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At Orkeeswa, we empower young local leaders to find their voice and to create constructive dialogue around critical issues in their community.  Orkeeswa Story Lab provides a platform for these activists to build tangible skills in storytelling while exploring the complexity of these issues with a deeper sense of empathy and understanding.


Through film, photography, podcasts and more, young activists are equipped with the means necessary to speak up and speak out about the issues most important to them.


Young leaders build technical skills in film making, photography, creative and journalistic writing, empathy building, dialogue facilitation, project design, and more.


By facilitating local dialogue using their own work, these young storytellers are empowered as local change makers who influence positive shifts in perceptions and behaviors. 


By sharing their work internationally, young local leaders serve as global ambassadors for their community, culture and country, overcoming bias and misconceptions. 



In a remote Maasai village in rural Tanzania, a young primary school girl is suddenly confronted by an arranged marriage. Written and produced by Orkeeswa students and staff.


An environmentalist in Orkeeswa Village, Tanzania, is trying to educate his community about the importance of protecting the natural environment. Filmed and edited entirely by Orkeeswa School students.

How we spoke up about child marriage | Naserian Mzee | TEDxMajengo

Naserian and her classmates decided they needed to stand up for girls' education and speak out against forced early marriage in Maasai culture. Watch her talk to find out how they did this.

The Importance of Girls' Empowerment | Sioni Mollel | Voices of Impact - SFF 2019

Sioni Mollel, Orkeeswa School graduate, speaks at the 2019 Segal Family Foundation Annual Meeting about her experience as a Maasai girl in Tanzania and the cultural roles for girls and women that she defied and continually seeks to defy for the benefit of girls all over the world.

The making of BLACK HEAD COW

Go behind the scenes of the award-winning short film BLACK HEAD COW and hear the student-filmmakers speak about the process of making the film and sharing it with their community. 

BILA FIMBO (Without a Stick)

In rural Tanzania, corporal punishment is common in primary schools. 10th Grader Veronica is using her Orkeeswa School education to change that by mentoring youth in her community. Filmed and edited entirely by Orkeeswa School students.

The Moth Presents: Memusi Saibulu

On the last day of her 7th grade school year, a Maasai girl is faced with marrying an elder man of her father’s choosing, and not continuing her beloved education.

Nickson | Presented by Elizabeth Nichols & Isaac Diebboll

Filmed when he was a secondary school student, Orkeeswa and Mkwawa University graduate and current Orkeeswa School teacher, Nickson, shares his perspective on love, what it means to him and its power in the world. Produced by Orkeeswa School and ENGN Civic Creative Center. 

Who is a Leader? | Made by Simon & Amani 

Who is a leader?

Mama Obedi reflects on the role of women in her community. The film was made by Orkeeswa students as part of the Orkeeswa Story Lab program.

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Voices of Early Marriage

In rural Tanzania, young girls and women are often forced to marry early and drop out of school. Students discuss their experiences in the Orkeeswa Podcast Club. Written, recorded and produced by Orkeeswa students. 

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A Day in the Life at Orkeeswa School

Orkeeswa School graduate, Agnes, and current Orkeeswa student, Amina, share a story from a day in the life as an Orkeeswa student.

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Physically Present, Mentally Hungry

In rural Tanzania, nearly 42% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition and 78% of families live below the poverty line. Local primary schools do not have the financial resources to provide free lunch for students, making it difficult for children to push through their hunger and sit through a day of classes. Orkeeswa students Monica, Paulina, and Upendo explore how malnutrition and lack of government lunch programs in their communities make it difficult for young students to succeed academically in this original Orkeeswa Story Lab podcast.

Physically Present, Mentally HungryMonica, Paulina, and Upendo
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The More Beautiful You Are

In Tanzania, lighter skin is often considered to be more beautiful than darker skin. This had led to the common but harmful practice of skin lightening. Students discuss their experiences in the Orkeeswa Podcast Club. Written, recorded and produced by Orkeeswa students. 

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Shattered Dreams Podcast

In their Projects Class, Orkeeswa students Elina, Naomi, and Nasinyari are learning skills in advocacy and community mobilization as they address corporal punishment and primary school dropout rates through the medium of podcasts. 

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Struggling for Myself

In rural Tanzania, completing secondary school is a rare occurrence. Children must overcome significant community-wide challenges like forced early marriage, domestic violence, and the responsibilities of living in a traditional pastoral community in order to succeed. Orkeeswa students Zawadi, Naomi, and Aisha explore the effect that traditional Maasai cultural beliefs have on students striving for an education in this original Orkeeswa Story Lab podcast.

Struggling for MyselfZawadi, Aisha, and Naomi
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Black Lives, Our Lives

Orkeeswa alumni and Global Scholars Sioni, Neema and Edna spent the spring and summer of 2020 in Nebraska. There they had an encounter with law enforcement that changed their understanding of what it means to be Black in America. 

Black Lives, Our LivesSioni Ayubu, Allison Keeley, Regina Bediako, Elizabeth Nichols, Michael Villanella
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"You have planted a seed that is now feeding the community."

Orkeeswa Alum and founder of Women's Agro-Enviro Vision, Saingorie tells his story of growing into the leader he is today.

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"How can I coach kids if I cannot even shoot a basketball myself?"

Orkeeswa student and Outreach Mentor Stella tells her story of serving in a local primary school.

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"The more I taught, the better I got as a musician."

Orkeeswa Alum Emmanuel shares his story about how he discovered his passion for music and giving back to his community.

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