Our Stories

From studying under trees, to learning in the classrooms: A School Improvement impact story…

“Since January we have been facing a challenge…my classroom has been used as a hardware store, which has led me to taking classes outside under the trees.”

Kina is a pre-primary teacher at Orngadida Primary School in Tanzania — one of 42 government schools that So They Can supports in East Africa. She has been teaching at the school since 2011, and since then has seen student numbers steadily rise — from 164 when she first started, to today, with 187 pre-primary students under her care.

Tanzania is challenged by an acute shortage of teachers, with the country falling short of some 80,000 teachers across primary and secondary education*. Less teachers leads to surging class numbers — a worrying issue that carries many challenges. Not only are children missing out on valuable learning and time spent with educators, but they are going without many classroom fundamentals, such as access to chairs, desks, and basic learning materials that allow them to self-study.

As part of their Education Program, So They Can runs a project called ‘School Improvement’, which is implemented throughout all of their Core schools. This project exists to support Government schools just like Orngadida Primary, create safer and more engaging learning environments that positively benefit their students. 

In July 2021, with support from their global network and funding from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP),  So They Can funded 50 new desks at the school, to improve the learning environment for tomorrow’s leaders.

Kina, now back in her updated classroom, told So They Can: “I am very grateful that my students are writing well and enjoying reading and learning…in the classroom”.

Discussing the organisation’s School Improvement project, Cassandra Treadwell, So They Can’s CEO said: “Since its inception, our School Improvement project has been instrumental in keeping children — and particularly girls — in school. It boosts learning environments, improves sanitation and ultimately empowers students to keep learning so they can go on to break the poverty cycle.”

So They Can continues to support Orngadida Primary through teacher development training, specifically tailored towards techniques that allow teachers to handle big classrooms, further School Improvement projects, including a new 2000-litre water tank that was installed to improve general health and sanitation, and the implementation of a number of education-focused projects including Lets’ Learn, My Voice and Keeping Girls in School.

*Teacher deficit Government statistic, 2019, The Citizen

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