Faraja Primary School is owned and operated by the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The Northern Diocese and its current bishop, The Rev. Dr. Frederick Shoo, have always placed great emphasis on education and ministering to vulnerable populations. Since Don and Joann Tolmie’s first visit to Tanzania in 1999, a shared sense of faith and mission have continued to strengthen the relationship between the Northern Diocese and the Faraja Fund Foundation.

Faraja Diaconic Centre

Faraja Primary School’s nearest neighbor and partner is the Faraja Diaconic Centre, which trains deacons for service in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. It was the deacons of Faraja who first recognized the need for a residential primary school specifically for children with physical disabilities. Their compassion and special calling to serve all of God’s children makes Faraja deacons ideal teachers and mentors for Faraja Primary School students.


First Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Virginia and First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Illinois are long-time Faraja Primary School partners. Both congregations have provided generous financial support, and many visitors from Norfolk and Lake Forest have visited Faraja School over the years.

Caterpillar Foundation

A generous grant from the Caterpillar Foundation has expanded Faraja Primary School’s Farm Initiative. A large chicken coop, a cow shed, crop drying and storage facilities, and an irrigation system have dramatically increased production. The farm provides improved nutrition and agricultural training opportunities for Faraja students and moves the school toward environmental and economic sustainability.

OM Foundation

In 2008, Bonner Paddock became the first person with cerebral palsy to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He then set out on a mission to empower children with disabilities to live life beyond limits. Bonner’s OM Foundation has significantly upgraded the medical care that students receive at Faraja Primary School by providing a full-time physical therapist and a well-equipped therapy center.

Medical Care

Faraja School students receive orthopedic surgeries and post-op care at Machame Lutheran Hospital, a small hospital on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro near Moshi.

Prosthetic devices for Faraja students are fitted and constructed at  Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a large regional referral hospital in Moshi.

Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania in Moshi offers specialized care and services for students with spina bifida and distributes child-sized wheelchairs provided by international donors.

Post-Secondary Education

Usa River Rehabilitation and Training Centre (URRC) is owned and operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania-Meru Diocese. URRC provides vocational training, physical therapy, and prosthetic services for young people with physical disabilities. A number of Faraja Primary School graduates have gone on to vocational training at URRC and are now successfully employed.

URRC expanded its mission and its campus with the opening of a secondary school in January 2017. Eleven graduates from the Faraja Primary School Class of 2017 are part of the secondary school’s first class.

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