Children's Story

Helena’s Story

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A Sister and Helena standing outside a basic shack

In 2019, our first school in East Africa opened and we welcomed 150 young girls.

The Sisters of Mary school for girls in Tanzania is located in Makurunge, Kisarawe, 31 km west of Dar es Salaam and was set up with the gift of land from the local authorities and funded by our friends and supporters.

Teaching for girls and in particular vocational training is a desperate need in the region and the Sisters were able to respond to the requests of the Tanzanian authorities and start construction of their education programme in 2018. The first building opened in May 2019 to accept 150 girls for live-in accommodation and education.

For the first time, the poorest young girls from throughout the country have access to good, regular meals and nutrition, a safe place to sleep, healthcare and a quality education which will help them to find work.

Students in class being instructed by a teacher while wearing masks

The girls have access to a quality education and the chance of a brighter future

As in all the SoM country programmes the school studies are overseen and accredited by the Ministry of Education. The girls follow a full curriculum of subjects including English, Kiswahili, geography, history, biology, chemistry, physics, civics, agriculture and PE.

They receive vocational training in skills which will ready them for jobs in local industries including dressmaking, bookkeeping, computing, electronics and solar panel installation and they enjoy the comforts of a proper childhood, making friends, playing sports, having fun and discovering new interests and hobbies.

The girls are thriving at school. For the first time they are hopeful for a better future. They are grateful for their chance and hardworking students. In time they can use their new skills to get work and become independent, self-sufficient and empowered young women.

Group of girls in a classroom smiling at the camera

In 2020 and in December 2021 two more school buildings were added to increase capacity.

We currently have 779 girls at the school and with funding we plan to welcome a further 150 girls per year until we reach an annual capacity of 900.

In December 2021 with the support of our friends and donors a new dual purpose training and day-care centre was also constructed and opened in February 2022. This facility is focused on vocational support for young out of school women with small children, who are unable to access training to help them into work.

The new centre provides nursery care and early learning for over 100 young children whilst their mothers have training in sewing/tailoring, electronics and business skills. The courses, which are certificated, will teach the skills they need to find employment locally or to set up their own enterprise to earn enough to support themselves and their families.

Two Tanzanian Boys
Tanzania - 2021 - Two Boys

Looking ahead

In 2023 we also opened a school for boys in Dodoma, Tanzania thanks to a gift of land from the Tanzanian government. This request from the Tanzanian government is in response to the needs of the local communities for education for these vulnerable children particularly from regions including Arusha and Zanzibar. The boys in these communities have little access to education and without support they face a bleak future of extreme poverty for themselves and generations of their families.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE PROGRAMMES IN KISARAWE, TANZANIA

779

Students at school in 2023

142

Graduates in 2022

192

Girls were welcomed into school in Kisarawe in 2023