Red Sweater Project collaborates with developing communities to create affordable, accessible and advanced educational opportunities for children in rural Tanzania.
The average family income in rural Tanzania is roughly US $200 per year, while average secondary school and boarding school fees are $500. Over 90% of families cannot afford boarding schools, but they can pay $20 per year to send their child to an affordable institution like The Mungere School.
Tanzania is suffering from a shortage of teachers and school buildings, and children living in rural areas must travel long distances or attend expensive boarding schools. Red Sweater Project operates schools within villages, providing education and health services within the community.
Education is about more than test scores – it's about critical thinking, innovation and solutions. By creating educational institutions that utilize renewable energy to power computers and provide access the internet, we equip each child with skills that lead to success in a 21st century world. At The Mungere School, courses offered in business development encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, while vocational courses develop real-life skills that lead to employment and self-sufficiency.
When the organization's idea for constructing secondary schools for children living in rural tribal areas first occured in 2005, it wanted to reflect a commitment to future development, but also a preservation of the past. With a student enrollment from 20 tribes with over 40% from the iconic Maasai tribe, this was shown in the selection of uniform color as the tribe can always be seen wearing their traditional red and blue sari-like rubegas.
Research has also proven that secondary school training for girls in the developing world has a higher return on investment than any other effort. Therefore, while Red Sweater Project schools enroll both boys and girls, a focus is placed on ensuring girls complete their secondary training.
The mission of Red Sweater Project is to put as many children in red sweaters as possible to readily equip students with adequate skills for the work force, directly combating the cycle of extreme poverty.
Of all countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Loaiza and Lloyd (2008) discovered Tanzania ranked lowest in secondary school completion rates of girls, aged 19. Psacharopoulos and Patrinos (2004) discovered that the economic return on investment is higher for females than males when both receive secondary education training.