'Hadrian's Wall Walk' in memory of Mel Holmes

CWU members Steve Rowlands and Marc Pastorelli are taking on the 'Hadrian's Wall Walk' in memory of Imelda Holmes and in aid of CWU Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA).

Mel, who worked for CWU and tragically passed away in July this year, always supported CWUHA. She would have loved to travel on a humanitarian aid convoy, but did not drive. Her cunning plan was to buy an item that was desperately needed and then possibly fly out to help deliver it.

They will help make Mel's dream come true

Carl Webb, chair of the CWUHA, said: "Steve and Marc are hoping to raise enough money to buy equipment for the disabled children centre in Moldova that CWUHA are helping renovate and for our school in Africa in Mel's memory. So in away they will help make Mel's dream come true."

 Steve Rowlands and Marc Pastorelli CWUHA

Steve is a long-serving trustee of the CWUHA and Marc has been a supporter for many years. Between them they have raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

Steve and Marc will start the 73 mile walk early on Friday 10th October and are planning on finishing on Tuesday 14th October. They will follow the National Trail of Hadrian Wall from Newcastle to Carlisle. Though much of the route is reasonably flat, there is a 10-12 miles stretch that involves very steep climbing which Carl Webb says will be very difficult as "they are not getting any younger!"

To sponsor Steve and Marc, please visit their fundraising page here

Ultimate Sacrifice for the children of Moshi Tanzania

Picture below is Stewart Pickup, BT engineer and passionate supporter of CWUHA. On Sunday 17th August 2014 Stewart competed in “The Ultimate Triathlon “This involved a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finished off with a marathon run over a 26.3 mile course. All of these gruelling tasks were completed over 13 hours, nonstop.

With the help of family and friends Stewart has raised in excess of £1700 in the form of sponsorship. Congratulations Stewart. The funds will be used to help a CWUHA supported school in Moshi Tanzania. Once rested Stewart will be flying out to Tanzania at the end of August, this will be in order to spend time as a teaching assistant amongst the very poor African village children who receive vitally needed education, previously denied to them. No doubt he will also be able to use his considerable practicable skills to help with tasks around the school. For more information please visit: www.cwuha.org


My wife and I were introduced to the charity by our friend Alex Pearson. The information he gave us of its work and especially that at Kilima Hewa School in Tanzania sparked our interest and we volunteered to go out and spend some time there.  The visit was planned and put off several times and, in the end, arranged in a few rushed weeks.  We have to recognize the help given us here by Mike Kirby in London who expedited the visa arrangements on our behalf.

We arrived in Moshi on the 6th July and Mr Masawee, the headmaster of the school, met us on the morning of the 8th July to take us out there. The school was just as we had imagined it with 3 simple classrooms opening off a mud yard with a few pieces of rusting play equipment.  Mr Masawee and his wife, Susan, live in an adjoining house set around a little yard with a byre for the two cows. The compound is surrounded by maize fields and on the side of a very busy road. At the far end of the site were the 2 new classrooms, which had been built over the preceding 6 months.

It was the first day back after a long break so not all the children were in attendance. However the 40 or so who were there gave us a tremendous welcome. Within seconds of entering the playground we were surrounded by smiling children, all shouting “teacher, teacher” and soon we had at least 10 children hanging off each arm.  It was without doubt the most warming and emotional reception one could ask for.

We then joined the class with Mr Masawee taking the children through their first lesson. We were amazed at what he was able to achieve with very limited resources. He used an old soft toy as a blackboard rubber and lollie sticks as counting aids for maths. Because of the lack of resources the education has to be of a very simple kind.  Consequently most of the work is written on the blackboard  and learned rote fashion which involves lots of chanting and repeating.  Everything is learned in both English and Swahili and Mr Masawee and his two teachers (Elizabeth and Lucas) intersperse the formal work with songs and dances, also in both languages. My wife and I were soon roped in to help and the requests from the children for us to mark their work was constant. It is wonderful to see the response that a `smiley face’ on a page can produce.

Mid-morning we were introduced to the distribution of the maize porridge which is given to every child. It has dried sardines mixed with it to increase the protein value, but in all honesty does not look very appetizing. However the children seem to love it and indeed in many cases it is their first and perhaps only meal of the day.  The need among the children is evident.  Many are wearing uniforms provided by the charity topped with jumpers and cardigans of all sizes, colours and ages.  Footwear is also of a random style and size and in many cases ill-fitting and unsuitable.


During this week we were joined at the school by 5 Canadians who were staying at Bristol Cottages with us and expressed an interest in the school and what we were doing and seeing there. Mr Masawee, Susan, Lucas and Elizabeth and, of course, the children, made them all welcome.  One couple were retired teachers and, all like ourselves, were amazed at what was being achieved with such limited resources. A lady and her 14 year old daughter were so impressed by what they saw that they left USD 100 with which Mr Masawee bought 50 hybrid chicks.

The second week we were there Sara Black and her parents arrived from Australia for a months visit. Sara runs her own charity to support the school and she was bringing funds to buy paint, new playground equipment and arrange for the children to be examined by a doctor Please visit Sara’s web site: http://www.thekoalaproject.org/ to see the work which her charity is carrying out at the school, in parallel with CWUHA The paint was bought and from Tuesday until Friday the ladies helped with the teaching whilst Sara, her dad Terry and I prepared and painted the new classrooms inside and out, the ladies helping once teaching was finished. I am proud to say that in those four days we were able to transform grey concrete buildings into a brightly painted  classroom block. The intention is for the old existing buildings to be painted the same colours. Sadly we will not witness the arrival and installation of the new playground equipment but would love to see the faces of the children when they first see it.

Without a shadow of a doubt the work that Mr Masawee, Susan and the two teachers are providing to the local community is invaluable. Their dedication and enthusiasm is there for all to see. Elizabeth sweeps and washes the classroom floors each day after the children have left; a task made much harder the day when there had been rain overnight and mud was dragged in everywhere. They thoroughly deserve the continued support of the CWHA charity and we hope that this will long continue.  We know that Mr Masawee hopes to enlarge the school, and with Sara’s help, is seeking official authority to turn it from a kindergarten into a primary school.  There were signs that there are more children in the area who would benefit from places at the school as they were waiting for their friends and siblings when school finished each day.

We have returned to UK hoping that we have contributed in some small way to helping these children to achieve a better education, and subsequent life. We hope to return next year all being well. The experience has certainly made us appreciate more what we take for granted.

Bryan and Dinah Selkirk

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