Turning the Tide on Truancy
Grand Circle Foundation Tackles the Primary Issue at Changarawe Primary School
Travelers often ask how we choose which schools to support with Grand Circle Foundation funds and projects. There are many factors, but the two biggest driving forces are academic performance and truancy levels. We’ve singled out these areas for help as we believe that education is a priority and should be accessible to everyone in the community.
One of the regions of the globe in which we have had the greatest impact is Karatu, Tanzania, where we are currently partnered with five schools. The newest is Changarawe Primary School, which serves about 400 students between the ages of four and 16. Located along the main road to Lake Eyasi, the school suffered from a truancy issue, with as many as 80 pupils a day not showing up. In 2017, only half the class passed the exam that qualified them to move on to a secondary school.
Grand Circle Foundation has had success with the truancy issue in the past and partnered with the school in 2018 to begin to address the issue. Our initial funding provided the basics needed for an education: chalk, paper, exercise books, pens and pencils, and teacher supplies—all of which help get children into class.
Another essential was a photocopier. Every week, students in all area schools are tested to monitor their progress, requiring hundreds of photocopies. Before the copier was provided, teachers had to take time from school and travel miles to the nearest copier, with each page an additional expense.
And then we provided something much more exciting. To help bring the school up to speed with technology, we supplied laptops, a projector, screen, and sound system, offering a new world of educational opportunities and future employment possibilities for these students.
Other projects we’ve supported at the school include purchasing solar lights so that 7th-grade students can take the national exams, renovating the kitchen and purchasing smokeless cooking pots, and providing a fire extinguisher and maintenance kit to enhance the school’s safety standards. Boston-area students visiting the school through the Foundation’s Next Generation Leaders program also renovated classrooms.
In all, the Foundation has donated $29,662 to date. O.A.T. and Grand Circle travelers have also pitched in. One generous group donated four laptops, learning DVDs, a projector, and school supplies. Another compassionate traveler sponsored uniforms for the 6th-grade class. Other travelers have offered gifts of highlighters, pens, pencils, and notebooks, and even jump ropes during school visits. We also donated two bikes to the school through Naomi and Mark Hughes’ Pets Providing Pedals project, so that graduating students would have transportation to secondary school.
We are grateful to all travelers who join us in supporting schools in East Africa with their gifts. Every contribution, of any size, makes a difference in the lives of students eager to learn. If you would like to join us in helping to provide them with a brighter future, please donate now .