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ROSL’s new link with Tanzania

Margaret Adrian-Vallance looks at ROSL’s support for marginalised communities around the Commonwealth and how members’ generosity is touching the lives of so many including those at the Orphans in the Wild Village in Tanzania

Alongside ROSL’s care for its future, clubhouse and staff during the pandemic, members’ past donations and legacies towards humanitarian and education projects in marginalised areas of the Commonwealth have seldom been more valued.

From funding students in Namibia, Kenya, and Pakistan, to education for single mothers and their children in Bangladesh, many members and branches probably don’t know just how much their help has been appreciated.

The Commonwealth is a big place and although this support has been modest, it has improved the lives of many, and the COVID pandemic has again shown how interdependent we all are on each other.

One area very much in need of support is in Tanzania, and from February, ROSL will be supporting the Orphans in the Wild Children’s Village near Ogoda. The village provides education and other support for HIV affected children from 16 villages in the Southern Highlands.

“Most of the communities are on the top of each hill”, says Marion Gough, Orphans in the Wild Trustee.

“The area is affected by HIV/AIDS and has the highest infection rate in Tanzania, hence the number of orphans.

“The Children’s Village has been set out with individual houses around the head of a little valley. Each house has a House Mother and a maximum of 12 children. There is a large living room, a small kitchen, toilets and showers – with water supply connected”.

“We tried to avoid a single building that would resemble an ‘institute’ and instead have created ‘family’ houses, all interconnected by a path, to resemble a village.

“The village is supported by a small clinic with a nurse, an office complex, a play school and a sizeable kindergarten school. There are three volunteers houses, an electricity power line, and water pumped to header tanks. There is also a private Finnish doctor’s house on site.

“Nearby, we have built a vocational training school (operated independently, but providing free training for our own NGO school leavers).

“With 16 Villages within our NGO Project Area, orphans originate from a variety of villages around the region, and we can only take children in who
have absolutely nowhere to go. We have a Milk Powder Project, sponsored for the last seven years by a church in Bristol.

“We are so very grateful for ROSL’s support and would be more than happy if any ROSL members could pay us a visit – perhaps combined with a Safari when travel restrictions ease”.

Education has a broad definition and the Trust has been supporting the archiving of ROSL’s key historical documents

In the UK
Closer to home, it was very sad to learn of the deaths of Sir Colin Imray, Marilyn Archbold, Patricia Farrant and Robert Wainwright, who all took such an interest in the altruistic side of ROSL. Former Chairman Sir Colin often said he hoped that ROSL would one day have a project with Bangladesh – a country he knew well – and Marilyn was a great supporter of the ROSL-Namibia project, collecting books and other resource material for free freighting out to Namibia. Read more about their generous legacies on page 40.

Education has a broad definition and thanks to funding from the ROSL Trust, the archiving of ROSL’s key historical documents has re-started, albeit around the temporary closures of the London clubhouse, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

When completed it will be full of interesting and helpful possibilities.

Overseas magazine for example, first published in 1915, holds much information on attitudes of the day, articles, photos, advertisements, branch reports and so on, as Empire changed into Commonwealth.

As ROSL takes back the catering in house and international travel remains limited, there are exciting plans afoot to include dishes from countries in which ROSL has branches, reciprocal clubs or projects.

A lot to look forward to and much to be grateful for – in particular the past and present generosity of members helping to bring ROSL and so many other communities through these unprecedented times.

For more details on ROSL’s work and how you can support projects, visit