After studying by lamplight, the pupils at Idodi Secondary School in Tanzania took to their dormitories for the night. By morning, twelve schoolgirls were dead. The fire that engulfed the school was started when a kerosene lamp was knocked over during the night, the deadly flames moving through the building as the girls slept.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at the funeral to see the girls laid to rest in a small cemetery in the school’s playground. Their bodies were unidentifiable, burnt beyond recognition, and were buried in a mass grave. A few feet from the dusty cemetery, under a willow tree, a single wooden post displays the twelve girls’ names.
Idodi is a small village, 200 miles from Dodoma the country’s capital. It has only one secondary school and in the weeks following the fire, the pupils were sent home, waiting for a new dormitory to be built.