Gertrude teaches 54 children in her classroom each morning. These are some of the children of Kilidu. They are aged 4-10 years and have no other opportunity to go to school. The classroom was built thanks to a donation from Leeds businessman, Charles Watkinson and his company, Corrocoat. Each day Gertrude, trained in the Montessori College in Mtwara, teaches her class reading, writing and helps to explore the world of learning through interactive and tactile teaching methods. So successful is she that parents from Kitere – five miles away, where there is already a government primary school – have asked if their children can attend the Kilidu kindergarten. The villagers see now the value of education as their children will be the first generation from this village to be learning to read and write. As popular as it is, the class still needs woven mats, reading booklets, small desks and chairs and lots of other items of everyday teaching and learning materials.
It is not the only kindergarten. Sisters have classrooms in Luagala, Nanyamba and in Mtwara. In total there are over four hundred children attending these nursery schools, learning using Montessori methods. In some cases they are learning to speak English; in other classes older children are learning to read and write. In Kilidu, as there is no primary school less than 8km away, many of the children attending are of school age. Parents from distant villages have asked if their children can attend this kindergarten because they have learned how much learning takes place. Sister Tadea is perhaps most proud that their work has shown villagers the value of education.
It costs about £20 a year to keep a child in the kindergarten. That means for £20 a month, you can pay for 12 children. For £40 a month you can pay Gertrude’s salary or pay for someone to go to secondary school and teacher training college. If you’d like to help Gertrude teach her class of children in Kilidu, please donate using the button above or complete the Standing Order form using the reference ‘Gertrude’.