Off to make a difference in Uganda

16:00, Feb 20 2014
Zan Charlaff
RAISING STANDARDS: Zan Charlaff with some of the educational games she is making for her trip to teach Ugandan children.

A fun-filled night with an African flavour on March 8 will help children in Uganda get ahead in life.

Viva Africa at the Red Beach Surf Club aims to raise $8000 for medical and educational supplies.

The children in the central Ugandan district of Mukono have nothing, organiser Zan Charlaff says.

But soon they will have a training programme, teaching games and Zan.

The Red Beach Montessori teacher is off to Mukono on April 12 for three months as a volunteer for Global Volunteer Network and The Real Uganda.

A teaching placement will see her involved in a range of teaching activities including arts and crafts, structured play, music, drama, singing, sports, health and academic subjects.


Zan decided to volunteer after a successful battle with cancer.

Doctors discovered a 10cm tumour in her bowel last year.

"I had a huge operation last year then chemotherapy for six months and I decided I wanted to rearrange my life."

She looked for volunteer agencies and found Global Volunteer Network. And because of previously working with marginalised communities she was snapped up immediately.

The teacher and artist is originally from South Africa and moved to New Zealand in 1995.

Under the apartheid regime she taught children in The Eastern Cape and taught women to make educational equipment from waste.

"I was the only school in my area and I was threatened with closure because I had children of all races during the apartheid regime."

But Zan persevered against the regime and won.

Her school numbers then rose and it became a training school.

Zan was invited to write her own teaching programme for workers in remote schools.

In Mukono there is so little that even waste is hard to come by.

Zan is making reading and maths games to take with her and plans to buy more games and art supplies when she gets there. But she needs to raise funds to do so.

On March 8 Viva Africa will attempt to bring forth the cash.

From 4pm at the Red Beach Recreational Reserve next to the surf club there will be craft and market stalls, raffles, an art auction and African dancers.

Zan says she is amazed by the support of Hibiscus Coast businesses who are coming on board with raffle prizes.

Then at 8pm there will be dinner and live music at the surf club.

Artists include Ionosphere, The Dirt Road Orchestra, Otis Mace and Rhythm Interactive who will be bringing an African drum for every audience member to get them involved in their interactive performance.

Tickets for the dinner cost $30.

Call Zan on 021 427 276 for details or go to gvnfundraising. org to donate.

North Harbour News