Working for a Good Education

November 21, 2014 4:04 pm Published by

Guest Blogger Lauren Lesch shares how JBFC’s work study students work hard for a good education.

JBFC runs the Joseph and Mary Primary and Secondary School on campus. Close to 300 students are enrolled including our 44 JBFC girls and other children that live in the area. It is a private school so there are school fees associated with attendance which can be paid with cash or surprisingly through bartering…say one family that raises cattle for a living can trade a cow for a daughter’s education or say another family are rice farmers, they can provide “X” amount of bags of rice for our school lunches for one of their son’s to attend school.

We also have scholarship programs for star students in the area that simply cannot afford it. These girls and boys vary in age and grade and have agreed to working after school to help beautify the campus in various capacities in order to contribute in some way to their school fees while donors and special friends of JBFC in the US cover the rest. Some days they pick up trash, tend to the gardens, plant seeds, water crops, etc.

Afterwards they walk home and some are then responsible for watching over their siblings, making dinner, and then doing homework. It’s a long day for these students but a good education is worth it all. An extra benefit is that when guests are on campus this group of students works with them after school which allows relationships to form and gives them an opportunity to practice their English.

All visitors of JBFC participate in a village walk that includes a tour of the public school that is within walking distance from the Joseph and Mary School. The differences between the two are vast. There can be an upwards of 300 students per class, per teacher. The classrooms are not tiled so some rooms have massive holes in the ground, chalkboards are unusable because they’ve been written on and erased so many times, there are not nearly enough desks so 3 students share 1, and breakfast or lunch is not served so students walk home (sometimes miles) for something to eat, which they may or may not get, and then walk back. Sometimes its just too much work to return, so they miss the rest of the school day entirely.

I am so impressed with how the Joseph and Mary school recognizes these challenges in the area and tries to create a school environment that combated them. Most of our star scholarship students walk past the government school everyday on their way to Joseph and Mary and as 6th grader Peter says “at JBFC we have more choices and better opportunities to study English and travel outside of Tanzania.” He hopes to one day be a doctor, another young man hopes to be a football (soccer) coach and another an engineer.

These students have such big dreams and at JBFC we want to do all we can to make sure each one of them succeeds.

Lauren Lesch is from Dallas, TX, she worked in Tanzania for six months.

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This post was written by Mainsprings