Supporting the community in multiple ways
By: Stacey Addison
One of our focal projects in Jambiani is the ‘Nursery School Feeding Program’ and alongside African Impact we work hard to help assist this project. All of the nursery schools in the area are community funded which means that the teachers do not get any salary for their hard work teaching the energetic pupils of the Sirajatil, Ibrahim and Kikadeni schools. The teachers therefore have to have other jobs to produce an income for their families. Our intern in Zanzibar writes about the struggles for those teachers like Teacher Maryam and the way in which THAF helps alongside African Impact.
Having worked at Sirajatil Nursery School for 15 years as a voluntary teacher, Maryam has worked with many volunteers over the years, but it is not always easy to understand what life is like for her after school is finished.
Teacher Maryam lives in Jambiani with her husband and three children: two sons and a daughter. Her husband works as a security guard at the Jambiani Hospital during the week, while she not only works at the nursery school but also has a seaweed farm and makes snacks to sell to the children each day including popcorn and small biscuits.
Her day starts at 5am where she has many things to do before going to Nursery School. Firstly she prays before cleaning the house, making chai tea and cooking breakfast, which can include chapati, mandazi and cassava. After all of those jobs are done she heads to the nursery school for 8am where she starts teaching and looking after her class at Sirajatil until noon. It’s then time to head home and start cooking the snacks that she sells to the children, which takes around two hours. Looking after her own children, checking on her seaweed farm and cooking dinner has to be done before she is able to go to bed at 9pm.
After leaving high school, Maryam studied a two year teaching diploma in Stone Town, but even as a qualified teacher there is very little money left to give the teachers any salary from the school fees that the children pay. Only around 50% of the children’s parents can afford to pay the monthly school fee of 1000TZS ($0.61) and not only do the parents want their children to get a good start in their education but if they go to nursery school they will be guaranteed a hot meal, with some children not eating since 6pm the night before.
The last way in which the teachers make an income is by holding a ‘local meal’ at their house, which the volunteers attend each week. The volunteers rotate between different houses each week, allowing each nursery school to benefit from the money that is paid by each volunteer. The teachers work together to make different local dishes of samosa, rice, spinach, mandazi, chicken, octopus, curried vegetables and chai.
We are now working on a very exciting new project for the Nursery School Feeding Program which will not only help the teachers in their daily struggles at school but will also make this program extremely sustainable and will allow volunteers to be involved in this project from the very roots of this initiative to the teaching of the pupils.