Who We Are
Toa Nafasi is a program (not a separate center or school) and we work within the existing public (government) school system in Tanzania, where the majority of children are enrolled. We work predominantly with Standard One students as part of an Early Childhood Development platform, but also provide follow-up for students who still need support in Standards Two and Three.
We strive to improve learning outcomes for all students, but our focus is on the most vulnerable learners in the classroom: those with learning difficulties, “slow learners,” or other marginalized children. We do not deviate from the national syllabi mandated by the Ministry of Education, but rather ensure that everyone in the class has an equal opportunity to learn regardless of his or her learning style.
Toa Nafasi tutors are generally young women from the village who have struggled to find gainful employment, but who have committed to working with the Project. They are taught a few simple yet effective teaching methodologies for slow learners by our international education consultants, and then gain their experience in the classroom. Employment opportunities like these are an additional benefit of Toa Nafasi in the local community.
Why We’re Here
Toa nafasi means “provide a chance” in Kiswahili. The Toa Nafasi Project seeks to support children in their early education years who are experiencing difficulty learning and who, under the current Tanzanian education system, are unable to achieve their full potential. The education sector in Tanzania is not equipped to accommodate the individual learning needs of each child and, as a consequence, children with learning difficulties are often unable to fully participate in and benefit from their education, entering into a lifetime of marginalization and exclusion.
Most classrooms in Tanzania are overcrowded; teachers are generally undertrained and/or underpaid; and teaching methodologies are routine and outdated. The employment of “talk and teach” and rote memorization do not test comprehension and there is little recognition that each child learns in a different way. There is also insufficient individual student-teacher or student-student interaction (pair work, group work, or after-school projects) to inject new life into lessons and make them more appealing.
What We Do
The Toa Nafasi model is a three-tiered approach of assessment, referral, and curriculum modification that has enabled significant development in students found to be flagging in the early grades of public primary school in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
In order to provide the best services we can and to keep our activities running smoothly, we also invest highly in training our tutors and enhancing community relations.