"Aspiring to give children the best start in life"

What you imagine, you become

About Us

Masha and Gasper en-route to summit Mt. Meru – July 2011

Ikirwa School was jointly established in 2011 by Maria (Masha) Skuratovskaya and Gasper Mbise, endeavoring to secure the best possible start in life for the children on Meru’s southern slopes.

The idea for this project was born during a camp-fire conversation between a Tanzanian guide and a Russian-American tourist. Gasper had a dream to build a school in his home village of Midawe to give local children access to English-language education and significantly improve their future academic and employment opportunities. After spending close to a decade managing World Bank capital, Masha was looking for a way to make a tangible contribution to development.

 Our project’s goal is to provide the option of English language instruction to the children of Midawe and nearby villages. We will leverage resources offered by many volunteer organizations and the NGOs in both providing instruction and education materials to offer world-class quality academic instruction to the students as well as career development opportunities for the teachers.  We are taking a multi-phase approach to building and establishing this school, starting with kindergarten classes and organically growing the school into a single-stream education program for up to 300 students. Our goal is to ensure that all our students score in the top quartile of the TOEFL test at the time of graduation and the Tanzanian instructors within 2 years of joining the staff. Up to 20% of spots will be allocated for underprivileged children of Midawe.

Our vision is to build a small school that makes a big difference and stands on its own without depending on outside donors for day to day operations. We intend to grow organically and pragmatically, building a track record and using our success to attract donor funds for capital improvements.

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Ikirwa School Project

School Construction Fundraising

As of May 15, 2014 we have raised $15,000 towards our $60,000 goal, which means that we can build one classroom to house our 3rd graders in 2015.

Thank you all for contributing!

Ikirwa School enrollment is growing rapidly and we are going to outgrow our existing 4 classrooms at the end of 2014. We are raising funds for the next phase of construction. It will cost us $60,000 to build 4 more  classrooms and a dormitory for boys and girls and bring the capacity of the school to 120 children. Please help us reach this goal by making a contribution to our campaign.

 Our volunteers have undertaken several initiatives to help reach our fundraising goal. 


“The Ikirwa Ride” Fundraiser 2013 

Our volunteer, Sergey Rudyak rode his bicycle from Connecticut to Alaska to raise funds for our project and spread the word about our organization.

From June to September we have raised $8,500 towards our $45,000 goal. Thank you to all who have donated via our Indiegogo campaign, attended our happy hours and contributed in every which way!


Ikirwa School Project

Volunteer Trekking Experience

Ikirwa School is proud to partner with our long-term supporter, Top of Africa trekking company (www.topafricatrek.com), to develop a tour package that combines Tanzania’s top tourist activities with an opportunity to meet and get to know the local people and children in a way tourist seldom experience.

The vision of the Ikirwa School is to provide children from the foothills of Mt. Meru with access to world-class education. Through providing quality  instruction English and Swahili, the school is giving the children an opportunity to be competitive in the global market and open doors for higher education.  When we empower children with good education, we build their self-esteem and confidence to succeed as well as nurture their desire to learn and contribute to society.

By joining Top of Africa’s international team of men and women for a fun and meaningful volunteer experience you will have the opportunity to not only participate in a Safari or trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro but also make a direct impact on the lives of local children. We offer an opportunity to serve and connect with the Ikirwa School students in a tangible and personal way through teaching, tutoring, playing and conversations.

Teams of Top of Africa volunteers will carry out short academic and athletic projects and programs  that compliment the curriculum, giving the children a chance to learn about diverse cultures and sharpen academic and athletic skills.

100% of your contribution to the Trekking/Volunteer Service Program and your international flight will be tax deductible.

  • March 2014 or November 2014 :  12 days in Tanzania
  • March Trek: $1900 USD, €1400
  • November Trek:$1900 USD, €1400
  • Groups of 3 or more would receive 15% discount

For further information please contact Grace Lian-Bodenbach at 647-704-9910, email: dr.gracelb@gmail.com or Sifuel Machu at sifuelm@yahoo.com


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