We opened our first school in summer 2016, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. We now support 68 disadvantaged school children.  


Our Mission

The Roof of Africa (SCIO) is a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to improving the lives of  children and families from the poorest communities in East Africa.  We were registered with the Scottish Charities Register on June 21st 2017. We believe that through education, the cycle of poverty can be broken. 

our story

I (Genuine) was a street child from the age of 2, in the village of Sonu, a rural community on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

I experienced first hand the challenges faced by the community. The poverty in the area is acute. The vast majority of residents are subsistence farmers and rely heavily on a good crop for survival, so there is a lot of food insecurity. Whole families are often living less than £2 a week. They live in one or two room homes, with no piped water or electricity to their homes. Family disputes, illness and insufficient means often lead to children living with extended family members, or (as in my case), left to fend for themselves on the street.

Many children in the area do not go to school. Government schools expect a contribution towards materials, uniforms and desks which is outwith the means of many local families. The children therefore grow up illiterate and have little opportunity to gain any employment other than staying on the farm, and so the poverty continues.

I wanted to help children in this situation, and so myself and my wife Freda planned to start a school. In June 2016, I rented a large building (which incidently used to be a children's home I stayed in many years ago) and opened The Roof of Africa School. I wanted to make a fee-free school which would allow children from the poorest backgrounds to get an education and open up opportunities for them aside from farming. They also receive 2 free school meals a day, which they may not receive at home. Demand was very high. Over 20 children enrolled almost immediately. This number quickly grew and now, in November 2018, we are at full capacity of 68 children with a long waiting list. We now have 3 classes: The nursery class, Pre-1, Pre-2 and Standard 1 (Primary 1).

We rely on donations from the public, through fundraising campaigns and sponsoring children, to operate.

Our goal now is to build a new school, so as to accommodate more children and extend the classes up the primary years. Building has started on three classrooms, a kitchen and toilets. The total cost of the build is estimated at around £10,000. As of November 2018, we have raised over £3,000 for this project.

We were registered as a charitable organisation (SCIO) in Scotland in June 2017 and our registration as a non-profit school in Tanzania will be approved on completion of the school build.

I am delighted that you are interested in supporting us.

Thank you.

What We've Achieved

  • The Roof of Africa Nursery was opened in Sonu, Kilimanjaro in June 2016

  • The school now has 68 school children, in four classes

  • We employ local, qualified teachers who teach in English

  • The children receive 2 free school meals a day

  • The school is fee-free to those who cannot afford it, while those who can make a small contribution towards daily running expenses

  • Our school build is going very well, on target for completion by December 2019


November 2018:

Over £3,000 has been raised towards the new school build. The building of three classrooms, a kitchen and toilets are underway.

September 2018:

Our long-term supporter, Sally Joy, raises £762.50  towards the school build!

Our standard 1 class go on their first school trip, to the airport! The first time out of the village for some of the children.

We were nominated by an employee of Baillie Gifford as Charity of the Year, and won £1,000!

All pupils are tested for HIV.

July 2018:

We plant two gardens to grow fruit and vegetables to supplement the school meals.

Sarah Sissons from Area 20 Ladies Circle raises £1043 for us in her sponsored silence. Thank you Sarah!

Government officials visit the school build. We pass the inspection which will allow the school to be registered as a non-profit school in Tanzania on completion of the build.

April 2018:

The first truckloads of stones arrive kicking off our school build.

December 2017:

Fundraiser at the Christmas Nativity at Ratho Primary raises £775.64!

November 2017:

Land donated by the local community in Sonu, to build a new school on. Fundraising for the school build begins.

September 2017:

Volunteers Megan and Mweda build a clay oven at the school.

August 2017:

We receive a donation of books from Books Abroad SCIO. The first books in the school and received with great excitement from both staff and children.

Founders Genuine and Freda visit the school with their young family.

July 2017:

Long term supporter Holly Reichel visits the school and gets creative with the children!

June 2017:

Registration as an SCIO in Scotland.


Our Values

Child Focussed: We run our school with the needs of the children and local community first. All volunteers are police checked for the protection of the children and we respond to the needs of the community over the desires of donors.

Skills Orientated: We encourage skilled applicants to run teacher training workshops, to share skills which can be implemented by local teachers in the school and the community. 

Respectful: All photographs and stories are used with permission from the child's parent or guardian. Names of children may have been changed to protect the privacy of the child.