For the Ilula Orphan Program, education is a powerful and transformative vehicle for change. In addition to finding school sponsors for youth throughout the community, the IOP has created two schools, a library and a sports club in order to directly provide educational opportunities. Through its preschool and high school, the Ilula Orphan Program is committed to holistic education and nurturing a love of learning from a young age. With small class sizes and a ban of corporal punishment, teachers are able to establish a strong rapport.
Lord’s Hill High School
The Lord’s Hill High School opened in January of 2012. It currently has 153 students in Form 1 through Form 4 (equivalent to eighth to eleventh grade in the United States). The eight teachers at Lord’s Hill cover a range of subjects including: History, Social Science, Geography, English, Kiswahili, Math, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. As a boarding school, the high school provides each student with a bed and meals during the school year.
The facilities include the main building, which consists of six classrooms and an administrative office. The boy’s hostel provides living quarters for the male students. Currently, two rooms in the main building of the high school are being used as female quarters while the girl’s hostel is under construction.
IOP’s core values and mission are present in the teaching at the Lord’s Hill High School and greatly affect the quality of education that the students receive. As part of their weekly schedule, students participate in clubs and debates where they discuss controversial subjects with fellow students and teachers. This encourages students to develop critical thinking skills. They are able to master the material needed for exams and cultivate problem-solving skills.
Many of the teachers and administrators at Lord’s Hill believe that these differences set their school apart from other secondary schools in the region. Lord’s Hill placed second out of 38 schools in the region for the National Form 2 exams. In order for the first Form 4 class to take their national exam at the 2015, the construction of the Multipurpose Hall needs to be completed.
It costs 1.5 million Tanzanian shillings (approximately $750USD) for one year of education at Lord’s Hill High School. Of the 150 students at Lord’s Hill, the IOP Sponsorship Program sponsors 40 students. Many of these students will continue to be sponsored to the university level.
Kid’s Corner Preschool
The Kid’s Corner Preschool currently has 72 students, ranging from 3 to 6 years old. The preschool prepares students for primary school by teaching English and encouraging a love of learning. For 100,000TSH (approximately $50USD) per year, the school provides food daily (porridge, fruit, rice or beans), classroom instruction, learning materials, books, and a seat for every child. With four teachers and three assistants, the IOP preschool stands out with its low student to teacher ratio. In class, the students are taught ten subjects: English, Kiswahili, Math, Science, Geography, Traditional Dances, Good Manners, Religion, Materials and History. Thirty-five of the students are sponsored through IOP Sponsorship Program.
Library – Holland House of Books
The Holland House of Books is one of the Ilula Orphan Program’s most innovative projects. Beginning construction in July of 2010, the library building is nearing completion and aims at providing a safe and enriching environment for all ages in the whole community. Rooms are dedicated to servicing adults and children alike and the House of Books provides so much more than just literature. The building consists of four separate rooms: a Children’s Room, Adult’s Room, “Magic Room” and “Grandma’s Room,” each with their own functions.
The Children’s room will be for preschool and primary school aged students and will provide both books in English and Kiswahili as well as a safe space for them to play in when school gets out. The Adult’s room provides an enriching environment for all ages. The “Magic Room” is aimed at providing children with an opportunity to explore culture and the arts through projects and their imaginations. “Grandma’s Room” is a room dedicated to the idea of spreading the knowledge of older generations to the younger generations.
While there is a vision and purpose for each room, the library is still looking for donors to support its completion. The Holland House of Books has the potential of being the embodiment of a long-time vision of the founding director of IOP, Berit Skaare, who envisioned a safe and comfortable place, “to stretch the brains of everybody, to see how far we can push them into knowledge and education.”
Ilula Tigers Sports Club
The athletic department, the Ilula Tiger Sports Club is run by IOP Sports Officer, Adam Evarist. Football (soccer), volleyball and netball are all sports offered with the purpose of bringing all genders to a common ground, empowering youth and building community. This important program strives to teach about the possibilities and benefits of being involved with competitive sports activities. With more support from donors in outside countries, it is becoming more possible to draw more girls into the sports program.
In the future, the program hopes to introduce additional sports, including basketball, badminton and gymnastics. Currently, competitions are held on a soccer field next to the Ilula Orphan Center and the Ilula Tiger Sports Club aspire to add a second field and building to house the sports club and its equipment. There is room to make all of these possibilities happen with extra resources and help from donors.