Girls Education International

The mission of Girls Education International is to expand and support educational opportunities for underserved females in remote and developing regions of the world. We work with existing non-governmental and nonprofit organizations in the regions we serve. These local organizations already have relationships and infrastructures in the rural communities where we work that allow us to build upon and maximize existing resources.
Mar 3, 2015

Amahoro Secondary School is Now Open!

District Commissioner, Mr Maneno
District Commissioner, Mr Maneno

Greetings Project Wezesha Supporters!

This is sure to be my favorite update so far. After four years of fundraising, planning, negotiating, (struggling), and succeeding - we are so excited to share the news that Amahoro Secondary School is open! There are 70 Form 1 students currently studying in our completed classrooms! Of this cohort, 15 are newly added girls for our Girls Education International Scholarship Tanzania program! We really couldn't be more happy, excited, and hopeful!

In January 2015, I traveled with two friends to the Kigoma Region. For the first few days, we met with leaders at the district level - planning the opening party, budgeting for the festivities, negotiating PW's contribution and the government's contribution, and much more. We visited the site of the school and met with the enthusiastic and proud new Head Master, Mr. Kumenya, as well as the local village leaders who have been working with us since the  beginning. Village 'Diwani' (Chief) Patrick Maganga was on hand all week - preparing the final details for the opening, including finishing the latrines, building steps into the classrooms, and staying on top of official business (organizing entertainment groups, arranging the schedule of events, staying in close contact with district leaders, etc.). He is a model of what true leadership should look like! Thank you, Diwani Maganga!!

One of the final hurdles to overcome prior to the opening of the school was completion of the latrines. I'll admit - I was very impressed when I finally saw them! Our top supporters, Shelmina and Minaz are responsible for the completion of the latrines. (Thank you, Shelmina and Minaz!!) The latrines come complete with porceline base toilets and a state of the art system for storing waste - which will last up to 70 years before it has to be cleared out by truck! Not just your average hole in the ground! Of course, our fabulous builder Isaya Lameck brought his A-Game to finish them, and his crew of laborers put in many hours digging deeper and deeper through very rocky soil. It was one of the toughest parts of the overall job!

The party was a smash! There were entertainment groups from the village and neighboring towns. They brought in an MC, a DJ, and set up a big tent for the VIP guests. Parties like this are a very big deal for villages and they let it show!

There was a theatrical song and dance performance, dancing by youth hip hop groups, and even some dancing by our current scholarship students. Interspersed with the entertainment were speeches by the village and district leaders. The village exective officer read a speech prepared by Lucas which outlined the timeline of the project, acknowledged the many contributors - near and far, and ultimately celebrated the big opening day!

The District Commissioner, Ramadhani Maneno gave a big speech about the promise of the future with education at the helm. He told the crowd of over 1,000 that I would be back in the future with volunteer teachers of English, Science, and Math to help build capacity ... no pressure! (Any volunteers?) This summer, funding permitting, I plan to return with 4-5 of my MA TEFL student teachers who will complete their English as a Foreign Language teaching internship in local primary and secondary classrooms. If this pilot goes well, we expect great future teacher collaborations in the future!

After all the dance, music, and speeches - they revealed the beautiful foundation plaques on the wall of the school. And then - the feast! All villagers and VIP guests were treated to a celebration lunch. Lucas showed that his skills even extend to being an event caterer and food server! He was tireless in his efforts to make sure this entire celebration was a huge success. By the end of the day, needless to say - we were all an exhausted group of planners and supporters!

But enough reading ... take a little break from whatever else you have to do right now and watch this video mash-up of the celebration!

Thank you very much to everyone who has collaborated, contributed, and cheered along the way! We'll continue to work with the leaders and the headmaster to continue this school's development - building laboratories, finishing additional classroom spaces, and of course - getting the football pitch ready for matches! So - we'll take you along for the journey for as long as you'll let us!

Asante sana,

Rai Farrelly and Lucas Lameck
Co-founders, Project Wezesha
www.ProjectWezesha.org

New Latrines
New Latrines
Isaya Getting it Done!
Isaya Getting it Done!
Entertainment Group
Entertainment Group

Links:

Feb 9, 2015

New project summary

New project extends to Dharyala Kahoon
New project extends to Dharyala Kahoon

First off, a big apology is due to our donors for delayed reporting. We had a little mixup in communications here at Girls Ed, and we're very sorry not to have been in touch. We shall endeavor to do better in the future.

For those unfamiliar with Girls Education International, we're a tiny, all-volunteer, pass-through organization, that helps raise visibility and funding for established NGOs serving girls' educational missions in regions where young women often don't have equal educational opportunities. This project is our second partnership with Bedari in Pakistan - the first ran for three years in the villages of Laphi and Sar Kalan ending in the Spring of 2014. That program assisted thirty girls and young women through scholarships that primarily helped with logistics of attending secondary school in this remote, rural area. When the program became self-sufficient through the contributions of parents and the community, we agreed to collaborate on a program double the size in the same general region.

Bedari visited the region through the first part of 2014, and settled on three villages that were geographically affiliated: Maira Aemah, Thirchak, and Hattar. A combined cohort of sixty students was identified, and arrangements were made to launch in the Fall. A common thread in the girls' stories is the high cost of transportation to attend school, and we agreed that the scholarships would focus on that need.

After the Fall program began, we had incredible news from Bedari: parents and the community were so enthusiastic about this opportunity, that they were increasing their contribution to the costs. As a result we were able to add another dozen students from the existing villages, as well as add another nearby village called Dharyala Kahoon. In total, we are now supporting 100 students, but at the same expense planned for 60!

We look forward to bringing you continued good news about this program, and sharing stories of the individual students as they progress. 

cheers


Steve

Links:

Dec 20, 2014

Ending 2014 on a High Note!

Hindu gets her diploma
Hindu gets her diploma

Season's Greetings Project Wezesha Supporters!

As we round the bend in 2014 (that was fast!), we are celebrating here at Project Wezesha because this has been a great year of success stories for us!

Hindu and Khadija

In our November update, we shared the great news that our students, Hindu and Khadija were graduating from their programs at the Vocational Education Training Authority. Well, they did and we are so happy for them (check out their graduation pics)! Project Wezesha supported them through 4 year of secondary school and 2 years of vocational training, and now, they are leaving our scholarship program. What the future holds is yet to be determined, but you better believe we'll be close by to see what's next for these determined, bright young women! Thanks for your part in their success.

Dibeit, Saidi, and Tumsifu

In 2011, three amazing young men - Dibeit, Saidi, and Tumsifu - began their studies as Form 1 students in secondary school, with the help of Project Wezesha. Now, join me in congratulating them on their graduation! Their ceremonies were held in November!

Dibeit: Due to his excellent performance on the secondary school entrance exams, Dibeit was selected by the government to study in Dodoma, Tanzania at a boarding school. He studied hard and stayed focused, even though he was half way across the country from his family. He remained among the top of his class throughout these four years.

Saidi: Saidi began his studies in Kiganza village, but at the insistence of his father (for the betterment of his education) we brought him into Kigoma town and paid half of his school fees for a private secondary school - his father paid the other half. He believed in Saidi so much that it was worth investing his small income to give Saidi the best shot possible at a better life. Both of his parents spend most of the year very far from their home village, living at the farm. Saidi and his siblings live with their grandparents most of the time. While studying in town for the past 3 years, Saidi has been living with Lucas. Saidi has made his whole family proud and the future impact of his education on all of them will be a great story to share!! Lucas attended Saidi's graduation and captured some great shots of the ceremony and his proud family!

Tumsifu: Tumsifu began his studies in Kagongo village, but like Saidi, it was important that he move to a secondary school that could really tap into his potential. At Mlore Secondary School, he thrived and held a spot at the top of his class. He has been dedicated to his studies and has high hopes for his future. He wishes to continue his studies through high school and into university with the ultimate aspiration of becoming either a doctor or an engineer.

The Cycle of Education - Our Graduates return as Teachers

Since graduation, these three young men have returned home to their villages (Kiganza and Kagongo). But, eager to keep their brains working and stay connected to their studies, they have volunteered to help us fill a big gap in our program - tutoring our current students. All of our students put two things on the top of their 'wish list' when we discuss what would help them succeed in secondary school: 1) textbooks and 2) after school tutoring.

Textbooks are expensive and most students don't have them. They take notes from the board, written by the teacher, who has the only text in the room (and often limited English language proficiency). This is their only resource from which to study later - and sometimes, the notes don't make sense when they read them later. So far, Project Wezesha has only been able to keep up with school fees; textbooks have been just out of our financial reach.

Providing after school tutoring has also been a challenge for us. Finding a qualified teacher who is willing and able to offer after school study sessions for our students wasn't as easy as we thought. Most teachers charge per subject and per student, again pushing it just out of our reach.

Well - problem solved! Dibeit, Saidi, and Tumsifu are now earning a monthly stipend from Project Wezesha to offer supplemental study sessions to our Form 1 and Form 2 students on the topics that are most challenging for them: math, chemistry, biology, physics, civics ... and taught in English! They teach groups of students at a time. The income they are receiving is more than their families have been bringing in from subsistence farming and fishing - and, it doesn't depend on the weather! Rain, Shine, or Drought - there are students to teach! When the time comes for them to leave for high school, we'll see which of our next graduates can step in to help out!

Is it Worth It? We Think So!

Lucas had a focus group interview with our students this month to see if, after one month, the investment is worthwhile. He asked the students if the support they were receiving was useful and accessible. They unanimously reported that it was great. They said that Saidi, Dibeit and Tumsifu were clarifying things so much! They hailed their teaching abilities and said that they would continue to be lost if not for these young teachers. Bravo! Bravo!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way so that we can support the students! They literally are the future and as we invest in them, we invest in a better world!

As the end of the year approaches (rapidly) and you consider last minute recipients for your end of year giving, please do keep us in mind. Project Wezesha is a very small scale nonprofit operating with almost no overhead. Your contribution to our scholarship fund goes directly to Kigoma where Lucas distributes the money to pay school fees, pay our new tutors' stipends, and take his salary. In other words, it's all invested in education! We hope that with these recent graduations, we will be able to add more students to our scholarship program, but we need your help to make that happen.

If you are still looking for last minute gifts, give the gift of education. You can make a donation to Project Wezesha in honor of a loved one. You can choose to send them an e-card or print a card at home to mail.

If you have a little extra motivation, you can even build your own online fundraiser and grow a larger donation through an event, such as a holiday party! On the project page, just click the green fundraiser button under the Donate button - then get creative with your page!

We (Lucas and Rai) are indebted to all of our supporters for helping us make this happen. The two of us are simply the instruments of your kindness.

Happy Holidays and much love, joy, and peace in the New Year!

Sincerely,

Rai Farrelly and Lucas Lameck
Co-founders, Project Wezesha

Khadija - Congrats from Baba (former chief)
Khadija - Congrats from Baba (former chief)
Graduation Dance - Saidi Smiling in the Middle
Graduation Dance - Saidi Smiling in the Middle
Tumsifu teaching a captive audience
Tumsifu teaching a captive audience
Dibeit making things clear
Dibeit making things clear
Saidi monitoring student work
Saidi monitoring student work

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