In November, AfricAid’s Tanzania Board of Trustees was faced with one of their more difficult annual tasks. Along with AfricAid staff, days were spent poring over applications from 26 very worthy Kisa graduates for the University Scholarship Fund, supporting graduates who are unable to enroll in university without assistance.
The total amount requested far exceeded the available funds. The problem was that every single applicant could make a compelling case for support. In a country where just 26% of women make it to the secondary school level, and only 3% to tertiary education, the fact that each girl had obtained a place at university was in itself an achievement against the odds.
After much discussion, the Board decided that there was no one application they could reject. Everyone would get something, but it wouldn’t be the amount originally applied for. Each applicant, with one exception, got about half of what they asked for – a small contribution towards their tuition fees. The rest of the cost of the tuition, and all living and other course-related costs would be raised by the student from elsewhere.
There was one particular student who stood out from the rest. Margaret had been one of the most dedicated Kisa Scholars our Mentors had worked with. She had even volunteered her time extensively to assist AfricAid staff with running the annual Career Day. She approached university with the same commitment, getting her application in early, carefully making sure she’d done as much as she possibly could to convince the Board to support her request, and following up with AfricAid staff to see how her application was progressing. Subsequently, Margaret has had the full cost of her tuition covered for the 2014-2015 university year. She is studying law at Tumaini University, Makumira.
26 Kisa graduates commenced or returned to university in October. They are studying things like education, sociology, law, business administration, finance and accounting and health sciences. They are changing the face of Tanzanian society. And it is, by and large, possible because of the generous support that is given by our GlobalGiving donors. Again we say a very big thank you on behalf of the inspiring young women who now have an opportunity to change their own lives, and the society in which they live. To date we have raised over $11,000 towards our target of $50,000.
AfricAid's Losinoni School Lunch Program began years ago when AfricAid founders went to visit the rural primary school in Tanzania. Arriving during what would normally be lunch time, the founders noticed that the children do not receive a meal at school. When creating the School Lunch Program, the mothers of the children wanted to help. The Maasai people are known for their beautiful beaded jewelry that they make by hand and the Shuylers thought this would be a great opportunity for the Losinini mamas to help feed their children at school. AfricAid buys the handmade jewelry from the mothers and re-sells the bracelets and key chains in the US to fund the School Lunch Program. These amazing mothers put time and energy into ensuring their children and others in the village are receiving a nutricious meal at school so they can stay focused and study.
Thank you for supporting this community initiated program.
Recognizing the importance of computer literacy, AfricAid endeavors to install a computer lab in each of our partner schools in Northern Tanzania. This allows Kisa Scholars to develop computer skills and access information technology. The labs are also available to the general school population, improving access to technology for all at the partner school. AfricAid contracts an outside computer service technician to ensure that computer labs are well maintained.
One of the schools in which we have installed a lab is Maasae Girls Lutheran Secondary School. About 95% of the students at Maasae Girls are from rural (pastoralist) backgrounds and may be using computers for the first time when they enroll in Kisa. Exposure to and training in ICT is essential to ensuring these girls are not disadvantaged. AfricAid currently has 43 students at Maasai Girls enrolled in Kisa.
Thanks to the installation of the computer lab, the girls have been able to receive training in basic computer use, using the Internet for research, how to use social media and do so safely, and been introduced to Microsoft Office programs. And all this is made possible only with the support of donors like you.
We’re now over half way to our fundraising target, and with four new partner schools joining Kisa in 2015, we are very hopeful of being able to raise the funds to install labs in those schools too.