On 10th September 2016, the region around Bukoba in Tanzania was shaken by a powerful earthquake. There were dead and injured, and almost 2500 buildings were completely destroyed or seriously damaged. The St. Joseph Kolping school was also destroyed.

TEXAID and Kolping Switzerland
TEXAID was founded in 1978 as a private charity partnership of Kolping Switzerland, together with five other Swiss relief organizations and a private partner. Their aim was to combine the traditional and until that time independent clothes collections into one professional value-added chain that was both ecologically and economically sound. Most of the proceeds generated by TEXAID from the sale of the collected textiles go to the six participating relief organizations: Thanks to this money, Kolping Switzerland can finance some of its projects.

The Kolping Society of Switzerland is part of the international Kolping society that is active in over 60 countries. The Kolping Society is named after the 19th century social reformer and priest Adolph Kolping. The social and development aid of Kolping Switzerland is having an impact throughout the world. This involvement has a long history. Then as now, its motto has always been «Focusing on People». Besides many individual projects, particularly in eastern Europe, Kolping Switzerland supports three Kolping partner associations in Bolivia, India and Tanzania.

Funds for reconstruction
Thanks also to payments from TEXAID, Kolping Switzerland can finance the Kolping school reconstruction project in Bukoba. The school will have to be completely rebuilt in as short a time as possible. 892 pupils attend school here in various buildings. The children come from the whole area around Bukoba on the shores of Lake Victoria. Around half of them also live in the school, and go home only three times per year during the holidays. This makes the rebuilding even more urgent.

Eight year-old Nala explains: «Since the earthquake, we haven’t been able to go to school. Too much has been damaged and it’s no longer safe to go inside. But it’s raining outside. We actually like it when it rains, but everything gets wet when we have lessons outdoors.» Her greatest wish: «To have everything the same as it was before the earthquake.»

The clear-up and demolition work have already started. The walls must be built, a new roof put on, new windows fitted and the furniture financed. As early as in the first week following the quake plans were made, the building was torn down and the construction work is now progressing with a great sense of urgency. The total damages amount to some 400 000 Euros. «In the first week after the quake, we were already able to provide financial support for the reconstruction. This was possible thanks partly to the freely disposable funds from TEXAID», explains Bernhard Burger of Kolping Switzerland.

You can find more information about Kolping Switzerland and the rebuilding project in Bukoba here.

December 2016