Smart art supports Tanzanian school
1 December 2011
A group of Imperial students are helping support a Tanzanian school, by arranging an exhibition of its pupils’ work.
The students have organised the display and sale of dozens of paintings and sculptures produced by young people in the school, with the money being split equally between the student artist and the school in North-eastern Tanzania. The exhibition will run from 28 November to 16 December in the foyer of the Chartis Building in the City of London.
With secondary education in Tanzania being limited across the country the TEKUA Education Centre works to provide access to learning for people in their early teens to early twenties, who ordinarily would have no such opportunities. It offers classes in English, Art and IT to 100 students a year, some of whom walk over four hours each day to attend two hours of schooling.
All the Imperial students involved are members of the Imperial branch of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) a non-profit student organisation that seeks to create business projects providing opportunities for disadvantaged people around the world. As well as creating a website to support the exhibition they secured the support of insurance company Chartis, including using the company’s foyer as an exhibition space.
The students first became involved after a student visit to the school in 2007. After meeting teachers and pupils they were inspired to found Project TEKUA. Since then Imperial students involved in the project have regularly visited TEKUA, even getting involved in teaching English and IT, and developing materials business courses. As well as helping sell pupils’ art, the Imperial students have helped the staff and students set up a system to record their sales, and to advertise their work to local businesses.
One of the students to visit the school, Mechanical Engineering undergraduate He-in Cheong, described her first impressions of the school:
“It has no lights and some of the furniture was falling apart. I was teaching basic computing on Windows 95 and with a highly unreliable electricity supply. However, the students at the school looked so much happier and appreciative of the education they were receiving than students at my own high school. They were absolutely making the best out of what they had, instead of complaining like we sometimes tend to do on this side of the world.”
Her experiences at the school made He-in more committed to supporting the project. She said:
“TEKUA offers a brighter future for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of my students was extremely talented, smart, but shy and I felt that with enough support, she could become successful. These students want to learn but don’t have the money or their families don’t value education as much, and through TEKUA the students can have brighter futures.”
The average price of a piece of art is £80 in the exhibition, enough to fund one student at TEKUA for a year. Members of Imperial who wish to visit it can do so by presenting their College ID cards at the Chartis Building, 58 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 4AB between 10:00 and 16:00 on weekdays.
Alternatively the art work can be viewed online, together with information on how to purchase it, here: http://www.projectTEKUA.co.uk/index.php
In conjunction with the launch of the exhibition Project TEKUA is also encouraging supporters to make donations to support its work: www.justgiving.com/projectTEKUA
View a slideshow of images
— John-Paul Jones, Communications and Development