Oldeani Secondary School Begins a New School Year!

Only one year into our contract and we can already see great change and lasting impact at Oldeani Secondary School.

As we begin the school year, for the first time:

  • The complete class schedule was in place and teachers were on hand ready to teach on the first day of school.
  • All Form 1 students attended a Pre-Form 1 class focusing on English Comprehension (the language medium for the school). The course was directed by our ESL teacher, Lara Manning, and taught in December by our RVCV Form 4 graduates: Saidi, Benja, Riziki, Doctor, Abdul and Richard.
  • There are 7 additional teachers on the teaching roster. These teachers were selected and employed by Rift Valley Children’s Village to complement the government teaching staff of 10 and ensure smaller class size. 
  • Teachers will be teaching in grade level teams allowing them to develop stronger relationships of mutual respect with students and have greater impact on classroom management. 
  • Over 250 students have already registered with more arriving each day. 
  • 4 new classrooms are now open and ready for use with more to come.
  • All of the RVCV students who graduated from Gyetighi Primary in September will be joining the new Form 1 class. 
  • A student “hostel” has been created for all of our scholarship students so that they can live in a safe and secure environment while attending school. 

We have high hopes and great expectations for the coming school year.

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Recollections from the RVCV Art Classroom

Recollections from John Platt


Almost every day I was at RVCV, Musa (age 6) was ready to make art!  His process is incredible because he narrates every piece while he draws it.  The pictures vary from a Safari, an undersea adventure, a bicycle race and a dinosaur landscape.  Each new mark on the paper represents someone or something happening.  He is always very precise and extremely concentration on his work; nothing is accidental and nothing is without specific meaning. Musa’s exceptional use of color and sense of composition make him one of the best artists I know.


Raymondi (age 7) lives in Serengeti House with Dickson (age 7) and Janu (age 5).  I could usually count on all three of them giggling outside my door 15 minutes after I tucked them into bed.

Raymondi tears up his subject matter – literally.  Even for a little kid, he is wild in his process, always working with a fervor that sometimes causes his pencil to rip through the paper.

Deciding on a subject, usually from books or magazines, was very important to all the kids, but especially with Raymondi.  He would roughly flip through page after page very quickly – always looking very carefully.  Once he chose his subject he was locked into it and nothing could stop him.  No matter what time of day it was, I always had Raymondi after me asking “CAN WE DRAW?!?!”




Kizzie first came to my class by leaving her scheduled Toddler Time group and joining my Standard 2 kids.  Unlike my other students, Kizzie is very quiet and does not come very often to paint.   She is very cinematic in her approach – painting frame by frame and in rapid-fire succession.  Each time she would show up for class and, without a word, take her brush and her color and go to work.

Kizzie is adorable and sweet but single-minded in her art and fiercely independent.  She does not let anyone help her or tell her what color or brush to use.  Her approach is totally fluid but she always has a clear vision and a specific palette that she does not deviate from.

The Zebra Herd

Many of the kids felt frustrated that their work wasn’t “perfect.”  I found myself continually using the Zebra as an example that nothing in nature is “perfect.”   Every Zebra’s stripes are different so I told the kids they should each do a Zebra and we could see how different they all are.


The painting to the left displays the incredible talent of Boni (age 5).  Hailing from Tarangire house, Boni is one of the most passionate painters of all the younger kids.  Day after day he worked side-by-side with Musa, each one totally absorbed in their work.  Musa is the great narrative painter but Boni was something different than any other child I have ever worked with.

He was so in love with color that most of his process was working the palette.  He would spend long periods of time mixing just the right shade of red and would then carefully place the color on the paper in one of his characteristic dots. I gave him his first set of oil pastels and he took each color out of the box, kissed it, then carefully put it back.  I once asked him “Boni what are we making with all these dots?” to which he responded “I’m making soda.”

Nada and Ally: Friendly Rivals

It was later in my time at RVCV that I met Ally (Age 10) and Nada (Age 11).  Both boys are from Mikumi House and both are astoundingly talented artists.  Ally’s work, like his personality, is soft spoken, direct and gentle.  One day Ally took a book on lions back to his room and within minutes had produced a suite of drawings, one of which you see here.

Note the delicacy of the line quality and the assurance of the composition – he knows exactly how and where the lion is going to appear on the page.  Nada’s work is also like his personality, though a stark difference from Ally. Nada is intense.  He has a strong emotional core which shows in the power and command of his drawings. The stunning line quality and beautiful form of his animals make for work which, like Nada himself, is completely unique.

There is a seriousness and an anger as well as a sweetness and sense of humor.  Ally and Nada have a relationship that has appeared before in art history – Picasso/Braque, Pollock/deKooning, Johns/Rauschenberg – that of two artists competing as friends.  Their relationship highlights a frequent dynamic of my classes at RVCV – male dominated, fiercely competitive, great fun.  I think the best thing about all of their drawings is that you can see the confidence and intelligence of these two amazing kids. I will never draw again without thinking of Ally and Nada.

The Serengeti Plain

Shortly before my arrival at the Children’s Village the Standard 1 and Standard 2 classes had gone on a day Safari to Lake Manyara National Park.  At the end of the year the Standard 4 and Standard 5 classes were going to the Serengeti on an over night trip.  Needless to say Safari was on everyone’s mind.  At first we started drawing animals from the imagination – which worked well with Standard 1 and Standard 2.  By the time I got to Standard 4 and 5 we had changed things up by using India’s wildlife books.  This is where our Safari really took shape.  We had a very large group all doing their own animals.  The energy in the room was tangible as all the kids made amazing animal drawings and paintings taken from the books in the RVCV library or India’s own shelf.  There was some competition, especially when three of the boys would all work from the same image, and also some collaboration.  Ally (age 10) made a terrific drawing of a family of elephants and to my delight, I noticed Elia (age 11) had started to work from Ally’s drawing and make his own. He made absolutely sure that we would know what they were and who made it with his red lettering, which is an interesting habit among the kids – to write what they just drew in extremely large block letters across the page.

July 2nd
The afternoon got off the a slow start with Vicenti asking to draw privately in his room.  Suddenly Boazi was in on it.  I found Ally in the Rec Hall and Musa on the swings and then Yohani came by too.  Vicenti did an awesome lion, Yohani did an amazing elephant, Ally started outlining a stunning blue and yellow bird and Boazi made an incredible Impala – all simultaneously.  Doctor came by to help the boys with their shading and stayed to do a bird of his own.  I showed him all the zebras and he loved the idea of showing them as a herd.

No matter what I may see in future trips to Africa, there is no better impala than the one Boazi painted, there is no better Elephant than Yohani’s, there will never be birds as beautiful as Ally’s or a Zebra better than Vicenti’s. This is the best Safari ever.

If you are interested in purchasing art, please visit: http://www.drawalion.com/
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A Merry Christmas for All


After a fun-filled December, the Children’s Village has finally returned to a place of peace and calm.  Before the memories fade, we want to take a moment to thank you all for making the Christmas season one of magic, joy and laughter for all.

To no one’s surprise, Christmas day started before the sun was up. Over 100 children awoke with hopes of finding a gift under the tree with their name on it. Dolls, soccer balls, games and toys were all beautifully wrapped and waiting under the tree to be opened and cherished. Oh the joy of Christmas morning!

From there, it was on to our annual Christmas Pageant, where our Education Director, Chris Renno, played a very convincing Santa, and Ben Whelan, our Sponsorship Coordinator, acted as DJ. Every house performed a song or dance while the audience cheered them on.

It was a glorious day for one and all, punctuated by the sound of children shouting with joy, bright new toys making noise, dolls being dressed and redressed, and of course lots of “Ho-ho-ho’s” from Santa!

Thank you again for browsing kid’s stores, writing letters, sending Christmas cards and selecting amazing Christmas gifts that had our children saying, “Santa brought me just what I was dreaming of! How did he know?” Your efforts and thoughts gave our children another Christmas to remember!

The celebration was a perfect end to a spectacular year of making change, lifting lives and building futures. Thank you one and all for your part in making all of this possible!

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Success Breeds Success

Oldeani 2Gyetighi’s record for success has inspired exciting changes for our community. After witnessing the transformation of Gyetighi Primary School and the ripple effect of progress that high-quality education has had on the community, the Village of Oldeani requested that we join forces with the District of Karatu to co-manage Oldeani Secondary School.

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With our new five year partnership, the Tanzanian Children’s Fund will replicate the successful model that we honed at Gyetighi by ensuring that teachers and students are healthy, well-supported, and have all of the resources necessary to effectively teach and learn. Partnering to transform Oldeani will help “complete the circle,” of our mission and enable the youth of Oldeani to take control of their own bright futures.


If you wish to invest in the promise of education, please donate to the Next Ten Fund here: Donate Now.

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Gyetighi Primary School is #1!


Six years ago, before we entered into partnership with the District of Karatu, Gyetighi Primary School was the lowest-performing school in the ward. The school was understaffed, underfunded, and had an abysmal pass rate of only 30% on students’ Standard 7 National Exams. TCF recognized that Gyetighi’s low performance made education the weak link in securing the futures we envisioned for our children, and we could not allow that to continue.

Providing an effective foundation necessary for a successful school means hiring well-trained teachers, ensuring sufficient resources for both teachers and students, and empowering the community to invest in the education of their youth.  With a lot of hard work by our team and the generous support of our donors, the success of our partnership with Gyetighi has far surpassed our dreams and very ambitious goals for excellence. With pride, we announce that Gyetighi Primary School now has a pass rate of 99% on Standard 7 National Exams, is the #1 government school in the district, and is ranked within the top 2% of both government and private primary schools in the country!

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A Tanzanian Thanksgiving!

Today is a day for giving thanks and on this day we would like to share a story with you. It’s the story of one of our house mamas – Mama Renea – and she’s full of thanks for the work she has been given with us! 

Mama Renea and Nuruanna

Mama Renea and Nuruana!

“My name is Renea Jacob, I am 53 years old and I was born into a family of eight children. I have three brothers and four sisters. After sometime I got married in to the family of Jacob Mahunbo. I thank God that Mr Jacob and I bore three children, two boys and one girl.

 We had a very bad life, which was characterized by poor living conditions, an absence of food, shortage of social services and the most bad thing; failure of sending my children to school to get further education. 

I used most of my time to struggle hard to find at least the little amount of money which can make us survive, buy only food and other things later. I used my time to work in the farm plantation picking coffee. 

But from 2006, I thank God because I got a job here at RVCV which helped me much to boost my life. I am now able to get certain social services, all the basic human needs and my son is in school! 

Nevertheless, I have many things to say but the thing that I can say now is that I see the big changes compared to my former life.” 

Thanks that’s all from,

Mama Renea

Thanks to TCF and our extended family of sponsors, donors and volunteers, we are able to employ over 30 women just like Mama Renea. We also employ men and women, who work in positions including teachers, guards, cooks, drivers and tradesmen. In total, RVCV provides work for over 100 men and women!

Just one of the many ways in which we continue ‘Lifting Lives and Building Futures’ in rural Tanzania!


The TCF team!

This story was dictated by Mama Renea and transcribed by Alexi Josephat, a Standard 5 student who lives under her care in Tarangire house!

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Independence Day…in rural Tanzania?

   Today countless Americans will be celebrating their independence across the country; and rightly so. The Tanzanian Children’s Fund and Rift Valley Children’s Village are also celebrating, not the liberation of a country but the freeing of a Tanzanian woman from a life of poverty through our micro-finance program!

Mama Kazi

Mama Kazi smiling proudly in front of her duka or shop. Painting the wooden exterior black and white was one of her first business moves, distinguishing her from the crowd!

    Meet Veronica Kazi, 43, known simply as Mama Kazi by her fellow villagers in Camp Nairobi, a workers camp on the coffee plantation where she lives and works.

    Mama Kazi was born in the village of Umbulo where she grew up.  Like most girls from rural Tanzania she took on a whole host of household responsibilities when she was still a young girl. Married at an early age, she was soon raising a family of her own.


Today she is the mother of 8 and has all of her children attending primary school, secondary school or teachers college; a feat unthinkable if it weren’t for the help provided by the Tanzanian Children’s Fund micro-finance program. The average income in Oldeani for a woman like Veronica varies from $200 to $600 a year.  The cost of schooling alone for one child per year can be $350.  As a result, most families struggle to send even one of their children for formal secondary education; let alone 8!

    An independent businesswoman, Mama Kazi runs a small shop, known locally as a duka, in the coffee workers housing camp neighboring RVCV.   She was one of the first to join our micro-finance program when it launched in 2008 with an initial loan of approximately $100.  Over the years, and with the continued support of our micro-finance staff through small loans and monthly training seminars, her business grew. 

   Her latest loan was for a staggering $1250 and her annual income is now close to $9000 more than enough to provide each of her children with the education they deserve!  Always looking forward, Mama Kazi’s next plan is to move her house and duka to a new plot of land she has bought close to the local town of Karatu.

   Veronica Kazi – TCF’s small loans program is very good, without it I would have struggled to put my children through school. Life would have been hard!’

TCF’s micro-finance program has been helping more and more people just like Veronica since 2008; today the program is working to grant independence to around 450 Tanzanian families and continues to grow!

Find out more about our micro-finance program and what else TCF is accomplishing along with RVCV using the links below:

Sponsor A Child           Facebook               Twitter                 Forward to a Friend     
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