20 Years of Education in Bugisi


Sr. Teresa Roberts reports from Bugisi Vocational Training Centre in northern Tanzania which has celebrated it's 20th anniversary.

The Bugisi Vocational Training Centre recently marked the 20th anniversary of its opening.  The centre, which had its first enrolment of 22 young ladies in 1996, is now fully registered as a Vocational Training Centre.  Events to mark the anniversary took place over the last number of months.

The OLA Sisters first stepped their feet into the remote Sukumaland in the early nineties. The Sisters, including Sr. Anne Cormack among others, began with education of girls, providing health services and pastoral support for the people. The fruits of their labours are now very evident in the form of the Bugisi Vocational Training Centre, located close to Didia-Lohumbo in the Shinyanga region of northern Tanzania.

The Vocational Training Centre’s initial vision to train female Standard Seven leavers to acquire skills in domestic purposes has since developed further to include male school leavers. It now offers long and short courses in electrical installation, food production, secretarial, design sewing and cloth technology, welding/fabrication and computing. Short courses are offered in knitting, cookery, hair dressing, tailoring and catering.   More than 700 students have passed through the centre and earn their living in different sectors in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

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Electrical student at the Bugisi centre                  Graduates of Bugisi Vocational Training Centre

 

To mark the 20th anniversary celebrations many events took place including talks, debates, a carols night, gospel night, culture night, sport and games.  Outreach visits to nearby secondary and primary schools were also conducted to make them aware of the Vocational Centre and the courses offered.

Also, students and teachers went on a float through the principal streets of Didia town and some nearby villages. The theme of the float was “Plant a Tree” and educated people on the need to plant trees especially when trees are cut down for charcoal or firewood.

The culmination of 20th anniversary events took place at a recent graduation day which saw 38 students graduate.  The day included an open mass followed an exhibition of products from the centre, fundraising in aid of the school library, dancing and some speeches from guests of honour who encouraged the students to let their light shine before all people and from the Vocational Training Centre’s principal who thanked the founders for making the centre the great success it is today. 

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Graduates of Bugisi Vocational Training Centre              Students exhibit some products