Our first construction project is based in a small Maasai village called Kiserian in northern Tanzania. The aim is to build a pre-school which will service a community of approximately 5000 villagers. At present there is no school in this village and all students must walk 12 kms to the nearest school, and again to get home each day. 24km in total. This is exhausting, unsafe and time consuming. For little pre-schoolers this walk is not an option.
Through face-to-face meetings with members of TANZEED in 2013, senior members of the Maasai village of Kiserian identified a pre-school as the highest priority. It was thought a pre-school was the best start as these young children are the most vulnerable in regard to a lack of access to any form of formal schooling. These young children speak their local language, Maa but have little exposure to the language of instruction in primary school, Swahili. To make matters tougher the Tanzanian Government at Grade 3 changes the language of instruction to English.
It is not surprising many young students from this village struggle at school due to distance and language barriers. Hence we believe that if a village pre-school has a focus on teaching Swahili from the earliest age possible, at least the problems associated with not understanding Swahili can start to be addressed. Once a local pre-school is completed we hope to then expand the project to the construction of a primary school in this village as well.
To facilitate the sustainability of this first project a university trained primary school teacher who originates from this village has been identified as a likely candidate to teach the first group of pre-school students. These students are likely to commence in January of 2016. This teacher currently teaches elsewhere in Tanzania but her husband and child live in Kiserian village. She has expressed a strong interest in being one of our inaugural teachers.
Our initial aim is a pre-school with the capacity and resources to teach two classes of approximately 50 students.
The building of the first classroom was completed in December 2015. On 3-1-16, with much community excitement, the official opening of the school and first classroom occurred. Lessons have commenced for approximately 75 children with the help of local adults.
In the first week of June, 2016, the second classroom was completed. Thank you to all those who generously donated, especially ROTARY-Norwood South Australia and Pembroke School students, families and staff in Adelaide, Australia. Work is due to commence on building desks and furniture and fundraising for resources and trained teachers.
Tables have arrived for the classrooms to much excitement from the students! It's something for them to be happy about as the community struggles to feed themseves with the current drought.
The school has now been named... NAMELOK PRIMARY SCHOOL (pronounced Naw-meee-lok). This means "Sweet" in Maasai... "Sweet little primary school".
We have received temporary Tanzanian Government clearance for the 2 classrooms which has been an important development.
We are currently exploring having individual child sponsorships to help with funding. More information will be provided on this in the future.
Australians from TANZEED and a visiting Australian teacher and student headed out to see the school on December 15th.
We were only expecting to see the site but were overwhelmed when the entire community, dressed in their bright shugas and beads, surprised us with a welcome of singing, dancing and their famous jumping. They presented hand-made beaded jewellery to each of us. Even the children came to school in their uniforms, despite it being their Christmas holidays.
The school now has newly completed toilets and 104 children attending. Children receive a simple breakfast. There are 4 dedicated local volunteers teaching. The community has self initiated asking families to contribute approximately USD$2 a month if able to help fund a stipend for the teachers and food costs. 24 solar lights donated by Pembroke School students and stationary, books and teaching resources donated by a Pembroke teacher were gratefully received. The community expressed their pride in having a school to help in educating their children and their gratitude.
The 2 classrooms however are overflowing with the 104 pupils now attending with some groups being taught under the trees. The children graduating from their 2nd year will have to transfer to the nearest Government school- a 16 km away walk away unless funds are raised to expand the school.
Additional classrooms, trained teachers, a kitchen, water tanks, books, stationary are amongst the needs identified with the community.
Please help us raise funds to reach our 2018 goal to complete 2 new classrooms and a kitchen!
Pre-School Update- April 2018
Fundraising efforts have resulted in the commencement of building for 2 additional classrooms.
Thank you to all the support from Culford Pre Prep School and Parent Teacher Association.
A surprise spot audit by the Tanzanian Government Education Department showed Namelok was performing at levels above other local schools. This is a credit to the dedicated volunteers teaching at the school. This news has resulted in additional local children seeking to attend with numbers reaching approximately 128. Plans are in place to secure 2 additional trained teachers for once the classrooms are completed.
Help us complete, fit out and staff the 2 new classrooms by donating at the details on the webpage!
A short documentary is being made following the filming of the students' long 3 hour walk to the nearest Government school which is their only alternative other than Namelok.
Look out for the launch later this year!
UPDATE ON PROGRESS: MAY 2019
Its been an exciting year with lots of new developments: