The Toa Nafasi Project is an educational program, not a separate centre or school, that aims to support grade one and two students in the Tanzanian school system who are experiencing learning difficulties. We train young women from the local community as tutors for these students and provide medical and psychosocial referrals. In 2019, The Project expects to expand to an additional five schools to operate in a total of nine schools with 27 total tutors to assist more than 550 schoolchildren.
The education sector in Tanzania is not equipped to accommodate the individual learning needs of each student. Consequently, students with learning difficulties are often unable to fully participate in and benefit from their education. There are very limited resources for students with special needs, particularly those with needs as subtle and complex as learning difficulties. Such students are often misunderstood and perceived as problems rather than as having an actual learning difficulty.
The Toa Nafasi Project identifies and assesses struggling primary school students in Tanzania who are experiencing learning difficulties. Those with learning difficulties are incorporated into a "pullout program," consisting of lessons based on the Tanzanian national curriculum but modified for one-on-one, group, and peer-to-peer work. Those students with medical needs (eg requiring glasses) or psychosocial issues (eg sexual abuse trauma) are referred to appropriate health care professionals.
Our long-term impact involves bringing The Toa Nafasi Project to more students, schools and regions in Tanzania and supporting more women in the community to be trained and employed as tutors. The Project's pullout program for struggling learners is designed to be implemented in any school anywhere in the country. Our impact is supported by our public-private partnership where government authorities value The Project and see it as relevant to the needs of children with learning difficulties.