To many of the students at Katoke Lweru School, Ms Erica Timotheo is Bibi (Grandmother). With a warm and patient smile, Ms Timotheo commands a classroom with grace and style. Her students are engaged, standing up to answer questions, and their workbooks are immaculate. The students even share coins and protractors around the class to copy her diagrams neatly from the board.
Born just down the road from Katoke, Erica has had an outstanding career in Education and Women’s Empowerment in Tanzania. She herself studied at the Tabora Secondary Girls School (500km South of Katoke) and completed a Bachelor of Arts and Education at the University of East Africa in Dar Es Salaam. Her first teaching post was in the city of Dodoma (new capital Tanzania), where she taught for 3 years before taking over as Head of School in 1972. She went on as Headmaster at two other Tanzanian schools, including her own school Tabora Secondary, before she was recruited by the Diocese back to Bukoba.
In Bukoba, Erica took on the role of Academic Coordinator at the Kashura Womens’ Conference and Training Centre. This initiative offered local women a weekend-long retreat from their housework and seminars on a range of valuable subjects and skills. Courses included agriculture, food production, nutrition, environmental conservation, human rights, Christian education, weaving, jewellery making, tree planting and the use of fuel-saving stoves. In her 10 years at the centre, Erica empowered 2,800 women to participate in educational training.
Now in her sixth year at the KLSS, Erica is lending her vast experience and guidance to students, both inside the classroom and out.
PICTURED: A Geography class with Form 1 Green.
In this class, students learn about evidence for the Earth’s spherical shape: sunrise and sunset, a ship’s visibility on the horizon and lunar eclipses.