Stacks Image 253
Stacks Image 255

Blair Akilimali - Founder

Stacks Image 261
Blair was born and raised in Tanzania.

He developed his passion to help people in need when he was very young and, as a secondary school student, volunteered at several international non-profit organizations.

"I remember one day I was distributing food in Dodoma, in central Tanzania, as a food monitor for the World Food Program. I encountered hundreds of children who could not afford to attend school. They did not have food, safe drinking water or anyone to take care of them. As the crowd shouted “ndugu, mr!” which means “the food you gave us is not enough”, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, that I cried for the first time in my adult life. I could not give them any more because the food was distributed in accordance with strict rations. I vowed to myself that I would one day create something that would help these children live better lives and that would educate the world about their plight.”

Blair started the Hope Academy in 2006 with two boys and one girl, and with one assistant teacher. Today it has grown to more than 50 children. Hundreds of others are waiting to enter once appropriate resources can be secured.

Esther - Teacher and Volunteer Coordinator

Stacks Image 264
Esther is a trained teacher and shares her husband’s vision in building a school for disadvantaged children. Having resigned from her full-time job to join Blair to build and develop the Hope Academy, Esther teaches English to the children and works as the school’s secretary. She also acts as the coordinator of the school’s volunteer program. Esther received her certificate in kindergarten training from the Montessori Early Childhood Training Center. She is currently studying for a basic certificate in Computer Sciences.

Agness - Teacher

Stacks Image 270
Agness is an example of what people can accomplish with help from the Hope Academy. After she became pregnant, she dropped out of secondary school to get married. Despite her incredible struggle to make ends meet, she attended school and completed her studies as a pre-school teacher.

However, since she was not trained in English, she was unable to find a job. Blair encouraged her to join him at the Hope Academy as a nursery teacher, where she began to learn English. Now, she is teaching children who are in the same situation she was earlier in her life and her son is studying at the Hope Academy. Hope Academy has made a positive change to both their lives.

Caroline - Teacher

Stacks Image 273
Caroline joined the Hope Academy after completing primary school. Her goal is to continue her studies while working at the Hope Academy and become self-sufficient. After a year with the school, Caroline has made great progress with her English and is learning nursing skills.