Uru is home to over 7,000 people who live on less than a dollar a day, with no access to running water or electricity, proper healthcare or education. This is the community where Neema International has built two schools and an orphanage, providing hundreds of families with education, clean water, proper nutrition and family planning. We respond to the communities identified needs, working alongside parents to build community centers and repair village roads. Through our international development efforts on-site we provide more than forty local jobs to men and women in Kitandu Village.
We operate under the leadership of founder Mandy Stein and co-director Ali Hanson, who each have extensive experience speaking Swahili and living on-site. Our success stems from the deep personal connections these social entrepreneurs have maintained in the community. Each Neema project integrates community engagement and sustainable development to break the cycle of poverty in Tanzania. Our projects include NIESP, the orphanage, Uru Academy and the Digitruck.
The Neema International Educational Sponsorship Program matches orphaned or vulnerable children with fiscal sponsors in the United States and Canada. NIESP students receive funds that cover tuition, books and supplies, living and travel expenses, healthcare, social work services and life skills workshops. Students are required to complete volunteer hours in our other projects, refrain from drugs or pregnancy, attend life-skills classes and demonstrate constant improvement in school to remain in the program. NIESP students are part of a life-changing mentorship program that provides the advice, connections and physical requirements for success.
NIESP accepts many students from the orphanage Neema International built and funds. The Tuleeni Children’s home is continually used as a safe haven for orphans as well as a community center. The orphanage has a community-run bio-gas stove and a water pump that provides for more than five thousand people in Kitandu Village.
Neema's newest project, Uru Academy, opened in September 2018. Uru Academy has about one hundred students and is Kilimanjaro's first full-service early childhood center. Besides providing an international education, children receive healthcare, social work services and nutritious meals. Families attend regular meetings to ensure parent involvement, a groundbreaking program in a country where children as young as three typically walk alone to school. Uru Academy practices English immersion, accepting children as young as six months. The curriculum blends art, play and literacy to facilitate whole-child development. Uru Academy is also eco-friendly, constructed from converted cargo-crates and completely solar-powered. We also provide special workshops on topics ranging from computer coding to women’s rights and environmental sustainability.
The Tanzanian school system changes its language of instruction in secondary school from Swahili to English. Millions of children drop out each year due to insufficient English comprehension. The Digitruck utilizes technology to provide remedial education to adolescents who have dropped out of school. The edutech program utilizes iPads, TVs and computers to deliver an individualized, remedial education program to these underserved kids. Teachers monitor students progress with a special emphasis on math, English and life skills. Volunteers come to work with Digitruck students on computer-specific vocational skills such as typing and coding.
We also have a social enterprise program, Neema Bags, which employs local mamas to create African-print cosmetic-sized bags. The bags are offered in several designs, including monogram and school colors. Neema Bags are sold at local fairs in Tanzania as well as boutiques and online orders in the United States and Canada. Still in its early stages, Neema Bags is the future economic sustainability of Neema projects.
Uru is home to over 7,000 people who live on less than a dollar a day, with no access to running water or electricity, proper healthcare or education. This is the community where Neema International has built two schools and an orphanage…