Our mission is to further the education of young people and adults, chiefly in West Cumbria, and to ease poverty through aid, development & education, particularly in the Rungwe District of Tanzania
Our vision is one of better connection, and of progress in our two communities. This can be seen through our cultural exchange, and also through community and educational projects in Rungwe, and student sponsorship of Rungwe students. CRCL is ultimately a charity, and the fundraising we do goes toward projects in the community, and toward the exchange of Cumbrian and Rungwe young people.
For more information on who we are, what we do and where our funds go, download the 2021-22 Trustees Annual Report
Like many, my involvement with the CRCL started a long time before I joined the committee in 2015. My family hosted students and leaders from Rungwe in 1995, 1997 and 1999, in between which I was fortunate enough to visit Tanzania for the first time in 1998. The committee are dedicated to ensuring the Link continues for the next generation and are determined to build together - Tunajenga Pamoja.
I first got involved with the Link when my son joined as a student in 2011. I quickly understood the impact the charity has on the local area and have remained involved ever since. I've visited Tanzania on four separate Outward visits, and been involved with give inward visits... and counting!
I've been involved with the CRCL since 2006 when I hosted Lusajo, and got to visit him the following year during the outward visit. Visiting Tanzania when I was 18 was a pivotal moment for me, and i knew it was something that had my heart. For me the Link has shaped the person I am today and has given me lifelong friendships both in Tanzania and the local area.
Our RCCL Partners
I first met our Cumbrian visitors many years ago when they visited Lutengano school in Rungwe, where I was a student at the time. I was fascinated by the visit, the charity and the people I met, so when I was old enough I joined the CRCL's sister charity here in Rungwe; the Rungwe-Cumbria Community Link. I've been involved in hosting our visits ever since, and was elected as the RCCL chair and as a 2019 Inward visit leader in 2017.
Ever since I was selected to visit Cumbria as a student. I have kept in close contact with the families who hosted me. I've been fortunate enough to host some of them when they have visited Tanzania in recent years, and even got to reunite with some of my initial group when I was selected to return to Cumbria as a group leader in 2019. In the RCCL committee I work as the treasurer, with a big role in organising our bi-annual Outward visit, and coordinating the Community Improvement Projects here in Rungwe.
I was lucky enough to be selected to visit Cumbria in 2005, and since returning to Tanzania I never separated from the CRCL community. The Link has helped me to achieve my educational career by helping me manage my school fees and student loans, and I'm now a certified public accountant. In 2018 I joined the RCCL committee to serve the Link that helped me to achieve my career and improved the communities around me.
A note from our founder,
The planning for the Link scheme started in late 1980, and working alone it was a frustratingly slow process. All letters were written by hand and postal replies took a very long time. Initially the plan was to link Copeland schools with Kibosho Secondary School, on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro in the extreme north of Tanzania. This was because for the last five years of my time in Tanzania I had lived and worked at Old Moshi Secondary School, lower down the mountain from Kibosho.
The first two Cumbrian visits in 1982/3 and 1985, and the alternate visits by the Tanzanians to West Cumbria went very well. Too well in fact, as the aid and attention given to Kibosho created jealousies in the powerful Catholic Church, and we were advised that, to avoid trouble, we should look elsewhere. Purely by chance I had met up with a surgeon, Dr Peter Weston, who was performing transformational surgery on disabled youngsters in the extreme south of the country. The upshot was that the link Scheme moved to Lutengano school, Near Tukuyu in the Rungwe District, where the Link still thrives.
When I started the scheme all those years ago, little did I think that would still be going strong in the hands of the present generation. Long may it last!