The Umoja Centre
We have a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into an outstanding site, by renovating award-winning buildings and uplifting its sports facilities. The New Umoja Centre will be spread across two sites, the main one being sports, education, programme offices, social enterprise and social welfare. The second site, which is a ten-minute walk away, is for staff and volunteer accommodation with opportunities for training, workshops and agriculture.
Since opening in 2009, Umoja has been based out of rented residential house, which we have re-purposed to suit our needs, including turning the living room into the IT laboratory and bedrooms into offices. There are no benefits to renting as Umoja still bears the costs for repairs and maintenance, therefore minimal upgrade investment has been made to the property. The limited number of classrooms are not only constrained by size but have limited ventilation and inadequate light. Low hanging corrugated iron roofing contributes to overheating or noise pollution during heavy rain, and is exacerbated by the lack of insulation. The ability to seal the rooms completely is also prohibited by poor design which attracts vermin, including mosquitoes and snakes. The implications for health and welfare of the students and staff are evident.
We do not have adequate work stations to cater for staff and all available space is utilised with no spare areas for meetings or workshops. This situation reduces the productivity of staff and volunteers. Our Finance Manager’s office is housed in the ensuite bathroom to the main bedroom (teachers office) as this is the only private space.
Our sports programme is an increasingly important area of our work and we have no facilities for sports but conduct our sessions on an open community field. Goal posts have been removed and we spend a considerable time each session cleaning the pitch from thorns and glass. All other extra-curricular activities are conducted either on the septic tank cover or in small areas around the concrete compound.
After a year of talks, negotiations and planning, Umoja was excited to announce that from the 3rd June 2019, we are the proud owners of a remarkable site and buildings, in Sinoni, south west of Arusha City. This area is a semi-rural part of Arusha and is accessible from many parts of the city, making it a good choice for Umoja and our beneficiaries.
There are two sites which we will be developing. The main site (approximately 2.6 acres) will be where we will run the programmes and will include classrooms, offices, workshops, extra-curricular areas, gardens, sports ground, meeting spaces and more. The second site (approximately 2 acres) contains a large walled compound with various accommodation options, kitchen and gardens. Outside of this area is a farm area and cow sheds, which we can develop with future programmes.
The site and buildings were developed by the Australian organisation, Food Water Shelter Inc. (FWS). The Founders and their supporters built a site that has served the community for over 10 years and will continue to serve the community for many years to come. Unfortunately the majority of their programmes were phased out due to a lack of funding and in 2017, FWS actively began looking for partners to breathe new life into the site.
The site was built with sustainability at heart, largely constructed out of wood with rain water harvesting, solar power and a permaculture garden. The core structure is still strong, however there is a great deal of maintenance and renovations required to transform the site into a functioning centre to suit our needs.
Umoja has gained the support of two Rotary Clubs overseas (Mont Albert and Surry Hills in Australia and Braunton Caen in the UK) who are working together to assist us in raising funds to complete the main renovation works.
Improve Centre Facilities
Bright, clean classrooms, including a high-tech IT laboratory, equipped science classroom, well-resourced multi-purpose library.
Housing quarters for an onsite caretaker and accommodation for long and short-term volunteers.
A multi-purpose sports area; including football/rugby pitch, basketball/netball court, programme offices, community meeting spaces and indoor gaming area.
Recreational areas, both indoors and outdoors, a shared space for performances and assemblies
Adequate kitchen and dining area
Spacious, light and collaborative office spaces, including a conference room for meetings and training.
A large dedicated room for social enterprises, whereby we can create and showcase our products, while employing increasing numbers of Umoja youth and their families.
A medical/first aid clinic room, private counselling room and social welfare office.
All of our operations will expand as we utilise a bigger space to fit our needs. We will improve the quality of our work and the reach and depth of our programmes. This exciting new development will allow new projects and new developments including the following:
A 100% increase of Foundation student intake numbers.
Diversification and expansion of existing programmes, including careers guidance, employability skills training, vocational training and in-house A-level courses.
Social enterprise development to support students that are entrepreneurially inclined to develop their own small to medium scale business or a business in association with Umoja.
Increase our support of the community and beneficiaries’ families through the expansion of our Fikia Programme, including training and micro-financing facilities for investments into livelihood development initiatives, such as agriculture or local businesses.
Social – psychological support for our beneficiaries as many of them suffer from traumatic experiences that may hinder their personal development.
Increasing the annual intake of students from 40 to 80 students.
This is an exciting time for Umoja as we have been dreaming of our own permanent centre for over ten years! We need to raise $60,000 AUD by June 2022 for the first stage of renovations so that we can move from our rented property.
If you are in the UK, please donate through Braunon Caen Rotary Club:
Braunton Caen Rotary
Charity Trust Account Number: 34019268
Sort Code: 30-90-49
Or by cheque:
Payable to: Braunton Caen Rotary Trust Fund
Treasurer, Braunton Caen Rotary
14 South Park
N.Devon, EX33 2HT
If you are in Australia, please donate via RAWCS: