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.
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.
We currently have 626 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 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.
Looking further ahead, plans are now in development for a school for boys in Dodoma, Tanzania. 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.
With the gift of land from the authorities in Tanzania we hope to start fundraising for this brand new education project this year and to start construction of a new school in 2023.