Norwich schoolboy Luke, 13, on a mission to help lives of people in need in Tanzania
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Communities in need in Tanzania are being given a better chance in life thanks to the kindness of a Norwich schoolboy who was first inspired to help when he was just nine years old.
Luke Carter, now 13, was visiting family in the African country when scenes of children walking miles for water moved him to want to help people less fortunate than himself.
He set up the Norwich Tanzania Association a few years ago and to date his organisation, now a registered charity, has raised more than £20,000 and done everything from building a classroom and library for a primary school to supporting orphanages to installing and repairing wells.
The Norwich School pupil's latest project will see a lorryload of desks and chairs donated by his old school, Catton Grove Primary, sent over to Tanzania alongside other donations of clothes and books.
On Saturday, as he and a team of helpers were busy loading up the Tanzania-bound furniture, Luke spoke of why it was so important to him to help communities in need in Tanzania.
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'It was an idea I had when I was about nine but it became an official project when I was 11 years old,' said Luke, who lives in Old Catton with his parents Karrima and Neil and his 11-year-old brother Ash.
'We were visiting family in Tanzania when I was nine and on our way to a national park I was shocked by the poverty I saw. It was the sort of things you see on Comic Relief and Sport Relief – children walking for miles to get water and coming back with buckets of dirty water on their head.
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'We also saw a little bit of what education was like – there were children outside on the floor and that was, I guess, their classroom. That was when it hit me. Obviously living in England I'm not used to seeing children living like this. Children in England have so much luxury and it seemed so unfair that other children have so little.'
Determined to help make a difference, Luke has now led a number of different projects through his Norwich Tanzania Association.
A new classroom and library has been built in Mahango Primary School, in Madibira, which has led to many more children benefiting from an education, and the organisation is also providing ongoing support to two orphanages in the city Dar es Salaam.
Twelve villages also now have access to fresh water thanks to the association repairing and drilling wells.
The latest furniture donation from Catton Grove Primary will benefit Mahango Primary School and three other rural schools.
Tim Lawes, headteacher of Catton Grove Primary, which is undergoing a refurbishment, said the donation included enough furniture for about 800 children and that the school was pleased to help an extremely worthwhile cause.
Luke said: 'I think this is going to give a lot more children an opportunity. It's going to improve things not just now but in the future, with the children having better education they are not going to be living in as much poverty in the future.'
The projects have all been made possible thanks to generous donations from family, friends and the local community.
One of the fundraising efforts saw Luke's former classmate at Town Close House Preparatory School, Adam Possener, organise a sold-out charity concert at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich.
Others who have supported the Norwich Tanzania Association include: St Peter's Church in Cringleford; Barbara Wilson, from Sheringham; Katie and Mark Loveday, from Thorpe St Andrew; Town Close House Preparatory School; and Little Melton Primary School.
'I would like to say thank you to everyone. I am really grateful, it is so good to see so many people getting on board with the idea,' said Luke.
'I went to see the Mahango Primary School being built and then in the summer just gone I went where they were drilling the wells.
'It is really pleasing to see that just one small idea I had when I was nine years old has grown into something that big. It does feel good to know that you have made a difference and are really helping people.'
For more about the Norwich Tanzania Association visit www.the-norwich-tanzania-association.com