The portal for a lively Walchwil
Das Portal für ein lebendiges Walchwil

Tanzania smiles (9)

We are a Walchwil-based association/aid organisation that helps the poorest, namely children in Tanzania. We support 11 orphanages/children's homes and schools with over 900 children. In the last weekly edition of RigiPost each month, we inform you about our activities in Tanzania.

Development aid in the past and today

When I was a child, 60 years ago, my siblings and I used to go to our village to collect money for the "poor little negroes". We did the same as the peddlers of that time, simply from door to door. We did this with the hope of receiving a few pennies. To support our cause, we had a little "Nickneger" with us, who thanked us with his head for every coin that was thrown in. We did this with full conviction that we were doing something good. And never did the thought occur to us that this was racist or undignified. We gave the few francs and centimes we had collected to the local priest, who then passed the money on to missionaries. We children, in our naive way, imagined that "these poor little negroes" would be a little better off thanks to our help. The idea prevailed that everyone there was suffering from hunger and that now, thanks to us, there was something to eat.

Before a hail of indignation breaks out, I would like to point out that in the above paragraph I have reproduced words that were commonplace at the time but are absolutely taboo today.

Development aid at that time was mostly driven by the various religious representatives. Certainly, there were often good intentions behind it. But one of the main reasons was that in Africa, too, they tried to turn the natives into Christians. The Catholic and Protestant churches were the main pioneers of "missionisation". But more and more, countless sectarian churches have also dedicated themselves to "missionisation". Schools and hospitals were built. These missionaries can probably claim that millions of people in Africa learned to read and write thanks to them at that time. Together with the many European emigrants, the colonies were "developed". Well, developed is a very one-sided view from today's perspective. For the most part, the indigenous people had practically no share in the emerging prosperity. Today, one can argue whether the development aid of that time made sense or not. But certainly there were missionaries and developers who had good intentions, so from today's perspective it is too easy to condemn this "missionary work" as a whole.

The majority of today's development aid shows a differentiated picture. Sustainability, long-term actions, help for self-help, motivation for own action, conceptual and planned activities, are buzzwords without which development aid can or should no longer be provided today. Today, countries and governments, among others, provide development aid by building entire railway lines or motorways in African countries. Unfortunately, this usually creates little added value for the locals. For example, 30,000 Chinese build a 300 km long motorway in 12 months. The resulting debt of the African countries cannot be repaid in foreign currency, but only in the form of rights for the extraction of mineral resources. In addition, trade agreements are concluded, whereby the foreign trade deficit is enormous for many African countries. With the missionaries, development aid was linked to the intention of Christianisation. Today, unfortunately, the intention of donor countries is sometimes to secure indigenous mineral resources for themselves.

Tanzania Smiles is a small relief organisation. We believe that positive change in African countries can only happen through education. That is why we focus mainly on education. In addition, we also focus on nutrition, hygiene, gender equality and emergency situations. For any financial support, we require a personal contribution. There must always be a concept that shows that our support will bring about positive and lasting change. In our organisation, everyone works for free and also pays for their own personal expenses. We guarantee that 100 centimes per franc of donations go to the children. And we undertake never to pay bribes.

Development aid today no longer consists of giving Africans something for which they have to nod their thanks. Rather, it consists of supporting them to shape their own lives and to have the courage to change. In this way, they should achieve a reasonable level of prosperity and security without losing their own culture. Tanzania Smiles would like to make a small contribution to Africans taking their happiness into their own hands at home and not flirting with fleeing to Europe because of their need.

I would be happy to provide you, dear readers, with detailed information about our relief organisation/association. Please contact me or simply call me: or 079 663 38 04. On our website you will find more detailed information about our activities, our philosophy and our organisation.

Urs Flury, President Tanzania smiles


Our donation account is:
Tansania lächelt, Hinterbergstrasse 16, 6318 Walchwil
Zuger Kantonalbank, 6301 Zug
IBAN: CH27 0078 7785 4503 4508 6

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