They say that nothing worth doing is easy. Like every successful project, we’ve had our bumps in the road. But we wouldn’t change a thing. Why? Because throughout our journey we’ve become stronger, so that our children can benefit from our years of experience.
Risen School is a kindergarten in Mafinga, Tanzania. Since its creation in January 2020, staff have been working on a voluntary basis every day. This school welcomes 30 students from 3-4 years old while also providing a daily breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack to every child that attends school. Children spend many hours of their day here: they start arriving at 7:00 am, and often stay until dark, while parents are busy working or looking for ways to feed their family.
Agriculture is a primary discipline that we want to pass on to children from an early age. We use a solar panel for electricity, have compost and use the manure of our chickens to feed the vegetable garden. Our goal is to teach responsible gardening to children, so that they can reproduce it at home and later when they grow up. Students are made aware of the principles of sustainable development, recycling and the reuse of materials.
The school relies on the collection and storage of rainwater to supply the bathrooms, the kitchen and the vegetable garden. As we don’t have running water, in addition to rainwater, we boil the water they collect from the well for the school.
Our sources of income today are slim. On one hand, there are the school fees paid by the families of the students, when they can afford it. Some families participate by giving them food when they can, and others do not have the means to compensate anything, neither in food nor in cash.
Our work is very important because public schools in Tanzania have very few resources. As the population and students continue to grow, the government is struggling to keep pace by creating enough teaching positions. Therefore some government school teachers have classes of more than 100 students. As you can imagine, it is therefore difficult for them to teach in good conditions, and some pupils leave primary school without knowing how to read or write.
Another important and tragic factor is the high number of people with AIDS (HIV) in the region, so it is particularly important for us to participate in the education of children from an early age. We have children in our care who have been diagnosed as HIV positive. Other children have lost their parents due to this disease, and live with a grandparent or other relative.
We are focusing our efforts on agriculture in order to create a virtuous circle. By growing a large amount of fruits and vegetables, it will feed the the students, and then we will sell the surplus to support the needs of the school, such as buying school supplies, payment of teachers' salaries and to self-pay for all the efforts we put in every day. We are raising 3 pigs at the moment to sell once grown to adult size.