Neema International invests in the children of Uru, Tanzania through sustainable building projects and education. Our projects include Uru Academy, the orphanage, NIESP (Neema International Educational Sponsorship Program), and the Digitruck. Together, these projects have impacted about 300 children. Each Neema International project integrates community engagement and sustainable development to break the cycle of poverty. Uru is home to over 7,000 people who live on less than a dollar a day, with no access to running water or electricity, proper healthcare nor education. Neema International is a place-based intervention program, alleviating the cycle of poverty in Uru from a multilateral approach. Founded in 2012, Neema International has empowered the community by building a school and an orphanage as well as providing hundreds of families with education, clean water, proper nutrition and family planning. We operate under the leadership of founder Mandy Stein and co-director Ali Hanson, who have lived in Tanzania for over seven years. Our success stems from the deep personal connections these social entrepreneurs have maintained in the community.
Our school, Uru Academy, opened in September 2018. Uru Academy serves about 100 students and is Kilimanjaro's first full-service early childhood center. We are a ‘full-service’ center. Beyond providing a high-quality education, we provide our children with healthcare, social work services and nutritious meals. Families attend regular meetings to ensure parent involvement, a groundbreaking program in a country where children as young as three typically walk alone to school. Uru Academy practices English immersion, accepting children as young as six months. The curriculum blends art, play and literacy to facilitate whole-child development. We feature special workshops on topics ranging from computer coding to women’s rights and environmental sustainability.
The Uru Academy facility is self-sustainable, using solar power for electricity, a biogas stove for cooking, and maintaining a self-serving farm. At Uru Academy, we foster a safe and nurturing environment where children are free to play and learn without fear of the corporal punishment that is practiced in most homes and schools in Tanzania. Children receive a free, high-quality education with a student to teacher ratio of 5:1, compared to the national standard of 40:1.
Since teacher training in Tanzania is below international standards, we match our teachers with mentor teachers at the International School of Moshi for supplemental training on creative learning. This human capital development benefits the children as well as our region, as student teachers come and join the trainings as well. We provide Uru Academy students with the components of nurturing care, including proper nutrition, healthcare, clothing and other basic needs their families cannot afford. The school provides jobs to local men and women and provides free education to about 100 children aged six months to ten years. Each child is matched with a sponsor in America, covering the child’s healthcare, meals and education for the year.
Uru Academy is an unprecedented, innovative center in one of Kilimanjaro Region's poorest villages. We've committed ourselves to Uru through living on site, learning Swahili and supervising our projects. The only thing standing in between us and expanding our impact is having the money to install a new classroom.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child at Uru Academy please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org