Education & Empowerment

Nearly 1,000 students. And three teachers.

That’s what you’d see if you walked into the public school in our village. One class might have more than 100 five-year-olds squished shoulder to shoulder in a room with a teacher lecturing at the front. Those are the lucky pupils, because next door they have desks but no one teaching at all. That might explain why Tanzania’s literacy rate is 68 percent and dropping.

The parents of Kitongo wanted better for their children. JBFC Executive Director Chris Gates wanted better for his girls. He opened the Joseph & Mary Primary School in 2010 and the school was full in a matter of days, with hundreds more on the waiting list.

Joseph & Mary is an English-medium school that utilizes a Montessori-type educational style to encourage student learning. Joseph & Mary tries to incorporate innovative education strategies to insure student success. Primary teachers loop with their students through second grade, resulting in teacher and students staying together for the first three years of schooling enabling a solid foundation in the basics. All of our students pass national exams, 97 percent are in class every day, and Joseph & Mary students are ranked near the top in our district and region.

JBFC provides daily transportation, bringing students as far as 20 miles away to school and back home. To make sure empty stomachs don’t distract hungry minds, Joseph & Mary students receive two meals a day, furnished by the JBFC farm. And it cost parents half the price of other area private schools. Tuition is $300 (USD) a year, which pays for breakfast and lunch daily, school supplies and uniforms. As with other components of the JBFC model, self-sustainability for the school is the goal. Charging a modest tuition not only helps us provide a quality school setting, but it also allows families to invest in education, making it a priority for them. Scholarships are available. And JBFC works closely with families to make sure girls, and not just boys, are given the opportunity to learn.

In 2012, Joseph & Mary expanded so our students wouldn’t have to give up their education after 7th grade. We now enroll secondary students and will soon add a high school, so students can have the option of striving for higher education.

JBFC also believes in equipping students with the tools they need to be successful adults. So each model incorporates a vocational education component. With its proximity to Tanzania’s second largest city as well as popular tourist destinations like the Serengeti National Wildlife Park, the Kitongo campus is developing a restaurant and hospitality training program that will prepare students to enter the workforce in a high demand industry. As we expand, each campus will have a vocational component, but it will be tailored to the needs of each community.

JBFC’s Joseph & Mary School (Capacity):
  • Primary School: 280
  • Secondary School: 120
  • High School: 60
  • Total Student Population: 460
  • Jan 2013 Projected Enrollment: 400
  • Grade Levels: prek-13
  • Student Teacher Ratio: 17:1
  • 97% Attendance
  • 100% of Joseph & Mary Students Pass National Exams
  • $300 a year - 50% Less Than Area Private Schools
2012 Rankings

1st in our county
7th in our region of approximately 10,000 schools

Extra Curriculars:
  • Duka (Student-Run School Store)
  • Soccer
  • Newspaper
  • Drama Club
  • Choir
  • Art
  • Debate