Shafii Mwita Haji (Gasica), expert language teacher and managing director of Zanzibar Learning 4 Life Foundation (ZL4LF)
Gasica is a 27 year old social entrepreneur and the founder of the educational NGO, Zanzibar Learning 4 life Foundation. He provides the local teachers for Safari English Club and directs the curriculum. In addition he is a valuable liaison person with the school and local community, helping make sure that our work is culturally appropriate and endorsed by the community. We are privileged that he's so engaged with our project, without his input, the project couldn't exist.
At 17, Gasica started providing free educational tuition for children with disabilities at a neighbour’s home, and continued to expand until his services were available to all children in his community. He now has 250 students taking courses in English as well as computer skills and maths. Gasica is a natural leader and is determined to foster this attribute in his students. He runs a number of innovative, businesses which provide work experience for young people and revenue to support his school.
In 2016 Gasica visited the UK to participate in professional development courses, to speak at a large Rotary Conference and to talk at community and school events around the country. As a result of his tour he has made many valuable connections who are supporting him in his next project, to build a bigger school in Fuoni.
Hassan Jaffer and Feroz Jafferji, builders of the new school in Unguja Ukuu
Hassan and Feroz were school friends in Zanzibar in the 50s and 60s. After the Revolution their lives went in different directions. Hassan settled in Canada and had an illustrious career in corporate recovery and reorganisation practice, working on business assignments around the world. Meanwhile Feroz trained as a dental surgeon and practised in the UK. Feroz was always keen to share his skills with poor people around the world, often going on challenging field trips. But Zanzibar was often in his thoughts. In 2010 the friends reunited and worked with villagers in Unguja Ukuu to build a new primary school.
Ann Dieckmann and Caroline Richardson, Zanzibar Schools Project, Co-ordinators
Ann and Caroline first visited Zanzibar in 2011. They were inspired by the school and realized that this might be a great project for them to tackle together. Caroline is retired from a career in IT and Ann sold her medical communications business which meant she was also free to travel. In preparation for the project they learnt some basic Swahili and took a TEFL course.
When they arrived in Zanzibar they met with the Unguja Ukuu School Committee to hear what was needed and spent the first 7 weeks working with the teachers to improve their English as well as starting community English lessons. In January 2016 they worked with the school teachers to assist with aspects of curriculum development and Caroline set up a computer skills class for the teachers.
In October 2016 they hosted Gasica on his visit to the UK and helped him make the most of his visit professionally as well as introducing him to many aspects of British life. It was his first trip outside of Tanzania and as a result he has made many exciting connections to help him further his work in Zanzibar.
They returned to Zanzibar in November 2016 for a further 3 months of teaching and have developed two innovative courses - Study Skills for teenagers and Work Readiness for secondary school students. When they're not in Zanzibar they are busy raising money for Zanzibar Schools Project.
Sadiq Mshamu Sadiq, English teacher
Sadiq has a real passion for teaching. He primarily teaches the beginners class and is a big hit with the students. He's completed his education up to university level, just having sat his exams for a degree in Swahili and English Education at the Zanzibar Linguistic College. He has a lot of experience teaching and has developed a calm and friendly manner in the classroom which makes him a popular and approachable teacher. He's previously taught at Al Haromein International School, at ZL4LF for over three years, and has also taught reproductive health to young men at the Canadian Institute. He believes that sharing his knowledge has the ability to change lives in Zanzibar, and that being a teacher is a two-way exchange, where he learns as much as he teaches.
Mohamed Mkadam Kombo, English Teacher
Mohamed is running the advanced classes and preparing students for the debate competition in Dar es Salam.
Arshi Mohammed Ali, English Teacher
Arshi is teaching the youngest children in the beginners class. She is 19 years old and is a fluent English speaker. Her cousin encouraged her to study at Zanzibar Learning 4 Life Foundation as she needed to improve her English to succeed at school. Under Gasica’s tuition, she really excelled and was selected for a Rotary Scholarship to study at for a year at an American high school in St Petersburg, Florida. Her long term ambition is to become a doctor.
Chloe Lemoult-Wasserman, Volunteer teacher (March to November 2016 and April 2017)
Chloe made a massive difference to the English skills in Unguja Ukuu during her time in Zanzibar. She has developed many fantastic ideas including working with the students to come up with the name and a logo for "Safari English Club", initiating"Fun Thursdays" and taking the whole group on a residential English Immersion camp in Makunduchi. Everyone appreciated her living in the village and there's no doubt she also helped club memberse develop self-confidence in expressing themselves and pursuing their life goals.
Richard Harris, (Bigbamboo) Photographer
Richard is an award-winning, Australian-trained filmmaker with festival and broadcast credits, who has now turned his creative hand to photography. In January 2017 he visited Zanzibar and spent time in Unguja Ukuu documenting aspects of daily life in the village. Many of his beautiful photographs can be seen on our website.
The exciting project he is developing for Zanzibar Schools Project is called ‘A Week In My Life’ and involves teaching two groups of 10 children the basics of digital photography, then giving each of them a camera for a week. During this period they will take photos of every aspect of their school and family lives and the best images will be showcased in a traveling exhibition around Zanzibar and the mainland. To see more of Richard's photographs, please visit www.bigbamboo.photo/zanzibar-zsp.
Gail Arnesen, Volunteer Teacher
Gail has lived in Zanzibar for over 20 years. The people and place have given her so much over the years that she is always looking for ways to work with the community and more ways to give back a small portion of the warmth and kindness she has received. Recognising that this could really help make a difference, Gail plans to complete her TEFL course so she can me more effective as a volunteer English teacher. Gail is an active member of the Rotary Club of Zanzibar, Stone Town.
Robert Lindfield, Student Volunteer (August 2016), Microfinance (2017)
Rob is a college student from the Brighton area. He hopes to have a career in International Development in East Africa and is studying Swahili independently but is soon to take it up as a degree course. Through local charities and his own job in a Brighton Bistro, Rob has raised money towards the construction and decoration of the Unguja Ukuu Nursery School. He visited Zanzibar in the Summer of 2016 and plans to return after his A levels this year. During his time in Zanzibar he inspired many of the young people and at the same time improved his Swahili. As a result of his visit he learnt more about local culture and decided to set up a Microfinance scheme to help young people on the island. The scheme launched in 2017 and already a number of small businesses are underway.
Philip Barnes (alumni volunteer), Co-ordinator of the Digital Classroom Project (March to June 2016)
Philip has developed a career in international software development, applying his skills in remote locations to improve systems with technology. He has a Master’s degree in software development and travels much, working with a laptop and extra monitor carried in his suitcase. His contribution in Zanzibar involved gaining access to the program core of the Kiokit system to load resources specific to Teaching English as a Foreign Language for the school students at Unjugu Ukuu. He also ran computer classes for the teachers at the school to improve their computer literacy.