Part of the proceeds from every painting we sell are donated to the Noonkodin Secondary School in the remote Maasai village of Eluwai in northern Tanzania. Every painting enables one child to attend that school for one year. Noonkodin is the only school in Tanzania to include indigenous Maasai culture – local medicine, traditions and practises – as a key part of its curriculum, to ensure that its student do not lose their cultural heritage. After graduating from school, students can seek employment in local traditional trades or travel to the local town for other work. They can then support their own families to attend school themselves. In this way, the whole community can support itself to develop in a sustainable way. The school is funded and managed by Serian UK, a UK-registered charity. You can find out more about it here: www.serianuk.org.uk.
About the school
Noonkodin, the name of the local area, means ‘impala’ in the Maasai language. The school was founded in 2004 with only 5 students, taught under the shade of a tree. Now, there are almost 200 students between 14 and 25. Around half of these receive a free education, thanks to international sponsors.
Noonkodin is unique! It’s the only school in Tanzania that teaches a special programme of Indigenous Knowledge to encourage students to:
- document and record the life stories of local elders, and the knowledge, traditions, songs, stories, proverbs and dances of their communities.
- do their own research on plants and trees used in traditional herbal medicine.
- learn about other cultures through global school partnerships.
- bring together indigenous knowledge and modern technology for sustainable livelihoods, e.g. cultural tourism, handicrafts, music or natural soaps.
A non-denominational school, it also teaches the full Tanzanian National Curriculum in English, Maths, Kiswahili, Geography, History, Civics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. In 2010, Noonkodin was ranked 3rd out of 23 schools in the district for academic achievement.
Over 60% of Noonkodin students are female, and many of these girls and young women have run away from home in order to escape female genital mutilation and/or forced marriages, often to much older men.
Building the school
Building the school has not been an easy task. Every brick was made by hand from local clay and baked in wood-fired kilns. Water has been transported up the mountain by truck, and carried on the backs of donkeys from a reservoir 6km away. Working hard over the years, the school now has:
- four classrooms…
- a science lab…
- a library/computer room…
- two staff houses…
- a kitchen…
- toilet blocks…
- boys’ and girls’ dormitories…
…all thanks to the generosity of individuals, schools, companies and small charities in the UK, USA, Australia and elsewhere, working with rural Tanzanian families.
But there are still many urgent needs, including a new girls’ dormitory, an emergency vehicle, student sponsorship and support for teacher training.
Support the School
Purchasing Ethical Art provides critical funding that enables children to attend the school.
You can also donate to the school directly here: