By chance I met Fatima Somji, one of the founders of Tamani Foundation, at the airport. We exchanged a few words and she gave me her phone number. That was the beginning of something I wanted to do my whole life.

From February, 7th 2022 to February 18th I stayed at Tamani Foundation to learn, study and help in a Zanzibarian school.

I was warmly welcomed by Zahra Panjwani, the headteacher of the school. She gave me a tour around the school and a timetable and showed me my room where I could stay during my visit. She introduced me to the volunteer Lubna and we went to the villa for lunch. At the villa I had the opportunity to pass my free time after school.

At that time, the school had 188 students split up in two kindergarden groups and six primary classes. At the beginning, the classes start with 24 children; 12 boys and 12 girls if possible. I had the impression that there were more girls than boys in the entire school. The following subjects are taught: Kiswahili, English, Arabic, Maths, Science, Geography, Art, PE, Religious Education, handicraft lessons ( ´ilm al ´alam) and Uraia (regional, cultural and social studies).

My timetable

AssemblyAssembly  Assembly  Assembly  Assembly  
English Grade 5English Grade 3  Maths Grade 1English Grade 6  English Grade 6  
English Grade 4English Grade 3  English Grade 6  English Grade 6  Geography Grade 6
English Grade 4 English Grade 6  Geography Grade 5Science Grade 5
Geography Grade 6English Grade 5  English Grade 4  English Grade 2  English Grade 4
English Grade 2English Grade 5  Geography Grade 5English Grade 2   
English Grade 2 Geography Grade 5Art Grade 2 

I am going to describe every day at least one lesson a day to give some details about my impression and my experiences.


On Tuesday February 8th, I was introduced as the new teacher Karin from Germany in the assembly and I was welcomed by a song the students sang. In the assembly the students recite the al-fatiha and there are announcements and presentations.

My first lesson was English Grade 3 with the teacher called Juma. All the students had to leave the classroom and I had the opportunity to say hello to everyone personally when they came in again and to exchange some words. That was a wonderful introduction.

Later I attended class English Grade 5. The structure of the lesson was the following one:

 1. Verb of the day: bring – lete

2. Phrase of the day: See you then! – tutaonana/“halafu

3. Topic: Identifying

4. Identify some natural objects in the environment (excursion, groupwork)

5. Compose 10 sentences from the natural objects

We went through the village and collected the names of the natural objects we saw in the environment.

The next day,Wednesday February 9th, I started with Grade 1 after the assembly. They had Maths. The topic was:

  • Nambari Nzima 1 -10
  • Kuandika nabari kwa maneno

After the students had sung a song together, they counted the first numbers and enumerated the days of the week and the month. Than they started writing numbers in words. For example: 999 =mia tisa na tisini na tisa.

During the Geography lesson in Grade 5 with the teacher Ramadani, I had the chance to teach myself and started with the question: “Whats geography about?“ After a while the students figured out a definition: ‘The knowledge of the world’ and we started to describe the world. The following diagram helped as overview.

After that we were talking about continents and the students collected their names. Then they practised: Remember the continents and after the training everyone drew the depiction in her/his exercise book and coloured it. In the end I was very pleased because every student took part in the lesson with enthusiasm.

In Grade 4 the English lesson was changed into Arabic. I was surprised because I understood every word. During my Islamic Studies in the 1980sI learned Arabic and I enjoyed participating in the class.

Thursday, February 10th, I suggested to the teachers Neema and Safia to do a co working project in Art Grade 2. Every student had to draw a path on an upright sheet of paper and to colour it yellow. After that everyone was free to draw whatever she/he liked. In the end the pictures were put together to one yellow path, which symbolizes the  trail together through school and through life.

Friday, February 11th, English Grade 6:

Verb of the day: catch – kamata

Phrase of the day: What do you mean? – Una maanagani? Una maanishinini?

Topic: Filling in forms – Kujaza fomu

The teacher Juma brought the form of the health check for the enrolment and instructed the students to fill in the form. I had the impression that quite a lot of them had never seen a form before and didn´t know what to do with it. I would suggest a prereading plan, which means talking about forms before like:

  • What is a form?
  • Have you ever seen a form before?
  • What for do you need forms for?
  • What kind of forms do you know?
  • What do the words in the form mean?Name, surname, date of birth, place of birth, address, female, male, nationality, occupation, health, signature, fever, deworming etc.

On Monday, February 14th, Grade 4 had an English lesson. First the students repeated the professions. After that they were conjugating the verb ofthe day „distribute – sambaza. The students learnt

  1. The present progressive
  2. the simple past
  3. the future

ofthe verb „distribute“ on the board and made sentences with it. I asked myself if this procedure is useful, because I think it is hard to understand all the tenses at one time and without being attached to a text for the students. I would suggest practising only one tense and after that its negation in combination with a text.

The subtopic later was ‘more parts of the body’.

In the Geography lesson of Grade 6, the students learned about the GIS = geographical information system. The students acquired the system with the teacher Ramadani on the board. After that ,they read a text about the GIS in their Geography books, but there were only six books for 18 students. It is a shame that there were no examples for what one could use the GIS for.

On Tuesday, February 15th, unfortunately I was ill. So I could not attend school.

But on Wednesday, February 16th, I asked the teacher Juma if I could do a partner interview in English Grade 6. He agreed and so I started the lesson with the question: ‘What skills do you need to learn a language?’ The result was the following mindmap:

Than we started with the interview.

A The students had to write the following questions in their exercise books:

  1. What is your name?
  2. How old are you?
  3. How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  4. What´s your favourite subject?
  5. What´s your favourite colour?

Between the questions they should leave a free line.

B With prepared numbers in a basket every student had to find his/her partner.

C Then the task was to ask the partner the questions and to write down his/her answers.

D After that every student had to present his interview partner in front of the class.

On Thursday, February 16th I had no voice but the teacher Neema explained to the students of Grade 2 Art what I had written down about Zentangle. Every student wrote her/his name in big capital letters and designed it in the Zentangle way.

During the assembly Friday morning, the students said goodbye to me, sang a song and gave me a kanga as a present, which was really sweet and heartwarming.

After that Grade 5 did an excursion to the beach during the Science lesson to learn how to transform salt water into drinking water.

Beside the assistance at the lessons, I worked in the library to present it more invitingly for the students. I suggested making big signs for every shelf and presenting a book with an overview in front of the other books.


Those two weeks at Tamani School/Foundation were really great for me! I enjoyed the school, the lessons and the work with all the teachers. I loved the songs the students sang in every lesson. This ritual would be something for our students in Europe because the singing helps the students to be calm and concentrate better. I liked my accomodation beside the schoolyard and the pleasant company of Zahra, Lubna, Femida, Bashir and Abdallah at dinner time. And finally let me thank teacher Juma for his Kiswahili lessons so that I could learn the language.