Empower youth through education to create their own success and break the cycle of extreme poverty in Tanzania.
Jiamini gives holistic support to talented children most likely to be left behind by poverty. The barriers facing our students are significant but not insurmountable. Jiamini enables students to graduate, provide for their families, enrich their communities and change their nation. We aim to make a sustainable, lasting impact on our community, through empowering youth, improving educational facilities and delivering future leaders.
We aim to quantifiably elevate the level of access and quality of education for all children in Tanzania through open source scalable solutions and collaborative partnerships.
The name “Jiamini” was chosen by our students. The Swahili word translates to “believe in yourself”. We support our students to do just that – ultimately owning their personal, academic success.
Jiamini was founded by us, four friends who recognized an easy way to have a profound effect on a community in need. Education is the foundation of independence. Just one educated child can move an entire family out of poverty – an impact that can ultimately change a nation.
We founded Jiamini when we met a few students who were ardently dedicated to getting an education but who were going to be expelled for not paying their school fees. After realizing that these fees, which could lead to education and employment in place of illiteracy and poverty, were small by our standards, we knew that our friends would join us in taking action to change students’ lives and ultimately the lives of their families.
The First Class
Our friends and families immediately joined us by committing to sponsor 12 students – our first graduating class. We didn’t have designs on starting a non-profit and couldn’t have foreseen dedicating our lives to this cause. We simply saw a way to connect resources from our home to change the lives of a dozen children in Tanzania.
We spent the next year developing holistic support systems for our 12 students. We gave them safe living environments, access to healthcare, additional tutoring, and birth certificates – setting the foundation for their bright futures. We decided to accept 12 more students the next year and soon began expanding our operations to include infrastructure projects to improve local schools.
Growing Our Impact
Over the years we have grown into working with primary and secondary schools across Mtwara region and supporting more than 150 students at all stages of education. We’ve installed wells and water pumps, built latrines, set up solar panels, and delivered more than 1,000 textbooks. We now have special programs to empower girls, for children living on the street, and children living with HIV. We still connect with all of our students personally. Knowing their individual academic and familial circumstances allows us to support every aspect of their lives.
We believe we can have the broadest, most sustainable impact by operating within the Tanzanian educational system. We’ve partnered with the community and local school officials since the beginning – ensuring we find solutions together and build local capacity every step of the way.
We’ve learned a lot from over a decade doing this work, yet we run Jiamini today with the same principles and spirit on which it was founded: working with the community to provide individualized, comprehensive support to the area’s most vulnerable students, who have the ability to change their community if given the means to do so. We still run Jiamini on a volunteer basis, which allows every dollar we raise to be spent on our students and programs. Far more than any monetary compensation could provide, our long hours are rewarded by the success of our brilliant students and their wider communities.