The Steven Tito Academy is a green, English Medium school located on the Shamba. STA serves a very special population of students in Bagamoyo- those who have displayed a high aptitude for learning but who cannot afford an English medium school. Just as the Baobab orphanage is deliberately kept small and personal, school size will be kept small in order to allow teachers to pay attention to children’s learning style so that they may fully recognize their potential.
Many people assume that a 21st century curriculum means a ‘high tech’. In Tanzania, agriculture skills are extremely important to one’s livelihood. In fact, given the global economy and global food crisis, while technology is important, farming and environmental studies are the type of knowledge that will be critical and highly valued in the near future. In order to keep the new generation self-reliant, farming and agriculture is an integrative aspect of STA’s curriculum. STA students will know how to navigate a computer AND how to grow their own food.
STA is a well diverse school mirroring the demographics of Bagamoyo. At almost twice the national average, approximately 10% of Bagamoyans are living with HIV/AIDS; therefore, this same percentage is reflected in the student body as well.
In keeping with Baobab’s fierce dedication to those in need, the student’s families bear no fiscal responsibility. The school relies solely on individual student sponsorships from abroad. Baobab strives to minimize the ideal of free hand outs; thus, the families will be asked to provide a minimal amount of service or trade to Baobab in order to foster responsibility.
Providing access to quality education in Tanzania is our utmost objective.
The school is named in honor of a delightful boy, Steven Tito, who was with Baobab for many years. Steven passed away from advanced Kaposis Sarcoma Cancer compromised by AIDS. Steve was an asset to the Baobab family; he was a catalyst for our growth and understanding of older children with HIV.
Very special thanks to STA’s donors for allowing Steve’s memory to live on and serve the children of Tanzania.
Jim & Tony- Principal funders of the building
Trinity Episcopalian Cathedral in Phoenix
Ingrid of the UK
Mission & Goals
Our Mission is to provide high quality education to children with high academic potential and low economic means.
Educating the Poor
STA ensures excellence in education to students who meet the academic qualification, regardless of financial solvency of the families. The three existing private primary schools in Bagamoyo cater almost exclusively to those wealthy enough to afford them. We believe that there are children born poor but with above average abilities who could benefit greatly from private, English medium tutelage and go on to raise their families out of poverty. These ‘diamonds in the rough’ are who we aim to find and help develop to their fullest potential. In addition, there is currently no primary school in our area and many children are not attending school at all.
Keeping Agriculture Alive
For many years Tanzanian public primary schools had gardens, but they were mainly for vocational training and cost reduction and thus fell out of favor in a rapidly modernizing world. Today even many rural children are losing a connection to the importance of Tanzanian agriculture. They know “sembe” only as purchased by the kilo, not by how it is grown. Given the global food crisis, we feel this is unacceptable.
Whether a student goes on to University or stops his/her education at Standard 7, our aim is that they know the importance of a balanced diet in disease prevention and can be self-reliant. STA students will know native plants and how they are beneficial to health. According to the Agricultural Council of Tanzania, there needs to be a ‘green revolution’ in this country. STA wants to be an integral part of this reform.
STA is an English Medium Day school, with English being taught predominantly by native English speakers. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” Therefore, a student learning any language from a non- native speaker is at a disadvantage. We aim to give our students superior English language instruction.
Promoting Proper Nutrition
In the mornings, students are served uji, a substantial and nutritious porridge, as opposed to the common, yet nutritionally void sembe. Lunch is a nutritious VARIETY of vegetables cooked with coconut or minimal oil. Raw, cruciferous vegetables will be served regularly in order to develop good eating habits as these are known to prevent cancer. Sugar consumption is to be kept to a minimum. No soda or manufactured juices are permitted on campus.
The agricultural based curriculum not only serves as learning and cost cutting tools, but also promotes healthy eating. Students’ meals are made from the produce yielded from the farm; thus, instilling the importance of a fruits and vegetables heavy diet.
Empowering HIV+ Children
Unfortunately, it is a common practice to discriminate against and discount individuals living with HIV/AIDS. STA maintains a quite contradictory belief. We welcome and embrace all students who meets the academic requirements, regardless of HIV status. The HIV+ population of our student body reflects the community at large- about 10%. It is critical that HIV+ children are taught good nutrition habits and grow up in an environment where they are treated respectfully and understand the virus that they live with. We are familiar with all the positive children in Bagamoyo and therefore selection will be simple.
Schooling Fees: Sponsorships Abroad and Family Contribution
Individual Sponsorship from Abroad
All children attending STA will be sponsored. Donors will be required to sign a multi- year sponsorship agreement that commits them to paying all school fees for 7 years. We will increase our enrollment according to the number of sponsors we have therefore we will never exceed our means. Just as our orphanage is small and provides high quality care, we will keep STA small. It is our intention to never exceed 160 students unless there is a dramatic increase in demand or funding. We want to ensure that every one of our students gets the best English education.
The immense lack of equality in educational standards and availability to the poor justifies the need for the STA. Therefore, the absence of high quality education for the poor validates the investment.
In addition to overseas sponsors parents and/or family of students will be expected to contribute to the STA community life. Parents are the most important stakeholders in a child’s education and our goal is to get a student’s family involved in all aspects of the child’s education. Since many children will come from families who lack formal education, we think this is important. It will also improve the delivery of the nutritional message being promoted. We also believe it’s valuable to have the families contribute in some way, rather than to perpetuate the belief that foreign sponsorship is total.