History of Karatu Education Fund
Karatu Education Fund was started in 2000 by Dale Jensen, American National and former General Manager of Gibb’s Farm.
When Dale and his wife Elena came to work at Gibb’s Farm they immediately took an intimate interest in their community of Karatu. They visited the schools frequently and befriended many people in the villages surrounding the Farm.
They thought it would be a unique and interesting experience for guests of Gibb’s Farm to be able to walk through the village and visit the local schools, to meet children and observe first-hand the very real hardships facing Tanzanian children today.
Almost instantly Dale began to receive cash and material donations from guests who wanted to help to improve the state of the schools. The need for someone to manage these funds became evident very quickly, and Dale, together with his Tanzanian colleagues, started an official NGO.
With the help of Elena, he began to identify needs in the village. The first school to receive assistance was the Karatu Secondary School. The girls’ dormitory had an old electrical system that was no longer operational. After an initial estimate of $300, KEF was able to secure the funds to upgrade the system. The girls can now study after dark.
Contributions continued to come in, and in 2001, with a substantial donation from the Rotary Club in the United States, KEF built a classroom and additional toilet facilities at Tloma Primary School.
The Karatu Ganako Library
More recently, in 2010 KEF has assisted in the building of a new library at Ganako Secondary school. This library will be used for both the school and the community, making it the first community library in the Karatu district. The library was built using a sustainable building technique called CESB "compressed stabilized earth blocks". The building was entirely built by local workers, who were trained in the sustainable and earth friendly building techniques of compressed earth bricks by the French architect Satprem Maini from the Auroville Earth Institute and Alberto Navarro of the program Bricks for Life. For more information on this building technique, visit the site 'Bricks for Life'. The project was the first building of its kind in Tanzania and the goal is to continue these training programs and provide local workers with the skills to both build their own structures and create local jobs while assisting the community with sustainable housing and structures.
In 2010 KEF built additional desks at Tloma Primary School.
2011 projects include continue to provide the library with assistance through book donations, librarian training programs, computer lab and assisting in setting up community programs for both adult, family and early childhood reading.
- continue scholarship program for students in Karatu district
- provide computer training for the school and community.
Past projects built additional desks at Ayalabe Primary School. In 2005, KEF helped to build a teacher’s house at Tloma Primary School. In 2006, KEF facilitated the building of 10 latrines at Ayalabe Primary School.
Dale and Elena lived and worked at Gibb’s Farm for 7 years. Although they have recently relocated to the U.S, they still remain very closely connected to Tanzania. Dale continues as KEF President, with 4 directors on site in Karatu to manage projects and local funds.
Although KEF continues to receive donations from guests to Gibb’s Farm, we also hold annual fund-raising events in the U.S. and we have an ever-growing mailing list of prospective donors. Please contact us if you’re interested in contributing.