Thank you for your interest in Jenga Jumuiya – Building Community Through School Building.
WHO WE ARE
Our name is derived from the Swahili phrase for “Building Community” and our goal is to build community strength, pride, and leadership through the construction of classrooms, the renovation of school buildings, and the sponsorship of students in developing countries.
We at Jenga Jumuiya believe that education is for everyone and that a solid education is the key to helping those less fortunate help themselves out of poverty. With these beliefs in mind, we work together with local communities, local non-profits, and local vendors to renovate, expand, and build educational facilities for marginalized or rural populations where access to education is less than ideal.
To date, our work has focused on the Oldonyo Sambu Primary School in the Arumeru district of rural Tanzania. This school enrolls nearly 1050 children in what was a seven-classroom, heavily overcrowded, and structurally dilapidated facility. With the help of our wonderful donors, Jenga Jumuiya has been able to expand the classroom count at this school to nine classrooms and add an additional teacher’s office.
The village of Oldonyo Sambu is located approximately 1 1/2 hours outside of Arusha, Tanzania, on what we call the “dry” side of Mt. Meru. The students at the Oldonyo Sambu Primary School are primarily members of the Maasai tribe. The Maasai are known for their animal husbandry (they believe they are the chosen protectors of animals, especially cattle), their bright traditional costumes and jewelry, their tall stature, and their ability to survive for long periods of time without water (historically, they drank milk and other fluids derived from their livestock when water was scarce). The majority of the families in the region live well below the poverty line (less than $1/day). The families live in mud huts called “bomas.” Their diet consists of porridge, rice, meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Water is scarce in the region, and dust storms often occur, especially during the “dry season”. Our students walk to and from school each day for up to eight miles each way. They pack themselves into classrooms of more than 150 students per and share desks with two to four other students. Pencils, paper, even textbooks are a luxury to these children. Even with these challenges, the students are determined to learn, and each day, face their difficult circumstances with a spirit of hope and anticipation. We are so proud and excited for the future of these children, and we know that many are great leaders in the making.
As our name implies, Jenga Jumuiya (Swahili for “Building Community”) is focused on community building – not only erecting physical structures, but also building strength, pride, and leadership in the populations we serve. Therefore our intent is to involve the local community in all aspects of our project so that they are not merely recipients of charity, but active participants in creating educational opportunities for their families and themselves. We work in close cooperation with the community leaders, school boards, and district councils of our focus areas to identify and create a “community” project plan, whereby the community works with us to provide a portion of funding, materials, and/or labor.
In the case of the Oldonyo Sambu Primary School Project, we collaborated with the community to create a plan by which we built two classrooms and a teacher’s office using part of an existing structure that had been funded previously by the community. The families of our students also provided all of the sand and gravel needed for the construction. Our supplies were purchased through local vendors and our contractors also had ties to the community.
While we are thrilled with what we have been able to accomplish thus far at the Oldonyo Sambu Primary School, we know that more than 1050 children in even nine classrooms does not allow for the individualized and quality learning atmosphere that these children deserve. So we must do more!
Here’s where you come in. With your help, we are working to raise funds for our next expansion project at this school, for the renovation of existing classrooms, for the provision of school supplies, and for the sponsorship of school fees and uniforms for the most needy of the students. We also hope to expand our efforts to other needy schools in Tanzania and throughout the world. In addition to building learning facilities for these incredible students, we have also created a scholarship fund to help those children whose families cannot afford the cost of school fees, uniforms, and other essentials.
Every amount raised makes a difference and can help us build a physical foundation for learning – including desks, ceilings, floors, blackboards, doors and windows – so that these amazing kids will have a safe place to expand their minds. Please give if you can!
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Checks should be made out to Jenga Jumuiya and sent to the following address:
c/o: Matt Henneman
711 Louisiana Street, Suite 1800
Houston, TX 77002
(This is our preferred method.)
If you would like to transfer money directly to our account, please contact me at the number or email below so that I may provide the bank details.
Our Paypal link (“Donate Now!” link to the right) has also been updated.
On behalf of the many, many children and families your donations will help, I would like to thank you in advance for your kind and generous contribution!
Asante sana! (Kiswahili) Ashe oleng! (Kimaasai) Thank you!
JENGA JUMUIYA IS A UNITED STATES-BASED NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON BUILDING STRENGTH OF COMMUNITY THROUGH THE CONSTRUCTION OF CLASSROOMS, THE RENOVATION OF SCHOOL BUILDINGS, AND THE SPONSORSHIP OF STUDENTS IN SCHOOLS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.