"We are telling our stories through the music of ONEmic studios."


Arusha, Tanzania | Founded 2009 | 150+ Students Served

Why Tanzania?

“Why have we not partnered?” asked Jane Goodall whose Roots & Shoots organization empowers youth around the world. Within 3 months, a LEAF team which included Chief Shaka Zulu (of LEAF International NOLA), was heading to Tanzania to set up 3 LEAF International programs across the country.

Program Overview

With the support of LEAF International, Ilboru Secondary School, and St. Joseph Girls School in Arusha host one of the first music programs in the area that teach young people East African dances, songs, and drum rhythms. The program at Ilboru was so successful, that the model expanded to St. Joseph’s Secondary School for girls at the request of the kids.

Arusha is home to over a million Africans, Arabs, Indians, Europeans, and Americans. 900+ boys from all over Tanzania attend the prestigious Ilboru Secondary School in Arusha. Prospective students must pass an exam to be accepted. Families often cannot afford the $60 annual tuition, so the Tanzanian government provides the rest of the school’s funding.

Students in the LEAF International programs meet two to three times a week after school. They also perform concerts regularly that highlight the various tribes and cultures in Tanzania while promoting the environmental messages of our partner, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.

ONEmic Studio Arusha
Since 2014, studio engineer Edward Ndoleli, uses the LEAF ONEmic studio to teach music production to youth at Ilboru Secondary School.  For more than 19 years, Edward has worked in music & studio production. His passions include teaching youth, making music that impacts communities, and using music to save the Tanzania culture. Each week, students at Iboru School have the opportunity to record oral histories and share their passion for music. More than 50 students have graduated out of this course and proceeded with a career in music.

“My favorite moment at the festival was every moment. Meeting people from all over the world. We now have friends in Haiti, Malawi, America, and many other countries. This was my dream and it has come true.”
Brian Linus
LEAF International Tanzania Student


From music instruments to child sponsorship, our people-centered programs depend on generous givers like you to grow and thrive. Donate today! 100% of your gift goes directly to supporting Global Arts education & preservation!

LEAF is a 501(C)3 charitable organization. Your generous gifts in support of cultural arts education go directly to these programs.

Program Highlights

  • Tanzania welcomes the Rwanda JR Troupe for several cultural exchanges throughout Arusha. 
  • ONEmic Studio song collab w/ Rwanda JR Troupe. The song entitled, “Healing The Community” was produced by Skia Records.
  • In Arusha, LEAF International Tanzania just received new instruments!!! Youth are learning to the play the Zeze and Kalimba as part of their instrument immersion learning.
  • ONEmic program created their first recorded cypher 
  • Tanzania ONEmic studio collaborates with Rwanda ONEmic creating the hit single ‘LEAF Global Arts’ – a dedication to the importance of music in their lives.
  • Students started practicing the Zeze, a native instrument of the Gogo tribe from Dodoma. The Zeze is played with a bow, a small wooden stick, or plucked with the fingers similar to the West African Ngoni instrument. The Zeze is traditionally played during rituals and festivities, as well as to accompany the songs sung in honor of leaders. It is important and inspirational that youth are learning this instrument as very few people know how to play it because of its rarity.
  • ONEmic single ‘Mic Cheka’ makes it to FM 93 -one of the top radio stations in Tanzania
  • Students are back in school (Oct)  in Tanzania and being taught new skills on the kalimba. As the ONEmic Studio classes resume, new instruments are being introduced & incorporated into a beat making format. With no option for virtual learning, youth are fully invested in their classroom time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQEn_Y-glos&feature=youtu.be 
  • LEAF International Tanzania received amazing ONEmic Studio upgrades with the support of a LEAF Member. One of the most important factors for these studios is the connection of youth to the global world through music production. Each studio offers the opportunity to explore the latest in music technology, equipment, and techniques while honoring the history and progression of music in their respective countries. Youth first learn how to completely set up and identify the different features of production equipment and then take creative liberty to explore with beats from around the world and their original compositions mixing their own songs. These studios serve as a resource for youth/teens sharing their personal stories & using music as a tool of self-expression.

May: LEAF International Tanzania and Haiti ONEmic studios participated in the first-ever ONEmic Studio master-class in collaboration with Dirtwire. The crew created magic as each artist represented their country with great pride and passion. The accumulation of this class was a dynamic performance on the main-stage at the 48th LEAF festival. Check out this report to learn more about what’s happening with LEAF International Tanzania.

Culture Keeper Fredy conducted a workshop geared toward teaching youth how to make drums. This workshop was fully hands-on and gave youth skills to take back to their communities in the hope of creating their own instruments in the future.

Rwandan Culture Keeper David Kwizera traveled to Arusha, Tanzania for a culturally rich exchange with LEAF International Tanzania teachers, studio engineers, & youth!

Culture Keeper Fredy Nganga was accompanied by 3 of his finest students for the 44th LEAF Festival. The group did a 5-day residency (with LEAF International Rwanda) at Oakley Elementary as well as cultural exchanges at several local community centers and LEAF Schools & Streets programs. This group also participated as the headliners for a grand performance at the Orange Peel!

May: A cultural exchange journey of a lifetime happened for a week with LEAF International Tanzania and Haiti and Asheville. Fredy came with 3 of his star students that represented everyone: Tarsila, David, and Catherine. Over the 10 days, they performed, shared their culture, collaborated with Haiti in extraordinary dances, and they also became teachers alongside their teacher Fredy. It was their first trip to the US and LEAF, and they were excellent cultural ambassadors.

September: Fredy once again organized a month of free, community-based cultural events at the local cultural center, Via Via. The focus of the workshops: traditional instrument making. What an incredible way to bring together the community!

March: the girls at St. Joseph’s Secondary School won 2nd place in the first annual Inter-School Cultural Competition, held in Arusha. This was an amazing accomplishment, and we are so proud of their dedication to learning the dances of all the major ethnic groups of Tanzania!

LEAF International Tanzania expands beyond year-round programming with the schools, organizing free
community cultural events throughout the month of September! These community cultural events are free of cost and open to any and all who want to engage with their local traditions.

LEAF International Arusha begins a second program at St Joseph Girls School

Fredy Nganga, Tanzania Teaching Artist, and Cultural Keeper came to LEAF Festival!

November: Leonard, our LI Rwanda Teaching Artist & Mentor went to Arusha to visit Fredy and his students and conduct a class.

LEAF International Tanzania begins in partnership with Roots & Shoots

Fredy Nganga is the LEAF International culture keeper in Arusha. Fredy has an innate drive to help others as well as a joyous presence. He is always appreciative and never pessimistic. His energy is contagious! We were lucky to have Fredy be a part of several LEAF festivals throughout the past years. He has also worked with local LEAF Schools & Streets youth to continue to pass on his skills and knowledge.

Edward is a LEAF ONEmic Culture Keeper and local producer who teaches music production at Ilboru Secondary High School in Arusha, Tanzania. For 19 Years, he has been driven by music as a local superstar in Arusha.
Edward started composing music in 2003 at a local Tanzanian record label. It was at that point that he started teaching music to youth.
Before his time at LEAF, Edward worked with Casec, an organization focused on creating access to music for youth.
“I want to teach many young musicians and others to make music for the rest of my life. My dream is music and I live it everyday”

In 2019, youth from the ONEmic Studio came to Asheville for the first-ever music production masterclass. The group learned & embraced valuable studio production skills that they took back home to share with their ONEmic communities and incorporate into the production of their own music. It was the perfect opportunity to help jumpstart the group’s careers in production as each of them have shown years of dedication to the craft.




Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.