Since 2013, the Rotary Club of Willowdale has been supporting J. K. Nyerere primary school in Arusha,Tanzania. The club was introduced to the school by Margaret Adat (a Willowdale Rotarian since 2015) and her family who discovered the school on a family trip to Tanzania in 2007. While enjoying a comfortable vacation safari in the great wildlife parks of Tanzania they decided they wanted to give something back and with the help of their driver David Laizer they found J.K. Nyerere primary school, which was in need of much help.....

J. K. Nyerere Primary School is a government funded public school that was started in 2001. The number of students attending the school ranges from 720 to over 900 per year educating children from Standard 1 to Standard 7. In Tanzania standard 4 and standard 7 students sit national exams. Standard 7 students must pass this national exam in order to get into high school. When we were first introduced to the school approx. 22 students passed the Standard 7 exam annually.

The government funding is 290,000 TZS per quarter (approx. $165Cdn) to operate the school – excluding teachers’ salaries which are paid directly by the government. The school allocates this funding as follows: 30% for teaching supplies, 20% to print national exams and 20% for administration/upkeep of the school. The funding is woefully inadequate leaving the school in ill repair and without even the basics when it comes
to desks, text books and everyday supplies. It is a challenge for the teachers to teach without the basics.

Currently they have 60 students which are special needs with a range of challenges from downs syndrome to being blind along with 50 students who are orphaned and being cared for by family members or members of the local community.

What the Rotary Club of Willowdale is doing.

Several of the members of the Rotary Club of Willowdale have visited the school over the past 6 years. On the last visit by one of our members in October of 2019 they talked with Bhoke Nyerere, the grand daughter of Julius K. Nyerere the first prime minister of Tanzania. Bhoke has graciously agreed to be a “mentor” for the school and has since been in touch with them with the goal of helping them become self sufficient.

Since 2013 the Rotary Club of Willowdale has raised over $80,000. These funds have, and are currently being used for various projects outlined below:

Ongoing Annual contributions:

  • Contribute to cost of feeding students during national exams – parents cover 50% of the cost.

  • Provide uniforms for orphaned students.

  • Assist in maintenance of the school. Repairs to classrooms, windows etc.

  • Supplement the purchase of schools supplies and books.

  • Supplement the purchase of new desks required due to additional student enrollment or to replace old, broken desks.

Projects completed:

  • Built new washrooms. Washroom facilities were not hygienic. Please reference pictures attached.

  • Repaired the entire school, Roof, Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Windows.

  • Brought in clean water supply.

  • Built building to serve as kitchen

  • Built wall to secure the school property.

Future Projects:

  • Expand electricity to another classroom and set up a computer room with printing/copying capabilities.

  • Complete teachers’ residence to provide a place for some of the teachers to stay while providing security for the school. (Residence was started by the government over 5 years ago – has been left incomplete).

  • Provide a well for improved water supply.

  • Build additional classrooms. Currently there can be over 100 students in a class.


What has this accomplished?

  • J. K. Nyerere Primary School is a better place in which to learn, and encouraging more children in the surrounding neighbourhood to attend school.
  • Increase number of students completing the standard 7 education from 22 students per year to between 75 – 100 students per year now.


Thanks to the Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Willowdale, right here in District 7070.