JoAnn McManus Academy, named in honor of a Massachusetts educator who provided curriculum support when the school first opened, is a primary school located in the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam. The school was founded by Juliet Laizer, a young teacher with a dream of providing a quality education to children in poor neighborhoods where the only other educational option is the overcrowded, underfunded government schools. Juliet and her small staff of teachers left Sherry Fine Academy to start their own school in 2012. They educate more than 50 children in two small rooms.
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The shoestring budget at JMA comes from minimal fees that are charged the families of the students. The budget is supplemented by donations from LWCF. These funds have provided some basic necessities such as pencils, paper and other teaching supplies. LWCF’s donation of a laptop computer and a printer gives teachers new options to create and print out student exams. In addition, they have been able to access professional development and curriculum resources on the internet. The school has had the challenge of flooding in the rainy season. We are working to fund a small stipend for teachers, who are currently volunteers, to improve the turnover rate and a van which would provide the transportation needed for children in more remote areas and in inclement weather.