Bigwa FDC, our sister school in Tanzania
Bigwa Folk Development College is situated just outside the town of Morogoro, East Tanzania, about 200 km west of Dar es Salaam. At the moment there are 90 students attending different educational courses at Bigwa, most of them between the ages of 16 and 21. Bigwa offers practical adult education, like tailoring, domestic science, electrical science and carpentry. The main purpose of the school is to give the students an opportunity to increase their possibilities of finding a livelihood and hence self-reliance.
Julius Nyerere, former president of Tanzania, was for a long time very interested in the Swedish Folk High-school-idea and he started to implement this in Tanzania. Due to good relations between Tanzania and Sweden, collaboration began and led to the opening of 70 Folk Development Colleges in Tanzania, one of them being Bigwa FDC, established in 1975.
Valla Folk High School in Linköping, Sweden, has had an international agenda since the mid sixties and is still committed to global awareness and engagement.
Bigwa FDC and Valla came in contact with each other through Karibu, a Swedish-Tanzanian non governmental organisation. The main purpose is to support networking and cooperation between Tanzanian and Swedish folk development colleges. Valla and Bigwa FDC have, for almost 20 years built a strong relationship between the schools, its staff and its students. One important link is that people from both parties are given the chance to visit each other on a regular basis. Bigwa FDC is like a second home for Valla on the African continent.
Financial support is another dimension of the relationship. Since Bigwa is only partly financed by the Tanzanian government, they have to find other means of income. One are the fees from the students, another is what they can cultivate and sell to the local market. Valla has in different ways supported their efforts, especially projects that increase the self-reliance of Bigwa.
Bigwa FDC is an important place for many at Valla. Students at different educational courses at Valla have visited Bigwa, as a part of their education. The international course and the course for youth leaders have had different training programs at Bigwa, but also staff members from both Bigwa and Valla have had opportunities to visit each other. This personal contact is crucial to the long lasting relationship between the two schools and their own individual developments.