In 2008, a concerned community donated 80 acres in the Mbozi District of Western Tanzania for the development of a secondary boarding school and vocational training center for orphans. (Approximately one-third of the children in this remote region of Tanzania are orphans.) Because the land grant is so large, orphans will be able to raise their own livestock and farm the land, learning animal husbandry and sustainable farming practices in addition to their regular school studies. Orphans will be able to sell farm products, such as eggs and milk and produce. Any unused land can be leased out to farmers to provide additional income for the school. Other vocational skills will be offered as well, such as tailoring and carpentry. Once the Isandula Center is completed, (anticipated completion date: 2022), it will serve over 700 orphans and 300 non-orphans, most of whom will live on campus. Tuition from non-orphans will help to offset operational costs of the school. This tuition income, combined with income received from produce sales and the leasing of land, will create a self-sustaining school.
The community is committed to contributing their labor toward construction. Still, this is OA’s most ambitious project, and will require an estimated $900,000 for completion. It is OA’s belief that the training center will positively impact the lives of thousands of orphans in the years to come, providing them with a quality education and vocational skills.
Although the MOPRO Secondary Boarding School and Voc-Tech Training Center is the least developed of OA’s projects, significant strides have been made since the acquisition of the land, including planing 1000 trees, digging a water well, erecting permanent signs, developing, submitting and receiving approval for a master plan, constructing a caretaker’s cottage, toilet facilities, three classrooms, administration building, supplying them with desks and teaching supplies, healthcare insurance and a daily food program for the nursery school students.
In the fall of 2013, OA and their Tanzanian MOPRO partners decided that the Isandula Center would become a vocational-technical school. Before government officials will allow OA to open the school for enrollment, they require an Administration Hall. Currently, this Administration Hall is under construction. The hall will include offices for teachers, headmaster, purser, a meeting area, and more. OA is also involved in providing clothing, shoes, food, and medical insurance for the orphans in its care. (See Isandula Nursery below.)
Build the infrastructure for the Voc-Tech school, including additional classrooms, library, laboratory, dormitories, toilet/shower facilities, kitchen/dining & assembly hall, headmaster’s cottage, sick bay, preschool, and sports fields. The Voc-Tech Training Center, to include specialties such as a driving school, tailoring, carpentry, masonry, baking, mechanics, and more!
All OA schools are operated according to a model of self-sustainability. Meaning, that once the school is fully constructed, operational, and registered with the government, it is capable of supporting itself. OA’s model combines tuition-paying students with fully-dependent orphan students. Tuition received from parents of non-orphan students cover the costs of teachers’ salaries, school operation, plus the room and board of the orphans. Also, by combining non-orphans with orphans, social stigmas and prejudices are reduced as opposed to being reinforced through orphan-only schools.
Nursery students learn the alphabet and how to count and to speak English — all in preparation for when they enter primary school at the age of seven. Way to go, team!
Every Monday through Friday, one hundred ten children, ages 3-7, meet at a rented facility in the town of Vwawa, where they receive instruction, plenty of love, and porridge. This school is entirely self-sustaining. Tuition from non-orphans pays for facility rental and for the care and education of the orphans who attend.
“Rather than leave the three classrooms empty on the 80 acre school campus while OA builds the infrastructure necessary for the voc-tech enrollment, the local team decided to open a second nursery school to accommodate the vast numbers of young orphans without a home or family to care for them. Many came to the Center completely destitute, wearing rags for clothes, who were hungry, and sick. Over the past few years OA has worked with the local team to help provide clothing, shoes, food, and medical care to these children. Once their basic needs have been met and their health has improved, OA works toward improving the school and nursery to provide the best education possible for these youngsters in its care.