International School of Djibouti

International School of Djibouti

The government of Djibouti has identified two significant needs for the development of the nation:

  1. English
  2. Education

My husband’s work for the past thirteen years in the Horn of Africa has focused on two things:

  1. English
  2. Education

Djibouti is a Francophone country in a sea of English. The regional countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Kenya…they all do business in English. Companies coming to Djibouti to build railroads and hospitals and the port…they primarily want to function in English.

But Djibouti’s educational system is traditionally done in French. Our own children have been educated in French and it has worked well for our family, though the language was one (of many) reasons that we opted for boarding school in the upper level grades for our own kids.

Many other parents from all over the world come to Djibouti to work and don’t bring their kids with them. Or they bring their kids and homeschool or bring their kids and try to force them into the French schools.

Both homeschool and French school are great options, for some kids. But not all. Try taking a fourteen year old and throwing them into a year of French. Or homeschooling a kid when there are almost zero outside social and creative outlets.

As Djibouti develops, one significant need has become increasingly obvious.

English-based education, both for expatriates and for locals.

And so…


My husband is launching the International School of Djibouti.

The mission of ISD is to provide students in Djibouti a world class education in English that focuses on discovery, creativity, and problem-solving to develop noble-hearted, global citizens.

Eventually this school will offer K-12 education.

The launch, coming in September, 2016 will be for Kindergarten and First Grade, with one grade added each year. As needed, there will also be the opportunity for older students to learn in a homeschool co-op kind of environment, guided by a teacher trained in working with multiple grade levels.

Do I even need to say what a huge deal this is?

It is a HUGE DEAL!

So huge, I just used exclamation points.

I’m really excited about this project. And a little daunted by it. But I can think of no better person to head up the project than Dr. Tom Jones. With nearly thirteen years of experience teaching in the Horn of Africa, building relationships across all kinds of educational institutions, the personal experience of being a father guiding his own children through school here, and a PhD in Education, I think he is well prepared and well connected and has the heart of service and vision to launch this school with excellence. I kinda like him.

I don’t often write about the actual work that my organization (Resource Exchange International) does in Djibouti but this is such a big project that I wanted to get Djibouti Jones blog readers involved.

Some of you might have found Djibouti Jones because you are moving to Djibouti, I hear from a lot of you. There are so many questions when you’re moving here and one of the biggest ones is: what about education for my kids? I would love for readers like you to explore the International School of Djibouti website and then I want to invite you to consider enrolling your kids.

Some of you might be Djiboutians who would love for your children to have access to a world-class education in English that will prepare them for the workplace in Djibouti or abroad. I’d love for you, too, to explore the International School of Djibouti website and then I want to invite you to consider enrolling your kids.

Others of you might be people who are curious about life in Djibouti but don’t intend to move here and I’m happy to invite you into our work and vision.

No matter who you are or how you found Djibouti Jones, I have one action point for all of you.

I have never done this before.

I’m asking for your help.

To get this school launched in the best possible way, we need start-up funds. We already have a shipping company committed to shipping supplies free, equipment donation (including a playground), and some funds coming in both locally and internationally. We’re working every possible angle from grants to donations to equipment and time donations…

My husband and I are foregoing a significant portion of our own salary for this year, to funnel that money into the school start-up, that’s how much we believe in this.

I’m asking for you, Djibouti Jones readers, to come alongside us and help make this happen.

Our organization here is about ‘building people to build nations’ and we can imagine no more fitting project than this English school for accomplishing both of those aims.

And so, would you consider becoming part of the most exciting educational project in Djibouti?

Click here for the ISD website.

Click here for the Go Fund Me campaign.