In its continuing mission to spread and protect knowledge around the world, the Acronis Foundation marked a new milestone last week by opening a school in the small village of Loongung, Tanzania. The new school, which was built in partnership with the local community and the German-based non-profit Fly & Help, will provide more than 500 children with access to education.
While Acronis funded the school and it was constructed in partnership between the Acronis Foundation and Fly & Help, ensuring the villagers retained total control over their children’s education was of the utmost importance. That is why the school building has been donated to Loongung with no strings attached.
Where is Loongung?
The east African nation of Tanzania remains an impoverished country, fractured along social, ethnic, racial, and religious lines. The non-profit nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch notes that 21 percent of girls aged 15-19 have given birth and 40 percent of girls are married before their 18th birthday.
While a declining poverty rate and Five-Year Development plan indicate an upward trend for the country, many of these improvements remain split on urban-rural lines, leaving many remote regions without basic necessities.
In the midst of the political and social unrest sits the small village of Loongung.
The need for a school
Located 20 kilometers away from the closest school, Loongung has a population of over 3,000 – at least 500 of whom are children. The distance to the nearest school made education nearly impossible, and yet, the community remained dedicated to providing an education. In 2015, Loongung hired a teacher to create a kindergarten program. Since then, the program expanded into grades one, two, and three.
The 2018 school year expected to see 75 students in all – 49 boys and 26 girls. The classes, which are held outside of the teacher's home, have educated a total of 115 children. Despite the community's commitment to education, these children represent less than 19 percent of those in the village. Poverty and lack of basic amenities – including sanitation, water, fuel, medical services and social services – kept many children from attending classes.
The new school’s facilities
That changed this week when the new Acronis Foundation school opened in Loongung. Starting with two classrooms, the building will have 46 pupil's desks and 16 separated toilets for boys and girls. With children attending classes in morning and afternoon shifts, the school can now accommodate more than the current expected class, opening up more opportunities for the village youth.
Ultimately, the project intends to provide a space that welcomes at least 567 children, as well as their teachers in a safe, sanitary, and healthy learning environment. The teachers can now better align their coursework to Tanzania's educational standards, providing the needed literacy and mathematical skills that can help create a stronger community and greater opportunity for all.
The village will hire its own teachers to control the education and cater to its particular needs without relying on outside influences. The Acronis Foundation provided the necessary tools and resources so that the village and parents of Loongung can make the decisions that best benefit their children.
History of the Acronis Foundation
Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection and hybrid cloud solutions, believes that education is a fundamental right and that knowledge should be available to all. Constant learning, creating and protecting knowledge, and advancing technology are integral parts of Acronis’ DNA. As a result, Acronis has been creating and sharing knowledge by funding schools, research, and training programs in communities around the world.
With that belief in mind, the company celebrated its 15-year anniversary by establishing The Acronis Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to support multiple initiatives around the world designed to stimulate education in order to gain and protect knowledge.
The first program undertaken by the new non-profit is the Acronis Foundation's Schools Initiative, which builds schools that meet the unique needs of each community to help children take the first step on the path to opportunity.
The next school location
Next month, the Acronis Foundation's Schools Initiative will visit Senegal.
Tralac, a South African based policy center, notes that despite economic growth, unemployment continues to increase in Senegal. The research organization attributes this increase to skills shortages, continued labor market problems, and high labor costs.
In an effort to help close the skills gap, the Acronis Foundation's Schools Initiative is working with buildOn, an international non-profit organization that takes teams from Fortune-500 companies to builds schools in developing countries, to establish a school for 50 students. The Acronis team is not just providing money and resources, however – 20 Acronis employees will be traveling to Senegal to help build the school in November 2018.
“This new and exciting adventure starts here today and we hope that it will plant the seeds of opportunity for individuals, families, and the community,” said John Zanni, president of the Acronis Foundation.
To learn more about Loongung school project, or to read more about the Acronis Foundation’s important mission, visit: https://acronis.org/schools-initiative/tanzania-loongung/