The Flood Garden Project
School: Making a Difference Foundation Tanzania Preschool (MDFT)
Location: The village of Ngaranumbe in Arusha, Tanzania. (Find us!)
The people in this area are a mix of urban Maasai and Meru families who earn relatively low incomes even though they are many foreign industries and tourist hotels nearby.
Headmaster: Mr. David Gido
The Story: Young teacher David Gido noticed a growing number of preschool children left unattended in the streets of his Arusha neighborhood. The children were AIDS orphans living with aging grandparents or children who were left alone for the day because parents could not afford preschool fees.
In 2009, he opened Making a Difference Foundation Tanzania Preschool using his own small income to pay for teachers, school supplies and help parents who could not afford the school fees. In November of 2011, David Gido joined forces with Todd “TJ” Duckett, a former National Football League star, to create a school model that would provide the students the skills to overcome abject poverty.
In December of 2011, the first seed was planted in an unused rubbish lot on the side of the school and by February 12, the staff of MDFT began to sell their first harvest.
The Flood Garden Project is an education model that serves as an example of how schools in poor communities can become more effective.
By creating a small working farm within the school, we have provided needed learning tools and hands-on learning opportunities in a cost effective and self-sustaining way in a school that has no electricity and very few resources.
The Flood Garden Project Curriculum:
At MDFT Preschool, our curriculum is designed to focus on developmental activities and learning around the Flood Garden crops, animals and play time. We take our inspiration from philosophies that emphasize critical thinking through play and hands-on activities such as the Montessori and Project Based Learning models.
This year, the MDFT teachers together with Matinga Ragatz, a comparative education specialist will continue to develop the curriculum and create the learning tools (books, toys, garden tools, classroom materials, etc) specifically customized for the Flood Garden. The aim is to provide a powerful academic head start that will provide the critical thinking, language and employment skills to profoundly transform their future opportunities.