We are pleased to announce our first primary school is under construction in the Karatu area of Tanzania! This project is made possible under The Safari Partners’ one percent for Africa pledge, a commitment to set aside one percent of all sales for social responsibility projects in Africa.
We chose the name Simba Milima Primary School for our first school building project. ‘Simba Milima’ translates to ‘Mountain Lion’ in Swahili. In choosing a name for the school our desire was to inspire and foster a relationship between the children of North America and those of East Africa. Using iconic animals which are predominantly North American in origin, but can be translated into Swahili easily, achieves this goal. We are also excited about using imagery children can easily relate to. We hope that Simba Milima will be the first of a series of schools named after iconic North American animals that will help educate the children of Africa for a better future.
We have partnered with the Primary Schools for Africa Society, based here in British Columbia, and headed by retired architect Alan Roy. Alan has a great track record of getting schools built in Tanzania, and more importantly, engaging the local community to partner in ensuring the schools are well look after, utilized and expanded over time.
The school is located in the Dofa Village area, about 5km south of the Bashay/Highway junction, west of the town of Karatu. The site is perfect for a school. It is flat with panoramic views of surrounding hills, and located centrally to the homes of pupils needing a school in the surrounding village area. The only downside at the moment is a stream gully that becomes muddy and is becomes difficult to cross during rains. The local council promised to solve the problem by constructing a roadway and culvert across the gully.
The construction is efficiently proceeding on an accelerated schedule to complete the project ahead of the heavy rains in April. Mr Sanka, our local builder, is confident that pupils will be sitting in class in April.
The locals are also very excited about this school. A meeting with the District Education Officer Martin Goi and Village Education Officer Mr Joachim Lazaro discussed mutual post construction responsibilities. It appears that the village council is also anxious to contribute, albeit with their limited resources. Along the road on the way back from the site, a group of villagers were spotted meeting under a tree where discussions were already underway for the building of toilets and the location of teacher accommodation. It’s amazing how these meetings are organized; no buildings or email are available, but there are lots of shady trees and everyone has a cell phone!
We will begin with a two room configuration and administration building with the goal of expanding to include teachers’ accommodation in the next year. Currently the teachers must make a long trek back and forth to the school, and ideally we will relocate their families to the school site. This will allow for more accessibility to educating the young of Dofa village.
Beginning in June for clients travelling with us on the road between Manyara and Ngorongoro, we will provide the opportunity to visit the school site and meet the local pupils and teachers.
Below are a few pictures from the building project. We will continue to post more as the project progresses. Thanks again to our clients for helping to make this happen!
The building site progresses.
Locals discussing the next priorities for the school and meeting with the Education officers.