As an organization we have had a singular focus on secondary education. Soon after our first few schools were opened, we understood that if we were going to have any realistic chance of achieving our vision of every kid in every village getting the chance to go to school, we had to begin training leaders. In 2015 our Leadership College was opened in a village not far from our first school, Madisi, with the goal of training young men and women to be leaders who would have a heart to live in villages and work to transform the communities they lived in.
In the same way that our secondary schools target those who would otherwise never get the chance to go to high school, our college targets those who would otherwise never get the chance to go to college. We provide 50% scholarships to any graduate from a Village Schools institution, and we provide an additional 25% scholarship for girls.
The education students receive is decidedly unusual as compared with other institutions. The school year is broken into four quarters where students spend one quarter on campus learning, and one quarter at one of our secondary schools implementing what they have learned. Courses include public speaking, English, Math, project management and computers.
Upon graduating, students do a one-year field internship where they receive even more hands-on experience. Our goal is to equip graduates to act in leadership capacities wherever they end up working and to have the practical tools needed to do so well.
We are planning to open a second college in the Rukwa region of Tanzania in 2024. This college will train math and science teachers. As with our leadership college, our hope is to train men and women who will be interested in working in rural areas to help transform the communities they are serving in.
In 2019, our first class of 19 students graduated from our college. 17 of them decided to stay and work with Village Schools. We are particularly excited that 12 of our graduates have felt called to act as advisors in the neighboring countries of Malawi, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya -- they have formed what we call our ‘International Teams’. They are having a catalytic effect not just in their home country of Tanzania but in these other countries as they take with them the DNA of Village Schools; they are the ones writing the next chapter of this story.
Justin Hiari heads up the International Teams and works closely with each member of the team as they ‘transplant the DNA’ of Village Schools into other countries.