While Tanzania is suffering from a shortage of medical professionals and facilities, organizations like Red Sweater Project are working to fill that gap.

By operating a school within a village, Red Sweater Project makes education and health services available within the local community. By taking a holistic approach to education, we ensure that students receive everything they need to be able to focus on schoolwork.

Although economic growth in Tanzania has been strong, rural areas like Mungere still struggle, as isolated, poverty-affected regions often suffer from limited access to health care. If a child becomes ill, a parent or relative must miss a day’s work, transport the child to a distant clinic, pay for transportation, and cover the cost of the bill, often while already struggling to support their family.

To meet this need, the Red Sweater Project provides food, clean water, and health education for students at Mungere. The simple gesture of providing first aid removes an enormous burden for families of students. When medical cases exceed a family’s ability to pay, Ashley Holmer explains, “The organization covers those costs, including finding medical specialists, transport, post-op medication, and other related expenses.” Recent cases have included a tooth infection, tuberculosis, and a broken arm: all instances that could have otherwise crippled a family financially.

To cover daily health and first aid concerns, Nurse Phyllis oversees the health program at Mungere School and conducts free immunizations. In addition to on-site care, visiting physicians ensure that Mungere students receive specialty care. During his visit, Dr. Craig Bowen remarked that it is “estimated that as much as 80% of the learning a child does occurs through their eyes. Our work [as physicians] should augment that being done at the school.”

Similarly, the school has been equipped with safe water, female hygiene kits, and composting toilets. Volunteers have also established vegetable gardens and planted fruit trees, helping to promote Red Sweater Project’s emphasis on nutrition, sustainability, and preventative care.

Red Sweater Project recognizes the vital link between health and education and ensures that students and families are relieved of health care burdens in order to focus on their futures.