Sidmouth people finance Buturi borehole

SOME �7,000, raised by people from the Sidmouth area, has been used to drill a five-inch borehole to provide fresh water to a Tanzanian village.

SOME �7,000, raised by people from the Sidmouth area, has been used to drill a five-inch borehole to provide fresh water to a Tanzanian village.

The Buturi Water Project was launched by Judith Smith, who runs the Village Collection African shop in Sidmouth High Street.

She grew up in the village.

She visited her home recently, where her mother, Regina Oluoch, is teacher, taking with her books, crayons and pencils.

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Judith oversaw start of the work on the borehole before returning to Devon.

She said: "The pump and sealing of the borehole still has to be done. We wanted a solar pump for irrigation, but we didn't raise enough money, so we are having a hand pump which will give clean water for villagers and their vegetables."

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Before the borehole, village women walked miles to collect fresh water.

The Global Alliance charity, working with local non-government organisations in Tanzania, is overseeing the work.

Project manager is Vitalis Lazaro, an African water engineer.

While she was there Judith discovered children were having lessons in her mother's home if it rained and decided to use �1,000 from the project to build an emergency schoolroom.

"When there is no rain it is a blessing to be outside," she said. "But when it rains the class takes over two rooms, with my mum and another teacher sleeping in the room.

"There are 30 children in the class, squeezed in. When I saw that I thought 'goodness me, that is not right'."

She dismissed the class and called a meeting to consider the children's needs and it was decided to build an emergency building 100 yards away from the borehole.

It will have a stone foundation and brick walls, made from clay rather than cement, and a tin roof.

"I have given a deposit to the village committee and they are responsible to pay the builders," said Judith. "Work had started before I left."

She will continue fundraising to provide a more permanent school in the village, with two classrooms, toilet block and kitchen.

"There is no sanitation yet and the kids are quite young to start class from 7am to 3pm. They will have to have something to eat and we need a kitchen," she said.

Judith has introduced the Buturi Project to Tanzanian government and hopes to receive full charitable status shortly.

"I am hoping the UK's ambassador for Tanzania will come and meet with Sidmouth College who is helping us out with the project," she said.

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