Sakila Primary School is where the idea for Focus on Tanzanian Communities began. In the summer of 1996, a group of Shady Hill School families from Massachusetts traveled to Tanzania with Thomson Safaris. Some of the families spent a morning at Sakila, where they were treated to songs, poetry, soccer games, and warm embraces by their Tanzanian hosts. They also witnessed how children had to cram 100 to a classroom, with dirt floors, no windows, no electricity, and few books. As these families got back into their safari vehicles, Sakila headmaster Yona Andrew urged them to remember the school with their well-known American generosity. On the ride back to Arusha, several of the Shady Hill parents resolved to raise some funds to help Sakila, which led them to found FoTZC.
Since our founding, we have contributed over $70,000 to upgrade Sakila. Improvements have included six classrooms, a computer room, electricity, and teachers’ houses. When FoTZC arranged to deliver and install computers in 2002, Sakila reportedly became the first public elementary school in Tanzania to have computers. FoTZC also has sponsored and financed educational trips to the US for the school’s headmaster.