Beccles volunteer vows to keep helping African charity

A STUDENT from Beccles who embarked on an African adventure to teach English has returned pledging to continue her support for the charity she worked for.

Kimberley Sparkes, 23, of Goose Green East, returned from Tanzania last month where she worked for the Movement Against Poverty (MAP) Foundation - a grass-roots organisation working to provide support to vulnerable children.

She said: 'Since returning I have been promoting the charity at my university and found more people who want to volunteer next year.'

A third year Education Studies degree student at the University of East Anglia, Miss Sparkes successfully raised the money to take books, clothes, teaching resources, medicine and toys to the African community she worked in.

On returning, Miss Sparkes has agreed to sponsor Tanzanian based co-ordinator of the MAP Foundation Elli Alfred, to allow him to visit England to promote the charity.

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In addition, she added: 'I have started fundraising for the building of a guava and mango farm in Tanzania so the locals have a sustainable income all year round, and for the orphans who I had the privilege of meeting.'

Although no stranger to travelling, having already spent time working and teaching in Australia, Thailand, India, Italy, Bali and Indonesia, Miss Sparkes said it was a 'challenging' experience.

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'I had never been to Africa before so it was a new challenge for me,' she said.

'I never thought it would be as it was and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

'I lived with a host family during my first two weeks in the country and it was amazing. I got to learn about African family and home culture and even did some African cooking.'

During her time in Tanzania Miss Sparkes also worked at the orphanage Ahadi House, located in the village of Soweto in the Mbeya region of Tanzania.

She also taught up to 257 students a day in the secondary school at Kigamboni. She said: 'It is required that the secondary school students are taught all subjects in English but their native language is Swahili. Therefore a good understanding of English is essential to their learning and future.

'It was really good teaching them but there was a real shortage of teachers and supplies.'

Next July Miss Sparkes will return to Tanzania to volunteer with the MAP Foundation again. She also plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to continue fund-raising for the charity.

• To donate to the MAP Foundation or for more information visit, email or call 01202 671656.

• To sponsor Miss Sparkes' fund-raising efforts visit her travel blog, email or call 07915 903281.

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