After a decade of building and supporting schools in various scattered encampments, the Nomad Foundation has concluded that centralizing educational operations at TAMESNA is more efficient and more sustainable. As boarders, children can stay in school while their parents move in search of pasture for the herds. Nomads dislike cities and won’t send their children there to faraway schools. They want their children to be educated and are eager for schools in a desert setting, expressly designed for nomads. Like everything else at TAMESNA, the curriculum will be tailored to the needs of the nomadic community, teaching not only academics, but herd management, agriculture, hygiene, land conservation, resource management and health care. Existing facilities for visitors at TAMESNA will allow presentations by experts to enhance the educational experience of both children and adults and to dispense political information, quell misunderstandings, and promote tolerance.
The Nomad Foundation seeks to fund the new boarding school at TAMESNA in four phases. The first phase was completed in 2013: digging a well and building a two classroom school. Initially this facility served 32 elementary students, while also providing lodging for a teacher and a room for meals. The second year it served 42. Phase Two was completed in an earth bag building training session in 2015. Two dormitories for girls and boys and a residence for a second teacher were built by the nomads themselves. Phase Three adds a second set of two classrooms. Since each year we recruit a new class, phase four adds four more classrooms to complete a six class elementary school.
The school when it first opened in a temporary hangar in 2012.
The education center at Tamesna opened in October 2011. Education is a key to sustainability, and the Nomad Foundation’s goal is that all projects be self-sustaining. The education center is equipped for visiting professionals to teach skills the nomads want and need. Already underway are training programs to improve their health care through midwife and healthcare liaison training and fabrication and installation of solar panels. Future plans include well drilling, marketing their handicrafts, literacy, herd management, construction with “Super Adobe” and agricultural skills. The foundation is deeply grateful to the Great Escape Foundation for a generous grant that made possible the construction of this education center.
Now that we have training programs in place for adults we are returning our focus to education for the children to continue the construction of a boarding school.