Children of Choba was registered as a British charity in 2010 to help the many bright and beautiful youngsters in Choba and the surrounding villages have a better start in life. Our first task is to finish constructing and to continue to run Choba English Medium Primary and Nursery School. We aim to provide the highest possible standards of teaching and facilities. The parents recognise that education is the way to escape poverty, and they asked us to build them a school.
Choba is a small hamlet on the coast of northern Tanzania in Pangani District, Tanga Region. It has an adult population of just over 300 with the majority struggling to survive way below the poverty line by subsistence farming and fishing. This area is at least 50 years, in development terms, behind the better known parts of Tanzania such as Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
The Tanzanian education system
Primary School teaching in Tanzania is usually in Swahili, with very simple English taught as a subject by teachers with only a very basic knowledge of the language themselves. But from day one in Secondary School all subjects are taught in English! This leads to a very high drop out rate in the early stages, and even if students who do continue to O level manage to pass their exams, they are still incapable of holding a conversation in English. There is a huge shortage of good teachers in the country and as a result education standards have spiralled downhill since independence 50 years ago.
How we started
In 2006, our Chair of Trustees and Projects Manager, Valerie McGivern bought a plot of land in Choba where she has lived since 2007. The villagers immediately requested her help to build a Primary School. By law, every Tanzanian child should receive a free primary education, but at that time children from Choba attended Boza Primary, some 4 miles away up a very steep hill. Consequently, the Choba children were not able to start school until they were 9 or 10 years old and strong enough to make the journey on foot.
Valerie started by building a Nursery School, and this was so successful that she was able to make the much larger commitment to start building a Primary School the following year.
Before founding Children of Choba, Valerie was a Trustee and Projects Manager of Community Projects Africa (CPA). This British registered charity provided the funding for the main class of Choba Nursery School and the first two classes of the Primary School.
We thank CPA very much for their contribution – without their support it would not have been possible to start the school so soon. Children of Choba still maintains close links with CPA – please click on the link to visit their website: www.communityprojectsafrica.org.
Choba English Medium Primary and Nursery School
The Nursery School opened in January 2008 and Class 1 of the Primary School followed in January 2009, sharing the building of the Nursery School for the first year. We then built Classes 1 and 2 during 2009 and Class 3 during 2010, and the Regional Commissioner of Tanga, Retired Major General Said Said Kalembo, officially opened the school in March 2010. Class 4 opened in January 2012.
These classrooms were financed by groups of volunteers from the UK who raised funds on our behalf and then came to Choba to help with the building work.
Classes 5 and 6 were very kindly funded by The Hilden Charitable Fund and Mondochallenge Foundation, and opened in January 2013.
We need to build a total of 7 classrooms – if you are interested in helping, please contact us.
The children start Primary school from the age of 7. It is a government school, which means the government pays the salaries of the Primary School teachers, but it is a school with a difference. It is an English Medium school, which means that all subjects are taught in English and English is spoken throughout the school day, even at break and during games.