Heri Special School, Mporoto, Tanzania

working with the St. Jude Foundation, registered charity no. 800451

Please help us to raise money for The Heri Special School at Mporoto, Tanzania

Tanzania, in East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Although the Tanzanian government's policy is that all children should be entitled to primary education, this does not, in practice, extend to handicapped or disabled children, who are mostly kept at home; in many cases their families are ashamed for them to be seen. This was the situation at Mporoto, a large village near the town of Mbeya in the south-west of Tanzania.

A teacher called Egha Egha visited Mporoto and was so distressed by what he saw that he made a big decision, – to leave his teaching job and set up a special school for the disabled children of Mporoto. For the next few years, with great difficulty, Mr Egha kept the school going, using various rented buildings (one of which was destroyed by a storm!). The school received no state support, and the pupils' parents were too poor to pay school fees; so Mr Egha started a small farm to provide funds for the school, growing maize and other crops and vegetables for sale, with the help of the pupils' parents (this work continues today.)

Mr Egha calls his school "Heri Special School”, “Heri” is the Swahili word for “happiness”.

In 2005, with the support of the St. Jude Foundation, Mr Egha began the task of providing a permanent building for his school at Mporoto. A piece of land was bought, plans were drawn up, and work began on laying the foundations of the building. Since then, the building work has continued slowly but steadily; the rate of progress has depended (and still depends) on the ability of the St. Jude Foundation to raise enough funds to keep the work going.

Currently, in 2015, there are 41 students who use the school, 10 of the students are disabled. Some of the disabled children are taught at their homes by the Heri Special School staff.

Looking to the Future

If and when the new Heri Special School is completed and functioning effectively as a special school, our long-term aim is to make it a model which could be followed elsewhere in Tanzania and further afield. The need is great: two shocking statistics were recently published in "Developments", the magazine of the (British) Department for International Development:

(1) Throughout the world, 27 million disabled children are unable to go to school.

(2) Of all the disabled children in the world, only 2% receive an education.

The establishment of Heri Special School will be one small step towards putting this right. Please help us!

Click here to read the latest news about the St Jude Foundation and Heri Special School.

Mporoto is in the Rungwe district, to the South East of Mbeya City, in the South West of Tanzania

2005 - laying the foundations

2006 - the walls are built 

2007 - building the roof 

2008 - water supply fitted

2009 - new toilet block

2010 - a teaching session in progress

2011 - completing the plastering of the school walls 

2012 - "nursery" class taking place in one of the painted and decorated classrooms 

2013 - building a defensive wall against future floods