More than 20 years ago, Haven of Peace Academy began in prayer. Today, the school continues in prayerful dependence on God our Father who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.
Haven of Peace Academy was conceived in prayer. In 1992, five missionary families from Canada, the US and the UK, who were members of five mission societies serving in Dar es Salaam, were meeting together to pray. One crucial need that came up week after week concerned the educational needs of their children.
There were few options available at the time. As they continued to pray about this important need, the Lord gave them a common vision:
“….to see a Christian school established in Dar. The school, covering Kindergarten to Grade 6, would use English, cater primarily but not exclusively to missionaries’ children, maintain educational standards on a par with our home countries and have a Christian evangelical foundation. The curriculum would enable students of expatriate parents to return and successfully enter school systems in their countries of origin. The school would draw on self-supporting teaching staff sent out themselves as missionaries and as such the fees would probably be substantially lower than institutions where many of us have been sending our children.”
-Alan Forsythe, in a letter to missionary families dated 116 February 1993
In September, 1994, after two years of much prayer and hard work, the vision became reality. On a rented plot in a renovated house in Oyster Bay, Haven of Peace Academy opened its doors and welcomed its first 47 students. Three missionary teachers from Canada, the US and Australia, and a Head Teacher from the UK, taught Kindergarten through Grade 6. To help start the school, a container full of resources was donated by Christians in Northern Ireland.
From the start, the Steering Committee wanted to share the blessing with Tanzanians and other expatriates who valued the Christian education and ethos of Haven of Peace Academy. The school grew quickly and steadily, from 47 students to 144 in the first four years. This growth required the construction of two new classroom blocks within the first three years. Grade 7 was added in 1997, grade 8 in 1999, grade 9 in 2000 and grade 10 in 2001.
The original campus was being stretched to the limit; a larger campus was needed. With funds saved from careful stewardship, the present 10+ acre property was purchased and construction began in late 2000. In August 2001, the Vice President of Tanzania, Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein, inaugurated the new campus. In September 2001, Haven of Peace Academy welcomed over 200 students to the new campus at Kunduchi.
What would a school be without its teachers? As the student body has increased, God has been faithful to provide HOPAC with dedicated, caring, capable teachers, year after year in answer to prayer. Some teachers have come for one or two years, others for several years, but all have sought to love, serve and teach their students as a ministry unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Almost all of these teachers have come as missionaries, sent and financially supported by the generous giving of churches and individuals in their home countries.
HOPAC’s first administrator was Primary Head Teacher, David Champion, who served for the first 7 years. When HOPAC moved to the new campus, and the primary and secondary sections officially became separate schools, Haven of Peace Academy and Haven of Peace Seminary, HOPAC’s first Director, Ron McGraw, was appointed to oversee Head Teachers for each school.
The secondary school was registered as a Cambridge International Examination Center in 2004. In May 2005, the Grade 10 students sat for HOPAC’s first IGCSE exams with very strong overall results. (Four of the students were in the very first Kindergarten class in 1994.) Grade 11 was added in 2006, following the Cambridge A level program, and HOPAC proudly graduated its first 7 students in June of 2008.
Under the leadership of a Strategic Planning Steering Committee, headed by Director Steve O’Neil, and consisting of board members, staff and parent representatives, a vision statement was drafted in 2005 and, from that, HOPAC’s “Vision 2010” Strategic Plan was developed and finalized in 2006 with five major focus areas: campus development, governance, curriculum & program, student development and staff recruitment and retention.
Blessed with room to grow and as a result of Vision 2010, HOPAC developed a Campus Master Plan in 2006. A 25-metre pool was completed in 2007, additional land was purchased in 2008, a new administration building was completed in 2009, and an extension to the secondary building was completed in 2012. Under the direction of the Board and Director Len Mittelstaedt, a new strategic plan was developed in 2012 to strengthen the school’s program and direction as set in Vision 2010.
By 2014, it became clear that a new strategic plan would be necessary to take the school through its next big step. With consultation from the community, the Board and Director Ben Snyder developed a new school vision statement that would become the heart of “HOPAC 20”, a strategic plan targeting student growth, facility development, and program improvements by the year 2020. HOPAC is now in the middle of an exciting phase, completing a new learning resource center, performing arts building, and classroom blocks to facilitate further growth of our secondary school. We aim to have nearly 450 students by 2020, furthering our ability to continue supporting the work of missionaries by providing excellent education to their children, while also expanding our role in developing the nation of Tanzania by raising up a generation of godly world-changers.