Teacher helping a child in nursery in Tanzania with a drawing of a face

About Kiswahili

Did you know that Kiswahili (also known as Swahili) is the only African language within the Directorate of the Global Communications at the United Nations?

Kiswahili is spoken along much of the eastern coast of Africa and is the official language of Tanzania. It is spoken by over 200 million people and is the main language of the East African Union. Many people outside of Tanzania and Kenya speak Kiswahili and it is important for trade and connection between African countries, as well as promoting cultural diversity.

When our children come to school in Tanzania, some of them speak dialects of Kiswahili, or other languages and so learning Kiswahili at school is an important part of their education, opening up far more opportunities for them when they finish school.

Teacher standing in front of class of girls teaching

Why Kiswahili is important to our children

We asked our girls at Kisarawe Girls’ School in Tanzania to help us learn more about Kiswahili, teach us some new words and tell us why Kiswahili is important to them.

We were delighted when they produced a video and sent it to us, teaching us common phrases and telling us what words and phrases inspire them.

The teachers at the Sisters of Mary Kisarawe Girls’ School and Kiluvya Nursery help every child become proficient in reading, writing, and communicating well in Kiswahili and English, giving them valuable tools to excel in school and in the world of work.

The Sisters who come from other countries all learn Kiswahili when they arrive in Tanzania, ensuring that they can give the best care and support for the children in their own language while they learn English.

We hope you enjoy learning Kiswahili with our children!

Graphic with people's hands filling with water and words that say Kidogo kidogo hujaza kibaba which means little by little, we will fill the cup for World Kiswahili Day

Little by little

One of our favourite phrases in Kiswahili is “Kidogo kidogo hujaza kibaba”, which translates to “little by little, we will fill the cup”.

There is a real sense of togetherness in our work with the children and Sisters.

The equal access to education that every child receives and their enthusiastic participation means that they have power over their own future. The learning they receive gives them the tools they need to fully participate in society.

Thank you for being a part of this journey, every gift, no matter what size, makes a lasting impact on our children’s lives and the lives of their families and communities.

Together, little by little, we can work towards ending poverty.

Learn Kiswahili with our children in Tanzania