Portland, OR. It’s been a banner year for the Red Sweater Project – a Lake Oswego based nonprofit helping to educate kids in Tanzania. The school’s library was enhanced, and many students started their post-secondary studies or career training. In addition, educators started construction on a new classroom block and selected another group of new students who will begin classes in January. Right now the nonprofit is in the middle of its year-end fund drive.  Click here to learn how to make a difference with your year-end gift.

The nonprofit was started by Willamette University graduate, Ashley Holmer. She traveled to Tanzania to coach soccer and teach English to Maasai children and realized there was great need in the country. Ashley founded Red Sweater Project in 2011, with the goal of putting as many kids in school as possible. In 2012, Red Sweater Project opened the Mungere School, which welcomes a new class of students each year. The organization is dedicated to developing quality, sustainable, and accessible schools for East African children. The Red Sweater Project collaborates with local communities to create affordable, accessible and advanced educational opportunities for children in rural Tanzania. Students wear their red sweaters with pride.

Founder Ashley Holmer saw the inequality between boys and girls, specifically in education. When 82% of Tanzanian families can’t afford to send their children to school, those who can often prioritize educating their boys because the girls are seen as more valuable staying at home and preparing for marriage. That not only hurts girls’ prospects for the future, it slows an entire community’s progress.

As a U.S. college all-star soccer player, Ashley quickly earned the respect of the local men and boys on the pitch. Coaching and playing alongside boys where girls are often not allowed, she demonstrated how women could not only participate, but also compete.

Ashley playing soccer with kids in the village

From Red Sweater Project:

Our Goals include:

The average family income in Mungere Village is US$190 per year, while average boarding school fees are US$500. 93% of Mungere families cannot afford boarding schools, but they can pay US$16 per year to send their child to Mungere Secondary School.

Tanzania is suffering from a shortage of teachers and schools, and children living in rural areas must travel long distances or attend expensive boarding schools. Mungere Secondary School operates within the village, providing education and health services within the community.

Education is about more than test scores – it’s about critical thinking, innovation and solutions. By creating educational institutions that utilize renewable energy to power computers and access information technology and the internet, we equip each child with skills that lead to success in a 21st century world. Courses in business development encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, while vocational courses develop real-life skills that lead to employment and self-sufficiency.

For more information:

Red Sweater Project

1000 SW Forest Meadows Way

Lake Oswego, OR 97034

[email protected]