Mary’s Mazinde Juu
St. Mary’s Mazinde Juu Secondary School is a girls’ boarding
school in the Usambara Mountains of northeastern Tanzania in East Africa.
Owned by the Catholic Diocese of Tanga, and run by local order of sisters,
it is affiliated with St. Paul’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery
in Newton, New Jersey. The manager of St. Mary’s is Father Damian
Milliken, a Benedictine priest from St. Paul’s who has taught in
Tanzania for 40 years.
Fewer than 5% of Tanzania’s young women receive a secondary education.
Without this education, they lack the skills necessary to help lead their
families, their communities, and their country to self – sufficiency
and economic stability.
St. Mary’s opened in 1989 with a group of 40 girls from the local
area. Since then, the school has expanded to serve over 250 Students,
and has grown from one building to a compound which includes classroom
and dormitories, an assembly hall seating 600, as well as physics and
chemistry/ biology labs, needlework and cookery rooms, and a 3,500 volume
library. All buildings are wire for electricity, with solar lighting units
so that students may study even during the frequent power outages.
Classes are taught in all academic subjects required by the Tanzanian
secondary syllabus: civics, Kiswahili (the national language), Geography,
History, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math, Domestic Science
(cookery, nutrition, and sewing), and Religion. St. Mary’s employs
20 qualified teachers, and several teaching assistants and support staff.
The project began in 1988, a joint effort of the Sister
of Mercy, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Nazareth College in Rochester,
New York, with the encouragement of Father Damian. Nazareth College provided
full tuition scholarships for the Tanzanian Sisters; other expenses are
paid with the help of a network of private sources and benefactors.
Since 1991, eight sisters have graduated with undergraduate degrees; two
have gone on to earn Master’s degrees. All have returned to teach
in Tanzanian schools.
The need is great for schools and qualified teachers, so that Tanzanian
children can hope for a better life than their parents have, and can help
lead their country to self-sufficiency and economic stability. The education
of Tanzanian women is an investment in the future of a Third World Country
that will pay tremendous dividends for generations to come.
“Rather than solving problems in Africa through outside intervention,
it is better to equip the Africans themselves with the education and expertise
they need to identity and solve their own problems”(Father
Damian Milliken, OSB)
For further information on St. Mary’s
school and the Tanzanian Sisters Project, please contact:
1. Sister Maura Wilson, SSJ
4095 East Avenue
Rochester, New York 14618
2. Sister Kathleen Milliken, RSM
1437 Blossom Road,
Rochester, New York 14610
(716) 288-2710, ext. 255
Contributions to St. Mary’s
Secondary School and the Tanzanian Sisters Project are welcome. Please
make checks out to the Sisters of Mercy or the Sisters of St. Joseph,
with a notation for the Tanzanian Sisters Project, or for St. Mary’s
“Our overriding concern is to make education available to the women
of Africa. When the women are empowered, I believe real change will begin…”
( Father Damian Millike)
Tanzania: Fast Facts.
1. Population: 30 million; Population/ sq. mile: 84; 15% live in urban
2. Size: 945,090 sq. km., approximately twice the size of California.
3. Religion: 33% Christian, 33% Muslim, 33% indigenous faiths.
4. Language: Tribal, Kiswahili and English.
5. Infant mortality rate is 1:10
6. Life expectancy: Men: 40.95 years. Women: 43.78 years.
7. Unemployment is as high as 80% in many areas.
8. Literacy rate (age 15 and over able to read and write in Kiswahili):
total: 59%; male: 71%; female: 48%.
9. Agriculture: over 90% of the active population relies on subsistence
farming as a major source of food.
St. Mary’s Mazinde Juu Secondary School, Box 90 Lushoto,
Tanzania, East Africa.