Zach Louw, ‘Malecela Secondary School Tanzania’, 2016, Museum of African Design (MOAD)

“Before we arrived, this school was run by the Lutheran church” says Dennis the new principal of Malecela Secondary School in Tanzania. After an outcry from the community in the area and after seeing the poor educational progress, a decision was made to change the management and start a new phase of the school. “We are trying to improve the living conditions of the students here” says Dennis. “Some of the kids aren’t ready to learn psychologically, depending on where they are sleeping and eating, the situation is not good at all. The dormitories which are being used by the students are really in a horrible state. There is no ventilation and there are no more houses that can be lived in on the school property. The children, they live very far from the school and we decided that with our immediate funds we must start with the construction of new dormitories so that in the long run we will get scholars who don’t have to wake up at 4:30am to get to school by 7:30. It’s terrible, sometimes it rains and they come here soaked to the skin, shivering in class.”

Under new management lead by Dennis, their existing grade 8’s are sleeping in a converted computer lab. “We changed that so that those who are very small, who can’t walk long distances, can stay here. This is the new generation in our school and we need to start building.”

Pictured, Kelvin, a grade 8 student does his homework under his mosquito net in Malecela’s converted boys’ dormitory while a fellow classmate reaches for a soccer ball perched on top of the abandoned computers.