Before it was Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), our sister nonprofit organization was called Friends of Tanzanian Schools, which was started by Thomson Safaris co-founder Judi Wineland and a group of guests who wanted to bring educational resources to developing regions in Tanzania.
Over 20 years later, the children in Tanzania – the reason FoTZC was founded in the first place – remain a center point of our work and a source of endless inspiration.
In honor of June 16, the International Day of the African Child, we’re sharing a few recent successes from Tanzania as well as our continuing work and some future challenges.
After roughly six years of construction, Robanda Secondary School began accepting girls on the western edge of the Serengeti in January 2017.
To help them open by the start of the school year, FoTZC was happy to help build two 2-in-1 teachers’ houses which were completed in 2016.
We were excited to receive a certificate of appreciation recently, but we’re thrilled to celebrate over a year of girls being enrolled at the school.
Why is This Important?
The importance of educating girls goes without saying, but the context in Tanzania is key. Tanzania’s primary school enrollment was 98 percent for girls as of 2012, but less than a quarter of girls continue to secondary school. Girls desperately need greater access to educational opportunities, and we’re happy to help make that a reality.
At the same time, the 98 percent of children enrolled in primary school do not always receive the space or resources they need; Haymu Primary School in Karatu is one example.
This incredible school first opened in 2012. It now serves 441 students and ranks 9th amongst its peers in the district despite a shortage of classroom space and textbooks. Classroom space was in such short supply that two grades were forced to share one classroom, with one teacher teaching on the left side of the room while another took the right.
The community around the school paid to pour the foundation for two new classrooms but couldn’t afford construction. FoTZC was happy assist.
Just three years after opening, every student at Haymu passed their entrance exams for secondary school. We’re eager to see that trend continue.
There are still remote regions in Tanzania that don’t have primary schools, too. The children of Orkuyene Village outside of Oloipiri Ward in northern Tanzania must walk two hours to attend the closest school.
The government mandates that all children must go to school, but it’s up to the villages to build classrooms and facilities.
Better Education Starts with Clean Water
These are just a few of the projects FoTZC has tackled since 1997. In that time, it has led initiatives for 23 schools and started many other projects.
Currently, FoTZC is spending a tremendous amount of time and effort to bring clean water to Oloipiri Ward. We have contributed boreholes while FoTZC has paid for pumping and piping systems to increase clean water access.
This is pivotal for the children in Tanzania and the future of the schools. When a drought prevents people from getting water or the water source they use is contaminated, sickness spreads and absenteeism runs rampant.
Sukenya Primary School is a perfect example. While building teachers’ housing for the school, FoTZC found an incredible percentage of the students were reported absent regularly due to illness. On any given day, 105 of the 459 students would stay home.
This is just one of the reasons FoTZC partnered with the Tanzanian government to build the Sukenya Medical Dispensary – a fully funded and staffed healthcare facility. FoTZC also brought clean water to Sukenya Primary School itself.