Community unites to build a school for their children’s future
For 500 Tanzanian children In the remote hamlet of Kifaru Juu, it is a long walk to school. For most children, the nearest Government primary school is a 10km round-trip walk through treacherous terrain.
‘Some students have to cross a gorge, that fills with water during the rainy seasons, to get to a school. It poses a great risk to these young children.’Mr Gobre, Ward Education Officer, Endakiso Ward.
There is a unique mix of tribes in the area. Maasai, Barbaiq, and Gorowa/Iraqw tribes people live off the land, and work in agriculture and livestock for their livelihood. With shared hopes for their children’s future, the tribes united, to seek a solution. They agreed to build a primary school.
‘‘Visionary parents were determined to make sure that children would no longer have to endure the long journey, and adverse conditions to go to school. Especially as it often led to students dropping out. With limited financial resources, I willingly volunteered to teach their young children (aged 4-5 years old) when they approached me and started lessons under the shelter of a tree.’Mr Juma, Retired Teacher, and Volunteer Teacher a Kifaru Satellite School
With lessons started, they got to work applying to the local government. In 2022 the Ministry of Education granted permission for the construction of their primary school, and a 7-acre plot of land was donated by a local family. Following this good news, parents embarked on a fundraising campaign and every household contributed TZS 100,000 (equivalent to AUD $63) to start construction.
‘We, the people of Kifaru, have a big dream – to have a primary school for our children. Despite financial challenges, we refuse to give up. We want to provide our children with a nurturing school environment, where they can pursue their dreams.‘Asha, mother of 4, Kifaru Hamlet.
In late 2022, with the community’s contributions they began construction of 2 classrooms and 1 teachers’ office. Now, 108 children (47% girls), from pre-primary to Grade 1 are learning there. 40% more children than expected!
‘The harsh environment of cold, dust, wind, and sun made teaching outside considerably challenging. The new classrooms are a realisation of our shared dream – a primary school that will greatly benefit our students.’Mr Juma
In 2023 So They Can is supporting the community to finalise renovations on the 2 classrooms to create a safe learning environment for every student. An additional 3 new classrooms and toilets are also scheduled for construction, so that the school can meet the minimum infrastructure requirements to be formally registered as a Government Primary School. Children from pre-primary to Grade 6 will be able to learn at the school from 2024 and enrolment is expected to increase to 350.