Chekechea – Project Origin & History2020-02-20T04:23:03-06:00

A modern and wondrous preschool for the children in the Mababu, Tanzania village

Sounds like: Chek-a-chey-ya
Translation: Swahili for Kindergarten
In 2014, the Mababu Central Cocoa Fermentary (also known as Mababu CCF), a 60 member farming co-op in southwest Tanzania who supplies premium cacao beans to Askinosie Chocolate, wrote a vision statement, A Vision of Greatness, for their business and role in the community which included several areas reinforcing their dedication to a great education for the children of the village.

Land was acquired in late 2018. Construction was contracted and managed by the Mababu CCF.  Local tradespeople were hired whenever possible and all furniture in the building was made locally. Start up construction and infill costs were funded entirely by a private donation from Amy and Michael Aquilino of Potomac, Maryland. The confidence and trust shared by the Aquilino Family was paramount in the development of curriculum-based lessons and new discipline models, critical teacher training, and ultimately, the timely opening of the chekechea in January 2020. Additional donor funds were allocated to establish the nutrition program and fund student scholarships. The startup cost of the chekechea totaled $90,000 USD.

Critical to the success of the project was the ability to work with Violet Leonard. In addition to her 25 years of classroom experience, Violet holds a masters degree in education from Master in Education (M.Ed.) Aga Khan University Institute for Education and Development, East Africa. Violet’s studies centered in the area of Early Childhood Development and Education Leadership. Violet brings invaluable professional expertise and organizational insight to the Chekechea project. She supported the CCF in hiring, training and observation of the Mababu Chekechea faculty and staff. Violet also provided the staff on the positive discipline model and continues to refine the education experience.

Annual commitments for scholarship and future capital projects are planned. $208 USD per year funds the uniform and scholarship costs for one child. 

Click here to support the Mababu Chekechea with a donation to Chocolate University.


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