Family working on a farm barefoot

Poverty in Tanzania is severe and particularly impacts children, who suffer from chronic malnutrition which affects their physical and mental development.

Education is key to escaping poverty but access is difficult and over 40% of children in Tanzania are out of secondary education and the majority of these are girls.

In late 2017, the Sisters of Mary accepted the invitation of the authorities in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to begin a new education programme in the country to tackle poverty issues amongst the young, particularly girls.

With the gift of land in Pwani Region, Makarunge, Kisarawe, west of  Dar es Salaam, we opened our first live-in school in the country in 2019 with 150 girls.

Since the completion of the phase 1 building there has been significant demand for the extension of this programme to accommodate more deprived girls.

With our donors’ support this school has had the addition of two extra buildings in 2020 and 2021 and the expansion is now complete, with even further growth in numbers currently underway.

The school will eventually accommodate 900 of the most impoverished girls in the region and offer full time care, nutrition and a vital secondary education leading to employment.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused even greater levels of poverty for children and particularly girls in this region – the school places are many times oversubscribed and so the programmes play a crucial role in providing humanitarian support for the area.

Women sitting with their children in school uniforms

Plans for the future

To address the desperate situation of young unemployed and unskilled women out of school, we also have exciting plans for a new dual purpose training and day-care centre which will open in 2022. While the young women receive accredited vocational training in sewing, electronics and commercial cookery, their young children will be looked after at a Kindergarten attached to the training centre. The mothers will learn skills which will help them find work and feed their families and their young children will receive full time care, nourishment and the vital chance for early learning and stimulation.

Further ahead, the authorities continue to urge the Sisters to establish a school for boys in the country. With land offered to the Sisters in the capital city, Dodoma, plans are being developed for the construction of a new school which we hope will open in 2023. The school will offer secondary academic education and vocational training for the country’s desperately deprived young boys to help them into employment.

Tanzania Programmes Video

Opened in 2018, our Tanzanian programmes support girls in Kisarawe Girls School, the Kiluvya Training Centre and Day Care. In this video, you can see the day-to-day life at the programmes, see the girls flourishing and learning and how much the education they receive impacts them.