Tanzanian, U.S. partners provide island with new school
PEMBA ISLAND, Zanzibar—Hundreds of students, educators and residents of Bopwe shehia attended a ceremony hosted by a delegation of Tanzanian and U.S. guests to commemorate the completion of a $320,000 Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa construction project: a new school.
During the ceremony, Zanzibar President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt, and CJTF-HOA Commander Rear Admiral Brian Losey stood side-by-side to cut a yellow ribbon, an action which officially opened the school for business.
“This is a joint accomplishment of the American people and the people of the Wete District,” said Ambassador Lenhart. “It’s truly a people-to-people success story.” said the Ambassador.
The school was constructed by a Tanzanian contractor that teamed with the men and women of Maritime Civil Affairs Team 101, attached to Camp Lemonairre. Prior to this, Bopwe was only one of two shehias in Wete District that did not possess a school
According to the MCAT Team 101 Leader, Lieutenant Franz Fuchs, this school is expected to be used by more than 300 students.
“This school is very important to the people here who place a great value on education,” said Fuchs. “Many students will now have the opportunity for a solid education and the chance to go on to secondary schools.”
The school contains seven classrooms, male and female bathrooms, teacher and administrative officers and a conference room.
"Even something as simple as classroom space is a significant issue on Pemba,” said Fuchs. “Most schools face the dilemma of either overcrowding or teaching the kids in shifts, both of which degrade the learning experience in their own ways,” he said. “A school like Bopwe, with plenty of space, desks and chairs, wired for [electric] power and that is handicapped accessible builds education capacity in a way that is unprecedented here."
Prior to constructing the new school, some children walked as far as five kilometers to attend any school, but the new Bopwe School is in convenient reach for children from the island villages of Raha, Madaniwa, and Taifu.
“This project underscores the value of our friendship with the people of Tanzania, Zanzibar and Pemba Island,” said Admiral Losey. “By teaming together, we promote future collaboration which in turn enhances stability in the region.”