We build early learning eco-friendly children's villages and big, bright futures

Kesho Leo Children's Village

Kesho Leo Children's village in front of Mt KilimanjaroView of Mt. Meru from Kesho Leo

project

Kesho Leo Children's Village in Tanzania, East Africa. 'Kesho Leo' means 'tomorrow today' in kiswahili.

aim

To deliver an eco-friendly children's village with education, health and social facilities for vulnerable women and vulnerable and orphaned children in Tanzania, East Africa.

how we’re helping

Located on six acres in the Arusha region of Tanzania, close to Mount Kilimanjaro, Kesho Leo is based in a community that experiences high levels of entrenched poverty, HIV/AIDS, and physical, emotional and sexual violence towards women and children. Building began in 2007, and Kesho Leo is now a thriving eco-friendly residential, farming and community development hub. Kesho Leo offers:

·       Secure homes to house mamas and children in need. Kesho Leo’s seven house mamas came with their children for a better life and to help support services to other children. We have built 4 beautiful houses in the surrounding community and are planning to build the next 3 as soon as possible.

·       Child education services including on-site Chekechea (kindergarten), pre-primary and after-school tuition services attended by more than 120 local children each year and a community library. All resident children are supported to attend education and training through to young adulthood.

·       Care of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children we work closely with the appropriate authorities and are in a privileged position where we can care for 12 children. We provide all the necessary care for a child including nutrition, kind and supportive carers, cleaning, security, clothing and importantly social welfare support. 

·       Employment to an incredible team of around 35 Tanzanian staff including teachers, social welfare staff, security guards, farmers and builders, and managers.

·       Social welfare services including casework support for Kesho Leo residents and local families at crisis point, community social welfare education programs, and community access to employment opportunities, microfinance and income-generating initiatives.

·       A permaculture farm that produces organic vegetables, fruit, eggs, milk, fish and honey, demonstrating workable, eco-friendly farming alternatives. Kesho Leo provides affordable community training in organic vegetable growing, rainwater harvesting, permaculture design, composting, compost toilets and more. Kesho Leo also regularly delivers internationally-accredited Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses in English and Kiswahili.

·       Eco-friendly design and practice underpins all our work, and Kesho Leo’s central building won the 2010 National Australian Institute of Architects Award for International Architecture for its innovative design in response to the site, the climate, the needs of the residents, and locally-available resources.

evidence of how we’re helping the community

In 2008 we conducted initial research focusing on the local demographic and living standards of the area to assess the needs and priorities of the community. Read about the findings of our study in the. In 2013 we conducted a follow up community survey to see how life has changed for the community. We compiled these finding into a community profile and this will soon be available on our website. 

the structure

Kesho Leo Children's Village was built with the combined efforts of a volunteer team and local labourers. The structure consists of:

  • sleeping bomas under one continuous roof designed to maximise rain water collection—inside the bomas, there are separate sleeping rooms, which accommodate five children and one house mama, now we have orphaned and vulnerable children living in these bomas with carers
  • a live-in volunteer manager's residence
  • a nurse's medicine room 
  • an African-style kitchen area (complete with biogas cookers and passive cooling cupboards)
  • an early-learning and community centre
  • a library
  • composting toilets, water-saving shower rooms and a grey-water laundry
  • a secure lock-up container and computer storage room
  • an open-air communal dining room

the concept

Through the generous support of Golder Trust for Orphans and Cotton On Foundation we have been able to invest in permaculture systems to help sustain Kesho Leo village. This includes:

  • a large vegetable garden that provides food for the residents of Kesho Leo and left over vegetables are sold as income generation to support the project
  • healthy cows that provide milk that is sold to also increase the financial sustainability project

On the environmental front, we have opted for solar power energy, a biogas kitchen and massive rainwater harvesting scheme (which is especially significant given the ongoing water shortage in Tanzania). We use our local contacts for advice as well as professionals in the area of international aid and the environment. To find out more see our environment page.

The Kesho Leo early-learning and community centre is used to run kindergarten and preschool classes to Kesho Leo children and the wider communityin the morning from Monday to Friday. In the afternoon the space is used to provide after school tuition to primary and high school children. On the weekends we use this space to offer community education classes.

the cost

It costs approximately $150,000 to run Kesho Leo’s Children’s Village each year. We raise this money through:

  • generous corporate and individual donors (check out our corporate donors who we are extremely grateful to)
  • our generous Big Wheels $1200 program sponsors who contribute to our monthly operating costs
  • sales made through our online shop
  • our generous Families for Families sponsors who contribute to the costs of providing     accommodation, education, health and family support to the Kesho Leo families

want to know more?

For more detail on fws and how we run our Kesho Leo project, please download our brochure:
FWS_Foundations.pdf