auIn the small lake front village of Magu- Mwanza Tanzania near the Northwestern edge of the Serengeti National Park there is a teacher named Susan Nicholaus. Susan graduated with a teaching degree from college in Arusha, Tanzania and returned to her home town of Magu- Mwanza to educate the children of her small village. With no money and very little support Susan began to teach the local children by nailing a blackboard to a tree and gathering them for lessons. It was Susan's dream to teach these children the importance of education and help them to realize that there is a world outside of their small village.

Magu- Mwanza is a small fishing village on the shore of Lake Victoria. There is no electricity, no running water, and no bathrooms. There are groups of mud huts lining the shoreline with families and children scattered all around. There are a few cows and large birds that wander around and share the shores of Lake Victoria with the villagers. All use the lake for drinking, bathing, and fishing. Education is not valued by most of the inhabitants in this small fishing village as life is difficult. Young girls are required to take care of their siblings at an early age and are married by 12 or 13. The boys begin learning to fish by age 7 and will often need to fish rather than attend school.

In 2006 Susan met a local safari guide named Omari Mnyangala, owner of Lake Eyasi Expedition Co., and told him of her dream to open a school. In her dreams, this school would be free for all the children who wanted to attend, and she could give them a safe place to grow and learn. In 2007 Susan was introduced by Omari to an American, Dr. Richard Propper and his family who wanted to help her achieve that dream.

On Jan 19th of 2010 The Zariki Nursery and Primary School opened its doors to over 100 students. With very little local support and no financial backing besides from the Propper family, the school was opened with 9 staff members, 3 classrooms, and writing materials. Lessons are taught in both English and Swahili. In addition, to help the children grow and have enough energy to learn, Susan and her team provide the children with a hot meal every day and watch the kids as they play, learn, grow, and dream....

In July of 2010 Paige Sanborn and Nancy Israeli joined the efforts to support Zariki by donating gas powered generators, computers, internet service, and learning materials to Zariki. They visited the school and spent time with the children and teachers of Zariki learning what was needed to further their progress. When they returned to the U.S., they recruited the West Side School in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, to support a book drive and an education company, Learn360, to transport the books to Magu- Mwanza. The children of Cold Spring Harbor had the time of their lives making gym uniforms for the students of Zariki with the help of a local art studio, while the Tanazian kids loved having new clothes and had never seen nor dreamed of owning new books. With access to the internet, the learning possibilities for these children is now endless. In the near future we are hoping to teach the students to use the Internet to not only research the world around them, but to interact with children at other schools in both the U.S. and Africa. This will allow two classrooms, worlds apart, to share information through Internet pen pal programs and chatting capabilities.

Though today there are 200 students registered at Zariki, the attendance on any given day is typically only 60 children. During the rainy season many children cannot walk the 1 to 5 miles to the school and the trip becomes too dangerous with the cars and slippery wet, flooded roads. There are many children who do not attend consistently because they are needed to take care of their siblings and help support their families. Some children come to school wanting to learn, but there are some who are sent to school because it is the only place they will be fed. Zariki now gives the children porridge in the morning and a meal at lunch. This is typically the only food these children can rely on having every day.   Susan and the other teachers rotate checking in at the school on weekends because there are children that show up hungry and need to be fed.

zariki.org has been established to promote the education of these children. It is our hope to support the school until it can becomes self sufficient.   To do this we need to educate not only the children but the community at large as well.