Back in 2006, Ian Horne, a teacher from the UK, decided that he wanted to do something that would help to reduce poverty in the rural area of Maruvango. He talked with village leaders and unanimously they agreed that the best way to do this would be to build a school. His brother in law kindly donated a plot of land and also loaned to Ian the use of a cowshed and a house.
The house was where Ian would live whilst working on the land. It also became the first staff room. The cowshed was eventually to become the first classroom. The next big question was where the funds would come from to convert this dream into a reality. Ian reached out to friends and relatives back in the UK, and eventually, by 2008 sufficient funds had been raised to begin the conversion of the cowshed.
Conversion of the cowshed began and by 2010 we had our very first classroom (on the right of this block). The home on loan was also converted into a staff room, the school office and living quarters for Ian and other volunteers. Plans were also being made for the construction of a Dining Hall and kitchen.
In order to meet the needs of the whole child we knew that it was very important to provide a good, healthy meal each day, for the children and the staff, and so our first construction project consisted of a Dining Hall and kitchen. This open sided building was completed in 2011 and remains the focal point of most whole school activities. In the meantime the cowshed was restored, painted and made ready for the first class of children. Children were recruited carefully from the most disadvantaged families in the village - one child per family.
2012 was definitely a momentous year! At last we were ready for our very first class of 25 children in the converted cowshed. Uniforms were made by a local tailor, shoes were also sourced locally and the desks and tables were all hand made by a local carpenter. With huge thanks to our supporters, all of the children had a sponsor and we had a great supply of teaching and learning resources.
Of course, every school needs toilets and our toilet block was one of the first of many environmental initiatives that we are very proud of. These are self composting toilets which don't require water and they leave no smell!
In 2013 the first purpose built classroom was completed, more desks and chairs were made, more uniforms and shoes were purchased and twenty new children were recruited. We had a total of 45 children on roll.
2014 was a big year for building, with the completion of not one, but two classrooms - one for our new Standard 2 class, and one for our new Prep class (to replace the cowshed!). This year was our first indication that we were really doing ok, as our Standard 2 was ranked Top in the Ward! By this time we had 3 classes and 67 children on roll.
2015 was another very big year for building. An extension to the kitchen was added which was to house a chicken shed and a shoe making workshop, and we were very excited to be able to employ one of our parents to make all of our children's shoes. Another classroom was built and foundations were laid for an Administration block to replace the staffroom in the home which had been on loan. By now the school had 89 children on roll - from Prep to Standard 3.
By 2016 we really were beginning to look like a school, with the addition of a new Administration Building, complete with solar panels on the roof, and of course another classroom. Most of the classrooms also had water tanks attached to the guttering in order to harvest the rainwater - a very precious commodity in this part of Tanzania. Another 32 children were selected bringing the total on roll to 117.
Apart from another new classroom, an important addition to the Dining Hall was the hand washing facility, complete with running water (a first for the school!). Another open sided building was also added for kitchen chores. We erected our flag pole and our first group of children sat for their Standard 4 exams. They all passed! Another 26 children were recruited bringing the total to 133.
In 2018 we decided to convert our chicken house into a new sewing workshop and we were very excited to be able to employ another of our parents as our seamstress. For the first time, we were now able to have ALL of our uniforms and shoes made on site! We also completed our Standard 6 classroom and recruited another 30 children.
2019 was a super exciting year for us! This was the year that our very first class, which we recruited back in 2011, were to graduate! ALL of them passed their Primary Leaving Examinations enabling them to move on to Secondary education. This year also saw the completion of the building programme - with 8 classrooms, an Administration building, plus additional ancillary buildings and a new toilet block. Our school was complete with 193 children on roll and additionally, we were able to acquire a piece of land for a new playing field!
In 2020 with the completion of the essential building programme we were able to focus on preparing the school playing field - a much needed facility given that the school buildings now occupied the majority of the orginal site. At the beginning of the year our first class of students began their secondary education at the nearby Maruvango Secondary School and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, our second Standard 7 class all passed their Primary Leaving Examinations.
2022 was another milestone year with the completion of our first truly community building. This is our new Library, which provides books for the children to read, and very importantly, resources and computers - not only for children in the school but for children who are now attending secondary schools with more limited facilities. This allows us to continue to support our children throughout the duration of their education.