BFoM Before Friends of Meali
When Friends of Meali first visited Losirwa the school had only 10 desks.
Located near the town of Mto wa Mbu, the Losirwa Primary School is relatively new. Founded in 2008 to shorten the commute of some of its students who were otherwise attending a school much further away, it has been adding one class per year and now covers Standards (Grades) K-VII.
The school now has a total student population of 1000, most of whom are Maasai. The Maasai people are predominantly focused on raising livestock, specifically cows. But increasingly, they are adapting their lifestyle to integrate into the rest of Tanzanian society. One Maasai characteristic still to be overcome is their unequal treatment of women. As a result, even though the government requires education for both girls and boys, in 2014 two thirds of Losirwa’s student body was boys. Today the school is closer to 50% girls and the parents say that that is because the school is better.
Losirwa was granted its school campus as a result of a development company’s demise. The company was trying to create a new tourist lodge on the main paved road between Arusha and the northern national parks, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. After constructing some of the buildings, it went out of business. As a result, Losirwa inherited its first 5 classrooms. Friends of Meali began construction of the two new classrooms and teachers’ office in July 2014, ensuring that they were ready well in advance of the school’s expansion in January 2015.
When Friends of Meali first visited Losirwa the school had only 10 desks. Most of the children were sitting on the floor. In 2013, another organization provided an additional 20 desks. And in 2014, Friends of Meali purchased 120 desks. Today the school has enough desks to seat no more than 2 children each!
Similarly, Losirwa had no textbooks. Friends of Meali has now provided books for the entire school.
The school now also provides housing for the teachers who need it. Friends of Meali has learned from its previous work that schools with on-campus housing are able to recruit more and better teachers. Not only is proximity important for improving teacher availability for their students, but teachers don’t have to pay for it – making the school a more attractive assignment. Hence, Friends of Meali have built two new teacher houses, housing six teachers and families, and renovated an existing building. All teacher housing includes water, bathroom, kitchen, and solar power.
Friends of Meali has also built a student center with dining hall, kitchen, storage, library, computers, solar power,large water cistern , fencing, done some landscaping, and built a new latrine. We have now moved on to implementing more progamic needs.
However Friends of Meali was so successful that twice as many students are now enrollied in school and we have gone on to build two more classrooms.
Stayed Tuned: The Tanzanian government has decided to cap the student population of the Losirwa School at 1000 and has asked Friends of Meali to build a new school some distance away. This would make the walk to school much shorter for some students and attract yet others The new school will be called the Lucas John Mhina school, after the Tanzanian director of the organization.