20 Additional Restrooms Constructed!

An additional 20 restrooms have been constructed for the 1,060 students attending Olasiti Secondary School. With this addition, the school now has 30 restrooms and a student-to-restroom ratio of 35:1 (meeting even K-12 school standards in the United States). Up next, we’re building several more classrooms to help improve student to teacher ratios and decrease class sizes!

Restroom 1

Restroom 2

Restroom 3

Major Expansion Underway at Olasiti Secondary School

Classroom Under Construction

Hello everyone, we have some great updates to share!  Olasiti Secondary School is expanding to meet the needs of students who are attending the village’s first secondary school.  The school currently serves 1,060 students and has 17 classrooms and 10 restrooms.  Given the number of students, we completed construction on an additional classroom and partnered with the local government to construct an additional four classrooms, bringing the new total to 22 classrooms.

Classroom with Plaster

We are now in the beginning stages of constructing an additional 20 restrooms.  Upon completion, the school will have 30 restrooms, which means the student-to-restroom ratio will be 35:1 (meeting even K-12 school standards in the United States).  After we address the immediate for more restrooms, we will be constructing three additional classrooms to bring the total number of classrooms to 25.  These added classrooms will improve the student-to-teacher ratio to 42:1.  We are thrilled about this major expansion as we know it will make a tremendous impact on the lives of these and future students in Olasiti.

New Classroom Exterior

If you build it… They will be thankful

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A few years ago, Olasiti village in northern Tanzania did not have a secondary school. At that time, the students were so eager to attend school that they would hitch rides on the back of supply trucks on the way to a neighboring village with a secondary school. These rides were never free, as students risked injury while riding along bumpy roads next to machinery and lumber. Some female students were subjected to having relations with drivers to pay for the rides, and some of these girls would later become pregnant and drop out of school entirely. Today, a child who grows up in Olasiti village can believe graduating from secondary school is achievable.

Olasiti Secondary School currently serves over 1,000 students in forms 1 through 4 for students aged 14-17. We are proud to share that Olasiti Secondary School ranked 4th out of 25 district schools this year in mock examinations. We are the newest school with the most to prove, and these results are made by the hard work of the students, school administration, and school board.

The school currently has 17 classrooms and 10 bathrooms. To support the growing needs of the school and decrease the student-to-teacher and bathroom ratios, three additional classrooms and 10 additional bathrooms are needed. We are prioritizing all funds at this time to go toward this need.

We are grateful for your past support to allow us to build this incredible school. We ask that you consider helping these students once again through a tax-deductible donation, of which 95%+ of every dollar will go directly to the cause.

We encourage you to consider writing a check or donating online to support education in Olasiti village by providing classrooms and bathrooms for this village’s first secondary school. Asante sana rafiki (thank you very much my friend) for your support!

A Thank You to One of Our Own!

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With Memorial Day fresh on our minds in the US, our thoughts have been with the deployment of Ric Rivera. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ric for all that he’s done for AIA, and wish him a safe deployment!

Ric began as our Treasurer in 2010, and is currently deployed with the US Navy in Djibouti Africa. We asked him to give us a snippet of what life in his role as a logistical coordinator is like. Here’s what he sent us:

“On a typical day, I wake up around 0600 get ready for the day. I have breakfast a little before 0700. My walk to the chow hall is about 5 minutes, which is good considering that temperatures here have been between mid 80’s to mid 90’s. I’m told during the summer months I should expect to be sweating earlier in the mornings. I enter the chow hall and wait in line to wash my hands. Everyone is required to wash their hands to get chow. The food is, in my opinion, really good. There’s a huge variety. And this being the main source for meals, there’s enough for everyone. I get to my office well before 0800, to get ready to muster and brief my department. Our work is integral to ensuring the continued operations of the numerous projects on base. My departments breaks for lunch and physical training (PT). When we return we conduct military training to keep our skills and knowledge up to date. After work, I exercise for a couple of hours. On some days, I stand a “watch” that requires me to patrol the base keeping the grounds secure. I always try to fit in time to talk to my family. Because of the huge time difference I wait for later in the evening to FaceTime with the family. Always, makes my day after talking to the family.”

Ric Rivera

Ric and his wife are expecting a new baby girl in September of this year, and Ric looks forward to being back home for her birth. We wholeheartedly thank Ric for all he has done for our organization, and wish him and his wife the very best in the weeks and months ahead as they welcome their new baby girl into the world!

Progress Update, New Classroom Nearly Complete!

Hi everyone,

The rainy season is in full swing in Tanzania. Despite all of the rain, we’re excited to share that our latest classroom under construction for Olasiti Secondary School is nearing completion. Within just a few short weeks, we’ll be starting construction on another classroom! These classrooms are critical as they create additional space for the 1,037 students now attending the school. This classroom pictured below is the first of a double classroom construction project.

The worker below is rinsing the classroom floor with water so that he can continue to smooth the cement before it completely hardens.

You will also see what appears to be a blackboard on the wall. The blackboard is actually part of the wall. It’s a thick layer of cement that is eventually painted with several coats of black paint. When you write on it with chalk, you can’t tell it’s any different than a normal blackboard.

Stay tuned for our next post, which will be about one of our team members (Ric Rivera) who previously served as our Treasurer. He is taking a leave of absence from his volunteer work with us as he is currently deployed oversees serving with the U.S. Navy. We’ll bring you his story shortly!

Progress Update, New Classroom Construction!

Hi everyone,

In our most recent progress report from our field team, we received some great photos of the progress of our current classroom construction! The first photo is a few weeks ago, while the second is this past week. As you can see they’re making huge advancements in the structure. After the walls are fully complete, the construction team will put on a roof, plaster the walls, paint the walls, and finally add in the windows and doors. This classroom is the first of a double classroom construction project. The second will follow shortly!

Thank you to all of our supporters and contributors. Your support is helping students build an education and a life!

The Progress We’ve Seen in 2014

Dear Friend,

“After working with Achieve in Africa for almost two years, I travelled to Tanzania for the first time to visit the primary and secondary schools in Olasiti village that have been supported by your generous donations. I funded the trip personally (Achieve in Africa does not spend donations on travel). As you walk from classroom to classroom, it becomes instantly clear that the students are engaged and excited to learn. They participate actively, take copious notes, and attack the material with an amazing voracity that leaves you looking around for where they are all hiding their coffee. In short, they get it. They understand that education is the key to their futures. If we can help give students the infrastructure they need to learn, they will take care of the rest.”  – Warren Wuerthner, Achieve in Africa Board Member & Committee Chair

Due to extreme poverty in the village and limited funds available from Government resources, Olasiti village has never had a secondary school (equivalent of middle school and high school in the U.S.), leaving its students who graduate from primary school with no other options. Building Olasiti Secondary School has been our primary focus, and it currently serves over 800 students in three grades. In January 2015, another 150 students will arrive excited for an opportunity to learn. We are constructing new classrooms and desks to make room for these new students. In 2016 and 2017, 150 more students are expected each year, requiring additional classrooms, desks, and bathrooms. Upon completion, Olasiti Secondary School will offer grades 7-12 and serve approximately 1,250 students each year. 

We are excited to announce that, through the end of this year, the James B. Kisgen Family Foundation will be matching donations up to $6,000! Your donation will be matched dollar per dollar until we reach that amount.

We are grateful for your past support, and ask that you consider helping these students once again through a tax-deductible donation, of which 95% of every dollar will go directly to the cause. Through this matching campaign, the impact of your generosity will be doubled.

We encourage you to consider writing a check or donating online at www.AchieveinAfrica.org to support education in Olasiti village by providing classrooms, desks, and bathrooms for this village’s first secondary school. Asante sana rafiki (thank you very much my friend) for your support!

Sincerely,

Brendan and Alyssa Callahan, Co-Founders
bcallahan@achieveinafrica.org / asnow@achieveinafrica.org

Achieve in Africa is Awarded The Top-Rated NonProfit Award from Great NonProfits For the Second Year Running!

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We are excited to announce that Achieve in Africa has been awarded the Top-Rated NonProfit Award for 2014 from Great NonProfits, our second year in a row receiving this award! Under 1% of NonProfits nationwide have received this award, which is given to organizations that receive top ratings from people that have direct experience with the charity.

If you too have an experience with our organization you would like to share, please consider reviewing us here: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/achieve-in-africa.

A HUGE thank you to all our supporters!

Tanzania – Updates & Lots of Photos!

After a busy three weeks in one of Africa’s most interesting countries, we are back in the states. It was an educational, exciting, and adventure-filled time in Tanzania. We’ve got a ton of updates to provide, direct from the field!

Below is a photo of the grounds at the secondary school – everything looks quite small from such a distance, but you can use the large land-rover on the left for scale!

You can see that the classrooms have seen some major progress since our last post.

                   

We were both amazed to see how engaged the kids were. Even with us interrupting class sessions…

 

 

The lunch program and garden (FULLY funded by the students and their families) are well underway! In these photos the children are enjoying a mixture of local beans and corn, prepared at the school.

 Takes a bit of teamwork to deliver lunch to every classroom!

                 

When they’re not studying, the students love playing ball!

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And showing off what they’re learning in English class.

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Thank you for supporting education in Africa!!!

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2 More Classrooms Completed & Board Members to Tanzania!

Well folks, the walls are up and the paint is dry. Local workers have finished painting and construction on the two additional classrooms funded by Achieve in Africa! The latest pictures are posted below and show the brightly colored classrooms and a storage room built in the extra space between buildings. This brings the total to 11 brand new classrooms housing over 800 students. We will continue to construct additional classrooms to reduce the class size for the current grade levels as well as to prepare for the next grade level of students expected to arrive in January. The expansion of the school would not be possible without your continued support. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you!

We are also excited to announce a field visit planned in May for two of our board members: Shari Davis and Warren Wuerthner. Shari and Warren will be visiting Olasiti village to take a look at the classrooms, check-in with teachers, meet some students, and collaborate with the local Project Director on future plans for continued construction and support. Shari and Warren are excited for their trip and especially to share their experiences with you!

Shari and Warren are excited about their upcoming trip to Tanzania!