The past few years have been challenging, The government of TZ has arbitrary fees; levy’s, taxes, licenses, registrations, penalties and more, They treat schools as a business. These fees are on a village, district, regional and national level across multiple ministries.
We have learned that building a school is so much easier than sustaining a school.
Trying to keep up with the expenses to finish the school year has been quite taxing. Meeting the cost of employee contracts, the meals for the children and supplying all the school supplies on top of all the government fees has left us drained. There are only so many hours in a day and just so many events that we could fundraise… it hasn’t met the growing cost of running a school in Tanzania.
Unfortunately, we had to incurred some debt in an effort to finish this school year.
To be honest, I was hesitant to begin the school year in 2022 due to a of lack funding, but we were promised the school would be sustainable with school fees…that didn’t happen.
Growth in expenses doesn’t always equal growth in our revenue.
Its difficult to give employee contracts without having the funding secured.
The government of Tanzania requires all employees to have a legal work contract with all the bells and whistles. Of the 68 students at Fr. Christmas Academy, only three pay school fees, leaving us to sponsor the remaining 65…with 10 sponsorships. We have been stretching our sponsorships across the entire school.
In 2023, we face the same problem, only bigger.
Every year we add another grade (oldest students are going into grade four and new pre school class joins FCA) it increases the cost of running the school. Adding a new teacher, more books, more meals etc.
We have hit the realization that without major funding this is not sustainable long term. As I project five years into the future, I realize change is necessary now.
At this juncture the Tanzania government also requires additional classrooms, a “safe” room (for exams), more toilets and next year a science lab.
After much decerning and discussion, we have come to the sad realization that we cannot continue without major financial support.
So what’s next?
I along with our team in Tanzania are in dialogue with other organizations looking for a partner to run the school. We can no longer be responsible for the $150,000+ a year operating cost to run a primary school. Options include another NGO, Catholic church or Lutheran church. We are not walking away….We will be their partner.
What will that look like?
Conversations are ongoing in Tanzania and we are hopeful a bigger more sustainable organization will take over the day to day school operations. We hope something is worked out within the next month.
In the meantime, we are seeking a new school for some of our sponsored students, just in case this isn’t wrapped up when the new school year begins. We will sponsor them where ever they go, but we are really hoping for a partner organization.
Our work is not stopping, it is changing. We need your support more than ever and on this giving Tuesday, we hope you join us as we transition and continue to support education, their families and our work in Tanzania.
Thank you for cheering us on as we transition into something more sustainable and ensuring the school we built continues educating children for many more years to come.