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Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT)

Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT)

Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT)

IEFT funds and operates the Orkeeswa Secondary School, a tuition free school for needy youth in rural Tanzania. Orkeeswa is breaking academic norms and preparing future leaders who will have the skills and confidence to create change in their communities. Turning the persistent tides of poverty starts with revolutionizing education. IEFT is that revolution.

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Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT)

Monduli, Tanzania

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About us

The doors of IEFT’s first school, Orkeeswa School, opened in 2008. The school began in a church room with a chalk board nailed to the wall. There was a small group of dedicated students, one teacher and one volunteer with a mission.

Today, Orkeeswa Secondary is thriving. The first class of students are in their Form Five (11th grade) year, the school boasts 191 students, top regional performance scores on National Exams, a livestock and garden program, micro-finance loans for qualifying students as well as the pillars that have marked Orkeeswa from the outset - a rigorous and holistic approach to teaching combined with real-life experiential and extra-curricular opportunities for students.  


Why are we exciting?

Only 11% of Tanzanian youth go to secondary school. We are working to grow that number. In a country with a crippled economy, we are working to ensure that the next generation has leaders, skilled workers, teachers and University graduates that can help to turn the persistent tides of poverty. 

There are only 18 Universities in all of Tanzania; there is simply not the capacity for every qualified student to enter college in this country. In the face of an education system that is failing its students, we will serve them. Whether it is through college, a micro-finance loan to start a business, or another avenue, we will help our students to chart a course toward a viable future. 


What can we offer Escapees?

The student body President of Orkeeswa Secondary School is seventeen years old, his name is Lota. He walks two hours to school each way and often passes by elephants on his trek. To motivate his fellow students Lota writes a quote on the board in the library every day. He wrote “In order to succeed your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure.”  

We offer you the opportunity to know Lota, his classmates and other remarkable students who beat every odd. We offer you the opportunity to help these students achieve their dreams. 


What is our culture like?

We have a sense of humor. Tanzania is not always easy on its volunteers so when the car breaks down and we walk to work, we laugh, when the electricity is out, we laugh, when the key doesn’t work, the internet is broken, the food is burnt, the bus isn’t running on time, we keep our cool and keep an eye on the bigger picture. 

Orkeeswa Secondary School is equal parts demanding and rewarding. The students are extraordinary, the possibilities are limitless. 

There is opportunity to create an impact, to handle significant responsibilities, to be a part of building something great. 

IEFT is fast paced and has high standards. There is quite literally not a dull moment.  


Our values

We value a strong work ethic and thick skin. We value people who take the initiative and can work well independently and as part of a team. 

We value good cooks, compassionate housemates and competent drivers. We value individuals with unique talents that they wish to share - athletics, arts, carpentry, drama, music, technology. 


How are we different?

Working with IEFT you will be a part of a community, you will enter into a relationship that regardless of how it shapes you, will never leave you. Volunteering at IEFT most certainly is an escape from corporate culture, it is an escape into a different reality, a reality far from the likes of London or New York City. In joining IEFT, you join an adventure and you join a family. 

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