Orkeeswa School is a community-based secondary school located in Orkeeswa Village, an under-served Maasai community in rural Tanzania. The school serves four villages, covering an area of approximately 32 square-kilometers with a total population of over 10,000 individuals. By providing free education within the village, in a country where less than a quarter of the population has access to secondary school, Orkeeswa offers the only opportunity for most of our students to continue their education past the primary level.
Since 2008, Orkeeswa School has grown out of an organic process of experimentation in collaboration with local leadership. As a result, we have developed a model of holistic education, responding to the specific needs of our students and their community.
COMMUNITY-BASED DAY SCHOOL
A holistic, community-based education offers our students the opportunity to develop critical and creative thinking skills while remaining deeply connected to their community. The result is a new generation of visionary leaders, innovators, and problem solvers who have a thorough understanding of and commitment to their own culture, community and local politics. Our students live and learn within their village, allowing them to take their education home with them everyday and make an immediate impact on their families and community members.
In the context of a community where women and girls experience severe gender discrimination, a co-educational environment offers girls an opportunity to learn and lead alongside boys, gaining immediate respect and confidence in their capacity to be educated leaders in their community.
Effective and sustainable community development must come from within – conceived, implemented and managed by local leadership. Our programs are designed to nurture our students' creativity, allowing them to hone their own unique leadership styles, while building their capacity to think outside the box.
THE ORKEESWA MODEL
THE BEST LEADERS ARE WELL-ROUNDED.
They are able to think creatively, inspire and motivate community members, and apply actionable solutions to complex problems. Our goal is to create opportunities for our students to become the best possible voices for change in their communities. The Orkeeswa Model is dedicated to nurturing students' overall development while maintaining the highest academic standards.
Orkeeswa promotes hands-on, experiential learning that emphasizes creative and critical thinking. A low student-to-teacher ratio and a philosophy of open communication create an environment in which students are able to recognize their strengths, find their passions, and seek guidance.
Our athletics program offers students the opportunity to learn about teamwork, leadership, competition and dedication while building their confidence and communication skills outside the classroom. After-school sports also offer students a fun outlet from their studies, as well as their strenuous household responsibilities, such as collecting firewood, fetching water, and herding livestock.
Each day, our students are encouraged to explore their interests, find their passions and develop practical skills through clubs, games, agriculture projects, art workshops and leadership training.
Our diverse and experienced teaching staff motivates our students inside the classroom and beyond. Through ongoing Professional Development, our faculty explore new teaching methodologies to expand our capacity to serve our students in the most effective way possible. Our Professional Development workshops focus on cooperative and experiential learning techniques.
LIFE SKILLS & COUNSELING
Our Life Skills and Counseling programs offer students support, guidance, and training to prepare them to make positive decisions as young, educated community members. In our Life Skills program, students participate in designing and leading their own curriculum, allowing them to focus on challenges specific to their culture and community.
Through our Entrepeneurship program, our students are encouraged to develop creative solutions to local challenges while learning how to run a small business. We provide students with financial literacy training, support in developing business plans, and where appropriate, the distribution of small grants to intiate student-run projects.
Through our Community Service program, our students apply their skills and passions to concrete actions within their community. Following the completion of their 10th Grade year, each student serves over 300 hours by teaching in the local primary schools.
CAREER & COLLEGE COUNSELING
Our students' education does not stop when they graduate from our program. We are determined to create opportunities for each student to continue onto higher education, an option that less than 4% of Tanzanians have access to. We work with each student to develop a plan for them to reach their goals. 100% of our graduates receive a loan or scholarship for college or University.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Through key partnerships in Tanzania, we ensure that our students have access to high-quaity healthcare.
We offer our students opportunities to explore their potential as leaders and scholars in a diverse, international environment through an array of global opportunities. The goal of this program is to encourage personal and intellectual growth through travel and exchange, while building a strong foundation for our students to become engaged global citizens.
Orkeeswa is more than a school. It is a community of citizens committed to a belief in human potential and the power of inspired leadership. By focusing on high-quality education, Orkeeswa School has become the catalyst for community-driven change in the surrounding villages. Our impact emanates from a deep and holisitc investment in our students and staff, reaching hundreds of families and thousands of primary school students.