children living in a Tanzanian village is a step closer, following a dinner/dance in Sidmouth on Saturday.

A Taste of Tanzania, held at The Knowle, was supported by nearly 90 people, who enjoyed a tasty meal prepared by Jerry Gosling of Mustard Seed and Nicola Davey from Baraza.

The Buturi Makongoro Project, brainchild of Judith Smith of Sanaa House, Sidmouth, has already provided fresh water to the village where she grew up. Now trustees of the charity plan to build a school at a cost of around �37,000.

Among those at the fundraising dinner were Exmouth architect Malcolm Gigg, who has produced plans for the school, and Sidmouth builder Mick Rose, who will travel to Tanzania in May with Judith to lay the foundations for the first phase of the school.

Judith and Chris Woodward, a sixth form tutor at Sidmouth College, gave a presentation of the Buturi Project from its beginnings to the latest plans for a school.

Villagers are making clay bricks for the building and the public can sponsor these by paying �1 for a brick badge at Sanaa House.

Twenty sixth form students from Sidmouth College made a fantastic job of serving tables and washing up.

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A chocolate cake, in the shape of the new school, was made and donated by Catherin Dodd from Honiton, who was inspired by her great great aunt, who was a Mother Superior working in Africa.

Catherin said: “She died at 104 six years ago and worked in Africa with starving children for 60 years before going to live in Ireland.”

She said the school design was a replica of the building she worked from.

Judith said: “When I told Catherin what I wanted and it was to feed a lot of people, she agreed to do it. I think it is fantastic.”

Trustees are currently fundraising for phase two of the school – to build four of the eight classrooms, each costing �4,600. Malcolm Gigg’s design allows one room to be built at a time as funding allows.

The school will take between one and four years to complete, depending on how fast funds are raised.