A trendsetting environmentally and economically sustainable school in a remote corner of Tanzania owes much of its success to a Capel family.
Les Mutton first heard about Njelela Environmental Secondary School while visiting Africa with his wife Bronwyn in 2010 and since then his family has worked tirelessly to make a small Tanzanian community’s dream a reality.
The school is the brainchild of Tanzanian Melodious “Melo” Mlowe.
“I first met Melo at a conference centre attached to a hospital he administered,” Mr Mutton said.
“Having spent time as a teacher in Africa myself and after going on a tour of the proposed site of the school Bronwyn and I became very excited about the project and decided to get involved.”
The Mlowe family is well-known in the Njelela community for placing a high value on education and were approached by other local families about opening a secondary school in the area.
The community donated 60ha of land and Melo immediately set about bringing his vision of a high quality and sustainable secondary school in to existence.
Pine trees were planted to provide a sustainable source of income for the school and with the help of the Mutton family and the Australian High Commission in Kenya, which Bronwyn notified of the cause, basic school buildings powered by solar panels were erected.
“The real selling point for us was that the school hopes to eventually become completely self-sufficient and environmentally sustainable,” Mr Mutton said.
“Unfortunately right now there is still a large shortfall in resources, particularly for the teaching of the sciences, which will be a point of emphasis for the school."
It will be at least 10 years before the first of the pine trees can be sold and the Mutton family is in the process of seeking partnership with a government agency or charity that may be able to help the school in the interim.Anyone interested in the school can see a video at http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=Q0N4I30T3b4 or contact the Muttons directly at email@example.com.