The first class of students in 2001 totaled only 15. Over the years, Faraja Primary School has grown to capacity at nearly 100. The students reside in dormitories except during summer and Christmas holidays, when they return to their families and homes.
As the only primary school in Tanzania exclusively for youth with physical disabilities, students come from all over the country and most from extremely impoverished families. Parents of students contribute to a portion of the tuition but the majority of students have sponsors, generous donors who financially support students on an annual basis to cover the costs of a quality education, boarding, meals, and physical therapy.
Meet a few:
Korneli is a recent graduate of Faraja. He emerged as a top student, excellent athlete, and popular leader. He will be heading to a private secondary school to continue his education in hopes of becoming a doctor or lawyer. Korneli is from the Karatu region of Tanzania, where he lived with his mother and two sisters.
A deformed spine and paralyzed legs keep him in a wheelchair, but this does not confine him. He is a distinguished member of the school’s wheelchair racing team and placed among the top 5 finishers in the Kilimanjaro Marathon.
Anna was in our recent graduation class. She was one of two Faraja students to earn two A’s in final, national testing, which are very difficult to achieve. Her efforts were a great help in boosting our school to a ranking of 71 among 566 schools in the Kilimanjaro Region taking the important exams.
She is eager to move on to higher education and meeting new people. Her goal is to become a teacher. Like any school in Tanzania, we would be proud to have her on our own faculty some day.
Godlisten graduated from Faraja in October. He comes from an extremely poor family in the
Ngorongoro District of Tanzania. He plans to take an entrepreneurship and business training course next year so that he can start a business near home and help his family. He wants to open a small shop and sell corn, beans, rice, sugar and tea.
With the profits from this business, Godlisten will send his younger siblings to school. He realizes the importance of education because of his experience at Faraja, and feels a sense of responsibility for educating his younger siblings.