The Importance of Education

Visiting Tumaini
The students are always ready to smile and laugh at school and at home.

As we walked up to Tumaini Junior School recently, students were running around celebrating the end of examinations and the start of the Easter holiday. The Maasai Partners team was visiting our sponsored students at the school during Judy’s most recent visit to Karatu.

The six students sponsored by Maasai Partners were about to return home to spend the holiday with their families in villages within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area(NCA). After months of hard work at school, the students were excited to return to open fields and village life. But that is not to say the children don’t have work when in the village! The students, though still young, are given the responsibility to tend to the grazing of the animals and the chores of village life.

Visiting Tumaini
MP staff make regular visits with all of our sponsored students both at regular and conventional school.

To celebrate their success, we took the students for a snack at a local shop and heard about their life at school. Even though it means living far from home and their families, the students report that they love learning. Nashipai, a fourth-grade student and our oldest sponsored girl, said she particularly enjoyed social studies and reading. Denis, our oldest boy student, enjoys history and is excited to play soccer with his friends after the holiday.

In Tanzania there are many barriers for students to receive a decent education through secondary school, and for girls those barriers are intensified due to gender-based discrimination. Promoting gender equality is a core mission of Maasai Partners, and we strive to ensure girls receive equal opportunities to become active members of their communities. We currently sponsor three girls at Tumaini Junior (primary) School and hope to sponsor more in the future.

Visiting Tumaini
The students are always excited to have lunch out with Judy when she is in country.

Both girls and boys in Tanzania face difficulties in receiving quality education. Nationally, only 46 percent of students continue onto secondary education, which usually begins around age 14.*

Even though secondary education is now free in Tanzania—a commendable improvement—other costs such as books, uniforms, boarding and transportation to school can be insurmountable for students and their families.

In addition to the financial burden of school, students finishing primary school are often inadequately prepared for secondary education.

Primary school is taught in Swahili, which for Maasai students can be challenging because their first language is Maa. Maasai Partners has helped address this disadvantage by building three kindergartens within the NCA that help children grasp the basics of Swahili before they attend their respective primary schools. After primary school, Tanzanian students are expected to make an abrupt switch to a completely English-based secondary education.

Visiting Tumaini
Our students are thriving in their studies and participate in plenty of extracurricular activities, such as soccer.

Students who lack sufficient English skills, which for many is their third language, are not able to continue their education. Maasai Partners is hoping to give our sponsored students the start they need to succeed in their secondary education and beyond by helping them attend English-based primary school. We are very proud of our students achievements and are excited to see them excel.

*Education Policy Data Center, Tanzania 2014

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