Development at the Mwaji Secondary School is ongoing. Here is a snapshot of OA’s current development projects:
1. In 2011, OA obtained a $25,000 Tangible Love Grant (TLG) from Community of Christ to build a girls’ dormitory. 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 such time as the permanent kitchen and dining hall is completed. June 2013, the dormitory was furnished with bunk beds, mattresses, and mosquito nets. It is currently at full capacity, housing 32 girls and a house mother. The 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, including for the boys.
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 is already at work, beginning the foundation of the large kitchen, dining, and assembly hall structure, which will cost an estimated $56,000 before its anticipated completion date is summer of 2016. Once finished, this massive structure, measuring approximately 33′ X 98.5′, will not only employ many of the area widows in food preparation services, but will enable OA 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 will be called the “”Donna and Herb McLeod Science Room” and its estimated completion date is spring 2016. 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. OA is still in the process of securing donations to furnish the laboratory upon its opening.
4. Because of the additional land grant by the Bujela community, it is now possible to include agriculture as part of the curriculum. Ideally, students will learn sustainable agricultural practices, as well as be able 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 pig pen and purchased pigs as well as have built a goat house. They have cleared some of the land and now grow vegetables for the girls that live in the dormitory. Sustainable farming is critical in a country where 89% of the population earns their living through farming. Students will learn about erosion, soil health, maximizing yields, and more.