The link operates on a two year cycle which kicks off proper in September following the completion of the outward visit and commences with the recuitment of a new student cohort. We say farewell to the members of the previous group although many continue to take an interest.
A recuitment event is held to which we invite students from West Cumbrian secondary schools who are in years 11 or 12 together with their parents. The way the Link operates is explained and there are opportunties for questions and informal chat. Members from the previous group attend to give the student perspective. Those wishing to join the programme are required to submit a parental consent form (see attached)
All activities undertaken by the Link are paid for through a combination of fundraising, donations and grants.Fundraising contunues throughout the 2 year cycle. There's an established programme of fundraising events but students are encouraged to develop their own ideas. Monthly group meetings are an opportunity for students and leaders to get together to plan and prepare fundraising activities, team build and make preparations for the inward and outward visits. The level of involvement in fundraising and attendance at meetings are taken into consideration which selecting those who will ultimately travel to Tanzania.
The inward visit takes place over 3 weeks from end of June through beginning of July and is entirely financed by the Link. Typically we host a party of 6 students and 3 adult leaders. Our Cumbrian students and their families are given the opportunity to host a Tanzanian for a week or more during the visit. A programme is organised which includes secondary and primary school visits, involvement in community activies together with sport, music, dance and drama. Students are expected to take an active part in the programme with due allowance made for their own school commitments. More informal get togethers take place between the students where strong friendships are often forged.
To apply for selection students must submit a diary covering their involvement in the inward visit and complete an application form. They are then invited to a selection weekend at a local outdoor centre. Activities are organised to enable students to show how well they can work together, cooking and cleaning duties are shared and there is also an interview. The leaders for the outward visit run the weekend and make the final decisions on who will be invited to go. This decision also takes into account commitment shown and performance in the activities of the previous year.
As well as the continuation of fundraising there is much to do to prepare for the outward visit. This includes some basic KiSwahili training, music and dance, development of activities to share with the schools we visit, first aid, hygiene and health training. A final team building and preparation weekend is held in the Spring prior to the visit.
The visit to Rungwe takes place from mid July to mid August. Within Tanzania we travel predominantly by train and private bus and stay in secure hostel accommodation. Opportunties are given for pairs of students to undertake overnight homestays with families of those students who visited Cumbria in the previous year. A programme of school and community activities are undertaken together with some local sightseeing. In the middle of the visit a weekend break to Matema Beach on Lake Malawi is undertaken.