NTC began out of a desire to catalyze the energy and altruism of people in the developed world into positive change for people living in extreme poverty. Originally named Newton-Tanzania Collaborative, Inc. (NTC), NTC began in 2006 when Ross Lohr, then an economics student at Boston University, decided to do something about the poverty he was learning about in the classroom. He saw that people with the means and desire to help often became dissuaded from doing so because they did not see progress from their donations. He decided that a community-to-community model could address this issue by giving people an opportunity to form personal relationships. Through personal relationships, people see the effect that projects have on others’ lives. Donating to building a school library becomes a much more significant experience when you know the young boy reading the books in it, not to mention the book he is currently reading. Ross saw that these relationships are also important in their own right, as they help to dispel stereotypes and offer people opportunities to learn and benefit from each others’ rich and diverse experiences.
Ross won a grant from Boston University to develop such a relationship. He traveled to Tanzania to find a community interested in working with them and met with a number of communities. When they went to Kwala, however, it immediately became clear that they had met their match. The people of Kwala were passionate about improving their community and eager to form a partnership with others who wanted to help. A partnership was formed and an organization was born.
Since then, numerous individuals, schools, and institutions have realized the importance of fostering relationships in the developing world through NTC. What started with several boxes of cultural artifacts being exchange between Newton High Schools and Kwala Secondary School has blossomed into a relationship reaching far beyond its roots as a Newton-based organization. In 2010, the organization’s name was changed from Newton-Tanzania Collaborative, Inc. to simply NTC. Currently, NTC is hosting its second round of Project Directors living in Tanzania for one year periods as ambassadors to the Kwala Community.