Nuns with a microphone at a lectern

A new Boys' School for Tanzania

On 21st September we were delighted to celebrate the inauguration of a new school for boys in Dodoma, Tanzania.

The purpose-built secondary school provides free secondary education and vocational training, safe shelter, food and care for boys from the poorest families from all over Tanzania.

This new boys’ school will be the 13th school for the Sisters of Mary and their second school in East Africa following the success of their programme for girls in Kisarawe, near Dar es Salaam. Since the successful establishment of Kisarawe Girls’ School in 2019, the Sisters of Mary, led by Superior General, Sr. Elena Belarmino, have witnessed overwhelming demand from impoverished boys from throughout the country, eager to secure a place in the educational programmes. This new school represents many months of dedicated, collaborative work by the Sisters with the Diocese, the Ministry of Education, the Dodoma district commissioner and the generous donations of our friends and supporters who have provided the funding for the build, services, care and education needed for the boys.

A group of nuns, priests and World Villages staff members next to a plaque

Government support

The inauguration on 21st September 2023 was attended by team members from World Villages for Children, the friends and supporters of the Sisters of Mary projects, the Archbishop of Dodoma, Archbishop Beatus Kinyaiya, Dodoma District Commissioner and the Tanzania Minister for Education, Hon Prof Adolf Mkenda who represented His Excellency Hon Philip Mpango, Vice President of Tanzania.

Professor Mkenda assured the Sisters of his government’s support and expressed his sincere thanks to our friends and donors and to the Sisters “for the services you are giving to Tanzanians, regardless of their religion. The services that are going to be offered here, that are offered here now, and the services in Kisarawe, are unique in offering an education that would have been impossible for kids like these to enjoy. I can only say Asante sana, thank you very much.”

Four boys in white shirts smiling for the camera

Lack of access to education

The poorest children in the region face stark challenges in accessing secondary education either because it is not near or they cannot afford uniform, travel to school or the necessary books. 70% of children aged 14-17 years old in Tanzania are not enrolled in secondary school[1].

The new Dodoma Boys’ School will provide young boys aged 11-17 years old with access to a free, quality academic and vocational education, live in care, three nutritious meals a day, safe shelter and a happy childhood.

In her speech to thank those involved and welcome the new boys, Sister Elena, Superior General of the Sisters of Mary said, “We are grateful that we are already taking care of 110 boys, who are happy, freed from worries and fear of not being able to eat during the day, of not having water and electricity, of violence and uncertainties. They can enjoy being children. And they have hope. They can study, work, play and pray with joy.”

[1] UNICEF, Education in Tanzania Overview

A closeup of a boy in a white shirt looking at the camera

Providing vocational education

The new school in Dodoma represents a significant step forward in bridging the academic and vocational education gap for impoverished boys in the country.

It mirrors the progressive approach adopted for the country’s girls at their Kisarawe school in providing quality accredited academic education and practical training relevant to local industries to upskill the children for good local employment so that they can become independent and help their families.

In its first phase, Dodoma Boystown will accommodate 160 boys in buildings housing dormitories, classrooms, and workshops. As funding permits, the subsequent phases will unfold over three years, with a target to host 900 to 1,000 boys upon completion.

Nicola Lawson, UK Manager and Trustee of World Villages for Children, expressed her keen support for this new programme, stating, “We really believe that education is the most powerful tool to break the cycle of poverty, and with this new boys’ secondary school, we are extending our provision in Tanzania and providing the boys from the poorest backgrounds with the opportunity to transform their lives, live independently, and contribute positively to their families and society.”