The Heaven Pre & Primary School in Kiserian, Tanzania, is a private English-medium school that is now serving more than 200 children in nursery through Standard 7 (~ages 3 to 14) in 10 classrooms. Founded by Sister Crispina Mnate, Heaven, which is located on the same ~5 acre campus as The St. Joseph's Orphanage, first opened to provide a quality education for the youngest of the 55 orphans for whom Sister is the legal guardian. Today, 25 of the students are from St. Joseph's and the rest come families living in surrounding villages.
Since Unite began working with Sister Crispina Mnate in 2014, we have renovated the pre-primary building; constructed toilets blocks for both the boys and girls; installed hand washing stations; built a block of seven new primary classrooms as well as an administration building (which includes now a fully stocked school library, teacher offices, a conference room and indoor toilets); installed a playground, basketball sport court and playing fields; installed comprehensive rain water harvesting systems on all the buildings; and more. In May 2017 we brought TANESCO power to the school and in November 2017 we completed the building of a 10-foot wall to secure and protect the ~5 acre campus.
Heaven has consistently been cited as a model school by Tanzanian authorities, and in 2017 Heaven's first class of Standard 4 sat for the Tanzanian National Exam. The students scored so well that Heaven ranked in the top 11% of all schools in the country. We are excited about these results and committed to further improving outcomes over time.
Other current and future projects include:
- Building a computer lab and purchasing technology to support the quality of teaching in the classrooms;
- Building a new free-standing pre-school to accommodate more students and create an age-appropriate space in which the youngest pupils can thrive (see plans for the new preschool HERE); and
- Working with the administration to provide the support of expert consultants, professional development for the staff, and advanced programs for the students (computer training, music education, professional sports coaching, art, etc.)
A high quality, English-speaking education in Tanzania is difficult to find and cost prohibitive for the vast majority of children. In fact, less than 2% of the country’s youth will ever attend upper secondary school, and 1 in 5 girls has no education at all. Studies show that students who receive private primary educations are far more likely to attend quality secondary schools and then go on to college or University. As one community leader said, “These children are orphans. No one is looking out for them… Education is all they have.”
Not only is Heaven providing a safe, quality education for hundreds of children in need, it is also creating teaching and support jobs for surrounding community members and ultimately, through school fees, an income stream that will empower the school (and the orphanage) to become self-sufficient with operations.