Thursday, December 11, 2008


Elikana O. Ngogo

On Dec. 9th, the independence day of Tanzania, Haukipudas Upper Secondary School had a special theme day. The highlight of the day was the visit of our partners: Elikana O. Ngogo, a Tanzanian living in Joensuu, Finland and a group of 13 students from Haapajärvi, Finland, with their teacher Marja Iskanius.

During the day Elikana O. Ngogo visited an English class as well as a history class and the Haapajärvi students went to several classes to tell Haukipudas students about their recent trip to Tanzania. Marja Iskanius went to a biology class to share her knowledge about Africa and Tanzania in particular.

The whole school also spent a lesson listening to lectures given by Mr. Ngogo and Ms. Marja Iskanius. We heard very interesting facts and stories about Tanzania that certainly made us think. We also heard the Haapajärvi students sing the national anthem of Tanzania, in Swahili! The video and photographs shown to us truly took our breath away. I am sure we all would love to travel to Tanzania some day and witness the beauty ourselves.

We want to thank our guests for making our theme day a memorable one. This was one of the many steps we are going to take together.


The national anthem sung by the Haapajärvi students

Marja Iskanius

a gift from Haapajärvi

Haapajärvi students and teachers

-by Anja Moilanen

Thursday, December 4, 2008


In November 2008 two groups of students in Haukipudas held a "cross-scientific seminar". One group consisted of our senior students (course English 7) and the other mainly of first year students (Biology 3). Before the actual seminar the students studied topics ranging from Finnish nature to our ecological footprint. Also Finnish World Heritage Sites as well as other man-made or natural sites that they found somehow meaningful to them personally or to this area were an important theme. The themes were covered in lessons and individually by the students. In the actual seminar the students performed in small groups. They showed Power Point - presentations and talked about their topic in English. All in all it was a good experience to the students as well as to us teachers (Esko Olkoniemi, biology, and Anja Moilanen, English) to combine forces and make two groups and two different school subjects work together. Here below are some of the presentations held by the students. In the comments - section there are their written presentations. - by Anja Moilanen

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Did you ever think about this?

Are you still complaining?

Observe around you and be thankful for all that you have in this transitory lifetime...

We are fortunate, we have much more than what we need to be content. Let's try not to feed this endless cycle of consumerism and immorality in which this "modern and advanced" society forgets and ignores the other two thirds of our brothers and sisters.

Let us complain less and give more!

Posted by Tiina Mustakangas, Source: Anonymous email

Monday, November 17, 2008

Written presentations of Finnish nature sent to Tanzania

During this school year our students have written essays and made presentations to be held here at school and to be sent to our partner school in Tanzania. The topics have varied from Finnish nature and seasons, our UNESCO World Heritage Sites to the ecological problems we are facing at the moment. We believe the students widened their understanding of our biodiversity and are thus able to give our friends in Tanzania a glimpse of Finland.
-by Anja Moilanen

Sunday, October 26, 2008

UN Millenium Goal Poetry Competition

By Tiina Mustakangas

The students of Haukipudas High School have been writing poems on UN Millenium Goals in their English Culture Course for some time now. The artistic talent and the touching contents of the poems have surprised their English teachers. It isn't easy to write a good poem in a foreign language, but our students succeeded very well.

Before leaving to our fall break in October, a jury of 14 students and a jury of English teachers read through all the poems (on the poetry section of our website), and voted on the best ones.
The winner of the poetry competition was unanimously Siiri Jänkälä who wrote the following poem:

There are bones in Africa that need flesh
What about water which is fresh?

It's horrible when reality hits
What have they done to deserve this?

Instead of all that sorrow
You can always dream of a better tomorrow

Congratulations Siiri!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The human rights I consider most important

Human rights are a tricky subject as different cultures have differing views on them either based on religious reasons or practical ones.

One such right, among others, is defined in the United Nations’ Declaration of human rights: freedom of religion. While it is admirable in itself, I would extend it to a complete, total freedom of choice, be it ideological, political, economical etc. I strongly feel that every single person should not only be allowed to make the decisions concerning their life but also able to make them. However, it is merely the ideal destination to get to and not exactly an accomplishable goal, but the world would most definite be a much better place if we at least tried.

Closely connected to freedom is equality. For example, women’s position in Islamic culture is massively different to the western conception of the independent woman. In my view, each individual should receive the same treatment and respect from other people regardless of their gender, skin colour, nationality, ethnicity, language or occupation. Then again, this highlights my first point: it’s a choice made by Islamic women and I’m in no position to judge that.

Naturally, the ability to make decisions at all depends on one thing: knowledge, which brings up two rights. Firstly, everyone, in my opinion, has a right to gain and accumulate knowledge so much as they please. This means that everyone is entitled to education, preferably a free one, and that the distribution of information should be entirely free. The absence of censorship would then emphasize the parents’ responsibility even more.

On a more recent topic relating to the system known as school, people should be able to study in their own language, which would enhance their process of handling vital information and thus make it more accessible to them.

Then there is the basis for everything else. Every single human being should positively and absolutely have the right and possibility to satisfy their utmost basic needs: to eat when hungry, quench their thirst, have proper hygiene and be healthy. On the subject, Mahatma Gandhi once said, and I quote: “The world has enough resources to satisfy everyone’s needs, but not enough to satisfy everyone’s greed.”

By Juhani Pätsi (student of Haukipudas High School)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Haapajärvi High School joins our school network

Haapajärvi High School has become a new partner in our school’s Tanzania network. The meeting between the teachers of Haukipudas and Haapajärvi High Schools was held at the UNESCO ASP schools’ meeting in Jyväskylä this weekend.

The English teacher, Marja Iskanius, has been in charge of the Haapajärvi High School’s projects to Africa since 2002. The first project involved 26 high school students, and it consisted of sending medical equipment to the local hospital, as well as a two-week field trip to the friendship school in Namibia.

This year Marja will be taking a group of 20 students to their two friendship schools, Korongoni School and Machame Girls’ School, in Moshi, North Tanzania. Together with the local charity organizations, Haapajärvi High School has provided their African friends with a school building, electricity, as well as computers, faxes and printers. The students have also been working hard to collect money for their 10-days’ trip to Tanzania for two years now. The departure day, 16th October, is getting close, and the students, together with their teacher, are very busy with their final preparations for the trip.

The projects in Haapajärvi are excellent examples of a successful co-operation between Finnish and Tanzanian high schools, and serve as the best possible model for Haukipudas High School which is looking for new ways to get students more involved in its project in Tanzania.

This websight will serve as the first contact forum for our schools’ network. Students from Haapajärvi High School are welcome to join our earlier discussions on the UN Millenium Goals, as well as the Tanzania project of Haukipudas High School. We are looking forward to reading your opinions and comments, and hope our friends in Medina High School in Ohio will join us, and get to know the students in Haapajärvi, too.

On the 9th December, The national day of Tanzania, Haukipudas High School has a special program in which the English teacher Marja Iskanius together with her "Tanzania group", will come and tell our school about the different phases of their project, as well as all the exciting and memorable experiences they had on their trip in Africa.

More information about the project and the trip on:

By Tiina Mustakangas

A Tanzanian IT-expert joins our school network

Mr. Elikana Ngogo, a Tanzanian information technology specialist currently living and working in Finland, has joined our school network and is eager to assist Haukipudas High School with our efforts to send used computers to our friendship school in Tanzania. Mr. Ngogo is one of the founders of the association called “Computerized Society”, the goal of which is to collect used computers from different parts of the world, and send them to young students in Tanzania, Africa. Mr Ngogo's goal is to make Tanzanian students literate users of information and communication technologies, but as Tanzania depends on imported IT-technology, they have to turn to countries which are advanced in their production and application of technology. The majority of Tanzanian schools also depend on second hand technology as new equipment is too expensive to afford. (//

Mr. Ngogo found out about our school’s Tanzania project accidentally through our website last spring. He contacted us right away, and we set up a meeting for the summer. In our meeting we decided to work hard together for our common goal to find available used computers, to organize their shipping, and finally to provide our friendship school with computers and the necessary expertise that is needed in order to be able to use the computers efficiently. Our goal is to send the computers to Mkapa High School during the school year 2008-2009.

Mr. Ngogo will visit our friendship school in Dar-es-Salaam in November. He will also contact the local Rotary Club which, together with the Rotary Club in Finland, might be able to help us with our project.

By Tiina Mustakangas

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bags arrived in Tanzania!

A while ago we received a message from Tanzania: the packages we sent to our partner school in Dar es Salaam had arrived. Let´s hope the items are of use.

Our own community, the town of Haukipudas, knows of our project as well since a local newspaper Rantapohja published an article of our cooperation. The Red Cross was also involved and covered a part of the postage costs.

Phase two of our campaign is already under way, too. Hopefully we are able to get a lot of donations to Mkapa High School. It will take a while, however, before there´s enough computers and money to take action and rent a container. We´ll try and keep the wheels turning...

- by Anja Moilanen

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First Pictures from Our Friendship School in Tanzania

Mkapa Secondary School Students in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The school has altogether 3000 students. There is no Internet connection nor any fax machines in the building.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


- by Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka and Anja Moilanen

This year´s senior students did an amazing donation. Instead of giving their teachers the usual funny presents on their last day at school, they donated the following to the third world via World Vision:

- Goats and supplies needed for their care as well as education for poor families in a developing country

- Financial aid for AIDS orphans in order to improve their living conditions and their rights

- Health inspection and vaccinations for 30 children in developing countries as well as information on prevention of illnesses and their treatment

- Water pipes in order to get clean drinking water for close to 30.000 inhabitants of Meibek in Kenya

As a whole the atmosphere of the school leaving party was exceptionally warm. All teachers were impressed by the students´ mature and compassionate farewell gift.

Friday, January 25, 2008


by Anja Moilanen

There are about 35 Million people and more than 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania. The national language is Kiswahili. For historical reasons English is the second official language.

Tanzania is one of the least developed countries in Africa. Luckily, the Tanzanian government understands the value of education when improving the quality of life. According to the Tanzanian education policy the language of teaching is Kiswahili in pre-primary and primary education in which English is a compulsory subject. In secondary education the language of teaching is English and Kiswahili is a compulsory subject.

Nevertheless, the poor command of English of both teachers and students is a major reason for academic under-achievement in secondary schools. Students start studying in English without proper preparation and are taught by teachers who in many cases have a low level of proficiency in English. Some teachers do their best and attend evening classes to acquire better language skills. However, it is expensive and time-consuming, and not even available everywhere.

The number of private schools is growing and affluent families send their offspring into these schools that use English as the medium of instruction already in primary schools. Unfortunately these schools are hardly better – their teachers are often not able to use English properly or lack teacher training altogether.

Tanzania has tried to find solutions to these problems. The country uses the help of its own experts, the British Council and also numerous experts from Finland to improve their teacher trainees´ language and pedagogical skills. Hopefully the project is a success and Tanzanian students will face easier times at school.

Source: Yours Truly 2008 (the annual bulletin for the members of The Association of Teachers of English in Finland), original article written by Modester M Mwinula, URT National Commission for UNESCO, Tanzania

Thursday, January 17, 2008

School bags to Tanzania are being packed

The student council of Haukipudas Upper Secondary School started packing school bags, papers, pens and mobile phones in January 2008. More phones are yet to come! The boxes will be sent to a Unesco school in Dar es Salaam in a matter of weeks. This is just a beginning.
-by Anja Moilanen