Less than a year ago, when three Cypriots left for Nepal to donate shoes and clothing to children and monks, they announced that their next goal was to raise money to building a school for Maasai children in Tanzania.
The three of them – 32-year-old lawyer Socrates Rossides and brothers Nicolas and Constantinos Nicolaou – have since joined up with Nisos Demetriou. They will soon leave for the village of Makuyuni in Tanzania, having managed to collect the money to build a solar-energy-powered school.
Rossides, who founded the non-profit organisation Rhea Foundation shortly before his last trip in April 2017, said he was returning to Tanzania optimistic about the children. When he first went there in 2016 to deliver shoes, he added, the children had to walk for hours to reach the nearest school.
This time Rossides and his colleagues will travel by jeep through the African savannah to arrange the transport of building materials and coordinate the workers who will build the school.
Rossides said there is already one classroom, built with the help of an Irish nurse, catering for 60 students in the village. With the construction of more classrooms 240 students will be able to attend, meeting the educational needs of the whole community.
“The goal is that the school prepares upcoming generations of the community and bridges the educational gap between the Maasai’s traditional lifestyle and children born in developed cities,” he said.
Costs were mainly covered by charity events organised by students from the Nicosia-based GC School of Careers, as well as donations through the foundation’s website www.rhea-foundation.org.
After the team returns to Cyprus, in about two weeks, Rossides will continue to monitor the progress of the project and he plans to visit Tanzania in two to three months to buy the photovoltaic system which will power the building.
He hopes the project will be completed by the end of September or early October.
Rossides began volunteering with the United Nations six years ago in Nepal as a teacher of English.
Two years ago he and his team toured Tanzania by motorcycle delivering special shoes that can grow five sizes. The shoes are available in two sizes, 32-37 and 37-42, are made of strong materials like leather and rubber and don’t have parts that wear down easily.