Embark on a virtual tour of Kwala and NTC’s community projects using the color-coded map below. Descriptions and photographs will pop up below the map. Virtual Kwala will be updated with new videos and photographs weekly!
|Cultural Exchange||Our Projects||Our Process||Featured Visitors|
#1 A Tanzanian Classroom
Secondary School students learn Kiswahili, Civics, English, Mathematics, Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and History. In many classrooms, rote memorization is the method by which most students learn. Classes in secondary school are taught in English, while students learn in Kiswahili in primary school.
#2 Tanzanian Hospital
The Kwala Dispensary is run by two doctors, Dr. Mpili and Dr. Ngowa, and has a lab, a large waiting room, and an open doctor’s office. Like many small dispensaries in Tanzania, the Kwala Dispensary lacks many of the necessary resources to effectively treat its patients.
#3 Tanzanian Household
A visit inside a traditional Tanzanian household, made from mud and sticks with a grass roof.
#4 Historical Train Station
Kwala hosts a historical train station, built during the German colonial period in Tanzania in the late 1800’s. The station stopped serving customers in 2001, due to a decrease in farmers using the railway to transport rice to Dar es Salaam. However, trains still pass by, and the station is still very much a part of the Kwala community.
#5 Tanzanian Food
The Tanzanian diet is largely based on starches such as millet, sorghum, beans, pilaf, and cornmeal. A meal that could be considered the country’s national dish is ugali , a stiff porridge made of cassava flour, cornmeal, millet, or sorghum, and usually served with a sauce containing either meat, fish, beans, or cooked vegetables. It is typically eaten out of a large bowl that is shared by everyone at the table. Wali (rice) and various samaki (fish) cooked in coconut are the preferred staples for those living in coastal communities. Meat is not widely consumed in comparison with other areas of the continent. Cattle are normally slaughtered only for very special occasions, such as a wedding or the birth of a baby.
#6 Tanzanian Bongo Flava (Hip-hop)
Flava is a nickname for Tanzanian hip hop music. It could be translated as “Tanzanian Flavor”. The genre, which is based out of the city of Dar es Salaam, takes its name from the Swahili word ubongo, meaning “brain”. Bongo Flava incorporates Afrobeat and arabesque melodies, dancehall and hip hop beats, Swahili lyrics and English phrases, combining aspects of the global hip hop scene with an East African flavor to form a unique style of music. In 2010, students from Oak Hill Middle School made a collaborative hip-hop album with students from Kwala Secondary School. The audio was taken from a Kwala Secondary School Bongo Flava performance, recorded entirely by students from the school.
Ngoma literally translated means ‘drum’ and is a term used to encompass all local traditional forms of dancing, drumming and singing. There are literally hundreds of different ngoma styles throughout Tanzania, variations often being so slight that untrained eyes and ears can hardly notice the difference. Students at Kwala Secondary School and Mahundi Primary School often perform ngoma for new visitors in the community as a way of welcoming them at their school.
#7 Tanzanian Soccer
Soccer is the most popular sport in Tanzania. Kwala hosts two village teams, Kwala United and Dolphin Sports Club, while each school hosts a team as well. This match was a friendly between Dolphin Sports Club and the Kwala Secondary School team.
#8 Tanzanian Store
Kwala is comprised of many small shops and businesses, including butcheries, convenience stores, pharmacies, workshops. Here you can buy phone cards, water, soda, groceries, and medicine.
#9 Girls Scholarship Program
Women are the future of Tanzania – girls who complete their secondary education become educated and empowered women whose own daughters are free of past vicious cycles of poor education, pregnancy and poverty. Since 2009, NTC has supported girls identified as “at severe risk of dropping out of school” by the female staff at Kwala Secondary School, giving girls that are most at risk the opportunity to continue their education or find jobs in the Tanzanian workforce. Scholarships cost 300 dollars per year and include everything a girl needs to stay at school and live a healthy lifestyle. NTC will also sends pictures, letters, and updates to sponsors. Click here to sponsor a girl today!
#10 Water Harvesting
In 2010, the NTC Kwala Committee proposed the construction of a 70,000 liter water harvesting system at Kwala Secondary School to collect water from the school’s roofs and store enough water from the community source to eliminate the risk of running out of water due to the community water pump breaking. The system will ensure that water will be available at all times for cooking, cleaning, and using the toilets. The school can now also participate in agricultural projects to grow food for consumption and to sell to benefit the school. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!
#11 Solar Powered Computer Lab
In February, 2010, NTC partnered with Smallbean, Inc. to build a solar powered computer lab at Kwala Secondary School. The lab, featuring 10 netbook computers charged by a solar suitcase, allows students to learn necessary computer skills that will help them enter the Tanzanian workforce after school is finished or compete at the secondary ‘A’ level of schooling. Students also participated in Smallbean’s Citizen Archivist Project, teaching skills to document components of Tanzanian culture using cameras and audio recording devices and upload them to a digital archive. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!
Often in Tanzania, students, and particularly girls, leave school when there is not an appropriate place to use the bathroom. Until 2009, Kwala Secondary School had four unsanitary latrines with no separation between boys latrines and girls latrines. In July, 2009, participants in NTC’s group trip to Kwala help construct eight new modern latrines at Kwala Secondary School and one latrine for the teachers, giving students a comfortable place to use the bathroom during school and keeping them at school throughout the day.
#13 KWASS Mural
On NTC’s 2009 group trip to Kwala, Jackie Schon collaborated with students and teachers to create a mural on one of Kwala Secondary School’s walls. The mural, celebrating the relationship between Newton and Kwala and NTC’s work at the school, was a combination of design submissions from Kwala Secondary School students. Students also helped paint the mural, with guidance from Jackie. Without appropriate resources, art projects are a rare opportunity for many Tanzanian students. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!
#14 Mahundi Library
In April, 2010, 23 members from the Brooklyn Free School in New York visited Kwala and funded and helped with the construction of a new library at Mahundi Primary School. NaWewe and volunteer Judy Citron pitched in to purchase new textbooks for the school, a huge step for a school that previously had zero textbooks. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!
#15 KWASS Library
In 2008 and 2009, students from Newton South and Newton North High Schools raised enough money to purchase 1,300 textbooks for Kwala Secondary School and build a secure library to store the books. Previously, Kwala Secondary School had zero textbooks for its 400 students, forcing students to learn exclusively from lectures during class and not allowing for after-school studying. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!
#16 Village Reading Corner
Reading is not understood as a leisure activity in Tanzania. In fact, most children in Tanzania never own a book or are read to out loud, and, as a result, struggle with illiteracy throughout their lives. NTC’s Village Reading Corner has created a culture of literacy throughout the Kwala community. Each week, NTC’s Girls Scholarship recipients serve as community volunteers, reading out loud to hundreds of primary school-aged children at the weekly Village Reading Corner. They also visit homes and demonstrate to parents how to read out loud to children, and present the family with a copy of the book. Find out how you can give the gift of reading to children in Kwala or connect your students through reading by visiting our Village Reading Corner page!
#17 Mahundi Playground
In April, 2010, members from the Brooklyn Free School visited Kwala through NTC and constructed a playground at Mahundi Primary School. From morning to night, students line up to use the playground. According to Wazael Gunda, the headmaster of Mahundi Primary School, the playground has already improved morning attendance at the school by enticing students to arrive at school early. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!
#18 Josephine’s Bookshop
In 2010, NTC’s Village Reading Corner, Early Children’s Literacy, and classroom cultural exchange reading initiatives spread the love of reading throughout Kwala – mothers reading with their children, large groups of children swarming around the scholarship girls as they read aloud in the village center, and books becoming students’ prized possessions. Knowing that literacy is the linchpin of opportunities for these children, seeing this happen has been immensely gratifying. In June, 2010, local shop owner Josephina Gunda started selling affordably-priced books to children and adults throughout the community at Kwala’s first bookshop. Josephine purchases books from NTC’s partner publishing company, Mkuki Na Nyota, at a NTC-subsidized rate and sells them at her new bookshop. Further, NTC introduced positive reinforcement at Mahundi Primary School by setting up a voucher system with Josephine’s Book Store that allowed teachers to reward exceptional students with a book voucher redeemable for one free book at the bookstore. Find out how you can make affordable children’s books available to all children in Kwala by visiting the Village Reading Corner page!
#19 Early Children’s Reading Program
Each week, NTC’s girls scholarship recipients visit homes in Kwala and read Village Reading Corner stories to children, modeling to parents how to read out loud to their children and explaining the benefits of reading to children in general. Families are presented with a copy of the book to keep. Find out how you can make affordable children’s books available to all children in Kwala by visiting the Village Reading Corner page!
#20 Classroom Exchange
In 2010, 3rd grade students from Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton partnered with a Standard 5 classroom at Mahundi Primary School to read The Story of the Crow and the Frog by Tanzanian author Walter Bgoya. Students read the book as a class and discussed the moral of the story, and then completed a worksheet asking students questions about daily life and to illustrate their favorite scene from the book. Worksheets were then copied and distributed to all participating students, and all students were allowed to keep a copy of the book. Find out how you can connect your classroom through meaningful cultural exchange with a classroom in Tanzania on the Village Reading Corner page!
#21 Judy Citron
In February, 2010, Judy Citron, a volunteer from Peabody, Massachusetts, raised enough money from friends and family to purchase hundreds of textbooks and recreational books for children at Mahundi Primary School. Equally as impressive, Judy spent a week in Kwala, where she brought the books to the school, taught classes at Mahundi Primary School and Kwala Secondary School, and instructed teachers at Mahundi Primary School how to most effectively use the textbooks in their classes. Prior to Judy’s generous donation, Mahundi Primary School had no textbooks for its 600 students. Interested in visiting or volunteering in Kwala? Click here!
#22 Alan Rosenbaum
In July, 2010, Alan Rosenbaum, a first year medical student from the University of Pittsburgh, spent two months in Kwala volunteering at the Kwala medical dispensary. Alan was the first NTC volunteer to establish a connection with the clinic and has opened the doors to an on-going relationship. Alan identified several major health needs in community and is already working with the Kwala community and NTC to establish sex-education in the community to help prevent unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other STD’s. Interested in visiting or volunteer in Kwala? Click here!
#23 Adrian Coyne
In February, 2010, Boston University student Adrian Coyne took a semester off from school to teach English at Kwala Secondary School and assist NTC’s Project Director in Kwala for four months. An education major at Boston University, teaching in Tanzania was a unique and enlightening opportunity for Adrian. Interested in visiting or volunteering in Kwala? Click here!
#24 2009 Group Trip
In July, 2009, seven people from Newton, MA and one from Minnesota embarked on a two-week trip to Tanzania to learn about Tanzania’s culture, work on projects in Kwala, and do some sight-seeing. The group of volunteers helped build eight new latrines at Kwala Secondary School (a project funded by NTC Club at Newton South and Peet’s Coffee in Newton), painted a collaborative mural with Kwala students representing NTC’s mission with Kwala’s students, planted trees at Kwala Secondary School, and had a special visit with NTC”s scholarship girls. Between learning about Tanzanian culture and working on the community service projects, the group also took some time to tour Dar es Salaam and visit Mikumi National Park for a quick safari. Interested in joining a group trip to Tanzania? Click here!
#25 Brooklyn Free School Trip
In March, 2010, 23 members from the Brooklyn Free School community traveled to Kwala with NTC to visit Kwala Secondary School and Mahundi Primary School, connect with the local community, and complete several projects at Mahundi Primary School. The group funded the construction of a library and a playground, and painted a mural at the school, while participating in cultural exchange activities with students, teachers, and community members throughout the week. Interested in traveling to Tanzania with a group? Click here!
#26 NTC Kwala Committee
The NTC Kwala Committee, comprised of twelve community leaders and NTC’s Project Directors meets monthly to discuss projects. Several times a year, project proposals are accepted at these meetings, proposed by committee members, including school headmasters, village chairpersons and health center workers. In order to propose a project, a formal proposal and budget must be submitted. NTC offers training in these areas for those who wish to have it. Once proposals are made, they are voted on and those that receive the greatest number of votes are selected for implementation. As projects begin, they are monitored to make sure they are meeting their intended goals. If issues arise, they are discussed informally or at the next meeting so that they can be properly addressed. To make a contribution to the NTC Kwala Committee Fund, click here!!
#27 NTC Project Directors
NTC Project Directors live in Kwala for one year periods and as visitors to the community their proposals are limited to a few areas, including literacy and the girl’s scholarship program. By requesting project proposals primarily from Kwala residents, we honor the vision that they have for their community and acknowledge their often deeper understanding of their needs. In September, 2009, Lisa Walker became NTC’s first in-field Project Director. She has since trained two new Project Directors, who will live in Kwala for the upcoming year.