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.
Jun 23, 2014

June 2014 Amahoro Secondary School Update

Waiting for Class to Start
Waiting for Class to Start

Dear Project Wezesha Supporters,

Again, I send out heartfelt gratitude on behalf of Lucas, me, and the residents and leaders who will benefit from the opening of Amahoro Secondary School! I'm excited to share pictures from Lucas of the progress made through April (see above and below - windows and doors and floors, oh my!). By the time I arrive in Kigoma in August, I'm sure the updates and photos will truly astonish. I, for one, can't wait to see the completed classrooms - ready for their first cohort of eager learners!

But ... we're still rounding the bend with construction - which means that there is still material to be purchased, builders to be paid, and of course our night watchman, Kalekwa, to be compensated for watching over the materials and keeping the local kids out of harm's way. (We love Kalekwa!)

Speaking of Kalekwa, during our first year of construction on Amahoro Secondary School, Kalekwa's wife died suddendly during the birth of their third child - a lovely daughter. We were all very sad for his loss. Kalekwa chose to stay with us at the school site, leaving his two sons and newborn daughter in the loving care of the women in his family. His salary as a night watchman was indespensible and with this income, he supports his small young family. We are happy to share the news that this Spring, Kalekwa married once again. Lucas shared these pictures you see (below) of our friend on his happy day!

As for Amahoro Secondary School, we hope you'll continue to support us in the home stretch (yes, home stretches are longer in Tanzania)! Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Please post a link to our project on your social networking sites (use the convenient sharing buttons below).
  2. Share this project report with friends.
  3. Ask friends to chip in a little to help us generate the funds we need to get 'er done!
  4. Host a fundraising party or build your own online fundraising page (just click the green 'fundraiser' button beneath the large orange 'donate' button) - you can design it as you wish, build it as a wedding registry, or create an event (5k, bike race, car wash, etc.).
  5. Donate - money is always the bottom line.

PS - As the sole fundraiser for Project Wezesha in the United States ... actually, in the world ... I do realize that being asked time and again for money can be annoying (imagine being the one who has to ask 4 times per year, at least). So please, do know that I appreciate it more than words can really express. I wish I could carry you all in my case when I go so that you could see the hope and happiness on the faces of everyone that I come in contact with as I make my way around the villages, visiting old friends, meeting new ones, and sharing stories from near and far. One day the sounds from these classrooms will be those of songs, sciences, histories, maths, and laughter - rather than those of hammers and saws. And then together we can say - we did this!

Thank you so much!!

Rai Farrelly & Lucas Lameck
Co-Founders, Project Wezesha 

Windows and Walls
Windows and Walls
Kalekwa
Kalekwa's Wedding
Classroom Floors
Classroom Floors
Kalekwa
Kalekwa's Wedding Guests
Apr 29, 2014

April 2014 Pakistan Update from Girls Ed

Dear Girls Education Supporters,

We are excited to share a follow up about one of our scholarship recipients, Awatif Aslam. Below is the story, as told by one of our our in-country partners, Safeer Ullah Khan. It's the whole story from the beginning to the exciting new development in Awatif's life! Her life has been changed thanks to having earned an education, something made possible thanks to supporters like you. We hope you feel your impact!

Awatif wanted to study further but her parents had other plans for her. As they could not afford to keep her in school, they had selected a groom for her and wanted to marry her off as soon as possible so that they could have one less mouth to feed. Awatif was in deep trouble and just did not know if there was any way out of this difficult situation.

That was the time when Bedari, with support from Girls Education International, announced a scholarship program for girls who had completed thier primary education in Laphi – Awatif’s village. She applied for the program and got selected. The next step was to convince her parents to delay her marriage and let her continue with her education. It was a difficult part but the local volunteer at Bedari pulled the right strings, i.e. discussed the matter with elderly people of the community who, then, talked to Awatif’s parents, and got their consent. In a matter of a few weeks, all the formalities were completed, and she was back in school.

She made the most of the opportunity, cleared her secondary school exam and requested Bedari for support for another two years to do her higher secondary certificate - necessary for graduation. Bedari, seeing her passion, decided to continue the support, which resulted in successful completion of her higher secondary level education as well.

Support from Bedari came to an end at that point. But Awatif’s passion for further education had swelled even further. She was again in a difficult situation. Seeing her passion, her family got together and discussed different options. The largest chunk of expenditure on her education was actually on her daily travel from her village to her college in the nearby town. If that expense could be avoided, the family could afford to continue her education (Bedari was paying for her transportation before).

At that point, her grandmother stepped in. She lived in the same town near Awatif’s prospective College. The Grandmother offered her home to Awatif, so she did not have to take a van daily but could walk to and from college. Awatif happily accepted her offer. She started living with her grandmother. Her uncle provided her with books. She walked to her college daily and visited her parents on weekends. In another two years, she graduated!

And now for the exciting new development ...

She is now 20 years old and ready to take up the responsibilities of married life. However, life presented her with another opportunity. An NGO wanted to establish an adult literacy center in the neighboring village, and was looking for a teacher. As it failed to find a well-educated female teacher in that village, it started looking for one in the neighboring village, and came to know about Awatif. She was immediately hired and sent for basic training in adult literacy. She has completed her training and is now teaching at the Adult Literacy Center. It is difficult for her to hide her joy. Now she is completely ready to take up the responsibilities of married life.

We are just thrilled for Awatif. She was able to enjoy her youth, study, and acquire a paying job as an educator! Not only has her life been changed, but the generosity of her grandmother to help her continue her studies shows that education is something to be cherished. When communities see the potential of education to bring prosperity and happiness into the lives of young women, they will continue to fight for each girl's right to have equal access to quality education. And we all know that will change the world!

Congratulations, Awatif! And thank you Girls Ed supporters!!

Please share this story and the work we are all doing together by bringing this up in conversation or using the sharing buttons below. Encourage friends and family to make a contribution so that we can continue to grow our programs and support many more young women like Awatif. The gratitude is ever flowing!

Cheers,

The Girls Ed Team

Apr 9, 2014

Project Wezesha Scholarship Program Update

Saidi
Saidi

Greetings Project Wezesha Supporters!

We hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the start of a new season! I know in Tanzania, everyone is very excited about the coming end to a long rainy season ... ah, but of course - the water and vibrant green of the landscape during this season is so refreshing!

In Tanzania, our students actually start their school year in January (not August or September as in many parts of the world). So, they are in the early stages of a new school year. Nonetheless, the year is off to a race for some of them - namely Saidi, Dibeit and Tumsifu who are currently in Form 4. This means that these three very bright young men are rounding the bend in their secondary school experience.

They will take two mock exams this year and then in October, they will take the high stakes final exams to see if they qualify for entrance into high school (and we know they will!). At that point, we'll have some big decisions to make and we hope you'll join us in making them.

Thus far, our scholarship program has paid for secondary school fees for over 30 students. Some have completed secondary school and returned to their communities to plan 'next steps'. A few of them have moved on to the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) to specialize in particular occupations - namely, computer science (updates on them coming soon). Tumsifu, Dibeit, and Saidi will be our first students to qualify for high school (and again, we're sure they will!). Once they do, Project Wezesha will seek your support to see if we can manage the much higher tuition fees of high school (Form 5 and 6) education, which is required before a student can go to University.

Here's a quick refresher on Tumsifu, Saidi and Dibeit:

Tumsifu is a Form 4 student. He started at Kagongo Secondary School, then we moved him to a better government school with boarding facilities - so he could truly focus and dive into his studies. His grades have remained stellar and he is at the top of his class. His dream - to become either a doctor or engineer.

Saidi was one of our very first friends. I met him in 2008 and we began supporting him when he entered secondary school in 2011. Finally, he is coming to the end of his secondary school experience. Two years ago, he moved in with Lucas so that he could attend a better school in Kigoma town. That change, initiated by his father, has been instrumental in turning Saidi's life around. His grades have remained high, his English continues to improve and his dreams are in sight! Saidi hopes to be a teacher and he will be a great one!

We also met Dibeit in 2008. Dibeit and Saidi were the best of friends - always together, always eager to join us under the gazebo for English conversation time. Dibeit finished primary school with top honors and the government chose him to attend a private secondary school in Dodoma, Tanzania. He has grown so much in the past four years, even having the chance to visit the capital numerous times to visit family. His grades remain high, his smile big, and his spirit pure.

Please join us in wishing these boys luck as they prepare for these very important exams! When I visit this summer, I'll take all your well wishes and deliver them in person! In return, get ready for some great 'mug shots' and reports from all of our lovely students!

Asante Sana,

Rai Farrelly & Lucas Lameck
co-founders, Project Wezesha

Tumsifu
Tumsifu
Dibeit, Rai, Lucas, Saidi and friends - Tanganyika
Dibeit, Rai, Lucas, Saidi and friends - Tanganyika

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