The Beginning of Something Great

In the summer of 2008, in a small, remote, mountainous village in southern Tanzania on land donated by the community, village leaders built a secondary school out of bamboo and thatch for the area orphans. At first, eighty-four orphans sat in shifts, shoulder-to-shoulder upon benches hewn from logs as they listened intently to lessons taught by local volunteer teachers.

Knowing that they needed help, village leaders approached Orphans Africa and proposed construction of a more permanent school. Impressed with their initiative and passion for helping the orphans, OA agreed to undertake.

Consistent Progress

Since the Fall of 2008, in coordination with the village leaders of Bujela and a school board, OA has made great strides with the Mwaji Secondary School for orphans.  OA has built lavatories, a water well, classrooms, a girls’ and a boys’ dormitory with adjacent toilet/shower houses, an administration hall, science laboratories, teacher housing, and a teacher’s office. We’ve provided furniture, textbooks, washable feminine hygiene kits, school supplies, sports equipment and uniforms. Mwaji Secondary School was additionally gifted thirty additional acres from the community. In November 2013 Mwaji Secondary School officially became a registered school, which allowed for the collection of fees from non-orphans to help pay for the orphans to attend classes for free; these are the necessary steps to becoming a self-sustaining model. Students from this school earned the top scores in their Ward in the 2013 National Examinations. Go Mwaji! During the 2014 school year, there were two American teachers, Paige Webberley and David MacDonald, who volunteered their year to teach math and science at Mwaji.

Mwaji Secondary School was additionally gifted thirty additional acres from the community. In November 2013 Mwaji Secondary School officially became a registered school, which allows for the collection of fees from the parents of non-orphans to help pay for the orphans to attend classes for free; these are the necessary steps to becoming a self-sustaining model.

Students from this school earned the top scores in their Ward in the 2013 National Examinations. Go Mwaji! During the 2014 school year, there were two American teachers, Paige Webberley and David MacDonald, who volunteered their year to teach math and science at Mwaji.

The school also has a Pre-Form 1 class to assist students with academics who are coming from government primary schools.

Development to Help Orphan Children

Development at the Mwaji Secondary School is ongoing.

1. In 2011, OA obtained a $25,000 Tangible Love Grant (TLG) from Community of Christ to build a girls’ dormitory on behalf of our field partner, MOP. Located on the new land, construction was completed as of June, 2012.  In the Fall of 2012, OA received an additional $12,500 TLG from Community of Christ to construct a toilet/shower house for the girls, as well as a temporary kitchen where they can prepare their meals until the permanent kitchen and dining hall was completed.  June 2013, the dormitory was furnished with bunk beds, mattresses, and mosquito nets.  It is currently at full capacity, housing 48 girls and a house mother. The girls’ dormitory allows these girls to live on campus, providing them with security and a place to call home.  More dormitories are planned for the future.

2. In January, 2013, OA helped their field partner to secure a $30,000 grant from the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania.  This $30,000 began the large kitchen, dining, and assembly hall structure.  This massive structure, measuring approximately 33′ X 98.5′, will not only employ some of the area widows in food preparation services, but will enable the school to provide three meals a day to resident students, and at least one high-calorie meal per day to non-resident students.  The school will also be able to rent out the space to community members for celebrations and festivities, allowing them to make a profit and have another source of income besides school fees.

3. In March 2014, OA received a $12,500 grant from the Pendleton-Reid Foundation to build a science laboratory.  It is the “”Donna and Herb McLeod Science Room”.  Science laboratories are few and far between in Tanzania and the students are excited to have such a wonderful opportunity to learn and have a hands-on experience in subjects such as biology and chemistry.  It is an excellent addition to the educational curriculum.

4. Students perform sustainable agricultural practices, as well as  to supplement the school diet with fresh produce.  May 2014, three female students and a teacher went to Arusha, Northeast Tanzania, to take part in a two week program to learn about permaculture.  Upon their return to Mwaji, they began teaching the other girls that live in the dormitory about permaculture.  They have constructed a animal barns.  They have cleared some of the land and now grow vegetables for the students that live in the dormitory.  Sustainable farming is critical in a country where 89% of the population earns a living through farming.  

AND MORE!  The Mwaji Secondary School is a complete school including a full library, girls and boys dormitories, food service, drilled well for clean water, solar power, medical insurance for the orphans, a stationery shop and a barber shop.  Government schools don’t have libraries so this feature significantly advances educational quality for the students.

Future Goals

It is our goal to position the Mwaji Secondary School as a leader in educational excellence, teaching students through traditional methods as well as through practical application, hands-on experience, and field study. National examination results for 2021 placed Mwaji Secondary #6 out of 42 schools in the district. 

Mwaji Secondary is poised to raise a generation of leaders who can help their country rise out of its crushing poverty.

Mwaji Classrooms

Mwaji Library

Mwaji Library Checkout

Mwaji Campus

Science Laboratory

Self-Sustainability

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. Agricultural products on the school grounds adds food resources to the school and/or sales to the community

MEDIA / MORE INFORMATION

Click here for a video about an orphan named Rosie and the Mwaji Secondary School.

Click here for a video about Pablo and Monica from Sao Paulo, Brazil; Pablo and Monica volunteered at the Mwaji Secondary School.

Click here to read “Joefrey’s Story.” Joefrey is an orphan who had no hope for a future . . . that is, until he learned about the Mwaji Secondary School.

Click here to view a school site plan developed and drawn for free by the government. The map details the location of all future structures and includes click-able links to all buildings under construction.

Click here to see the same site plan with satellite map.

ABOUT US

Orphans Africa (OA) is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt charitable organization that began in 2007 with the coming together of three ordinary people whose desire was to build peace between nations by providing assistance to those who are most vulnerable.

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