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Founders & Directors of Ikirwa

Bonded by their love of Tanzania and their dedication to making a difference in the world, Masha and Gasper were the perfect pair to bring the Ikirwa School Project to fruition. It is both of their goal to see Ikirwa School grow into school that develops bright minds and peaceful hearts that can share their education with their fellow Tanzanians.  


Maria (Masha) Skuratovskaya


Masha has been an institutional fixed income portfolio manager with organizations such as Freddie Mac, the World Bank, and currently with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.  Originally from Russia, she moved to the United States in her late teens to attend St. Margaret's High School.  She completed her high school and college education by winning academic scholarships and receiving support from the local communities of the schools.  Masha enjoys all things outdoors and currently lives in beautiful Juneau, Alaska and her husband and two sons. Ikirwa School Project is a tribute to all the wonderful teachers and organizations that gave her the courage and tools she needed to reach for the sky.

Gasper Naftal Mbise

Gasper was born and raised in Midawe. Forced to leave school in order to support his mother and two sisters, he became his family's sole breadwinner at the age of 14.  Still a teenager he sold milk, later worked in Tanzanite mines, finally saving up enough money to put himself through, English language and guide school. Since 2004 he has worked as a camp manager and tour guide with Team Kilmanjaro, one of the leading adventure outfitters based in Arusha, Tanzania. Gasper championed the idea of building an English Medium school in his native village and has donated his family's land for Ikirwa's campus. He has been the Manager of Ikirwa School since it opened its doors in 2012, overseeing both day to day operations and on-going construction projects.  Gasper and his wife Jesska have four children. His two youngest sons are former Ikirwa students.
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