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.
Aug 12, 2013

Project Wezesha August 2013 Update

Our Students
Our Students

Dear Project Wezesha and Girls Ed Supporters,

I returned from a recent trip to Tanzania, during which I visited with most of our current scholarship students - including those who have recently graduated from secondary school with hopes of continued support for vocational school or college. Here's how our visit went:

On Saturday, July 13th Lucas, Maiko and I made our way into Mgaraganza Village with Saidi and Albert, two of our students who stay in town. Our destination – Amahoro Secondary School. Our purpose – meet with the current students in our program to visit, chat, and take pictures.

Between 11a – 12p, the students showed up alone, in pairs, in small groups. When all were present, we were a group of 21 students plus Lucas and Maiko. A few of our students were not able to join us because they attend schools outside of the region (Iringa, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Tabora).

Starting out our visit, there were many greetings and introductions among the students so they could get to know one another. It’s nice to see this scholarship program bringing new friends together from neighboring village around the shared desire to continue their education.

Once everyone was together, we sat around one of the unfinished, shaded and breezy classrooms of the new school. Lucas invited them to ask questions and share views. Of course, the students I’ve known the longest were initially the most chatty. They provided some insights into the situations that most affect students here in Tanzania. One student shared that life for students is hard and that after school, there is no time to study.  Her mother died a long time ago and now her father, who is elderly, is ailing. Hajira, therefore has a lot of work to do around the house to help her father and grandmother after school. This includes everything from tending to the animals, fetching water and firewood, and cooking.

Khadija, one of our long-time students who now attends VETA to study computers (having completed secondary school 2 years ago) noted that yes, life is hard and there is much work to do, but there is also the issue of students being lazy. She said there are plenty of times in the week when students are not working, times when they could be studying but they don’t. Of course, I know both cases to be true. Those who dig deep and find the motivation to study and strive for 'more' will hopefully reach their goals.

Fortunately, several of our students are driven and highly value the opportunity being afforded them. Khadija will be taking a ‘field’ assignment near Kasulu in the fall where she’ll work as a secretary in an office to put her new computer skills to use. Diana has enrolled herself in a college, similar to VETA to also study computer and secretarial skills. Ismael and Kiza are aiming for Nursing School. They both have scores high enough in the subjects necessary for admission to a Nursing program near Kasulu. Lucas and I told them that now their responsibility is to find out all the information Lucas needs for us to proceed – application due dates, cost of tuition, and other details. We talked to them about initiative and encouraged them not to wait for Lucas or me to make suggestions and connections for them.

The usual woes of the education system emerged: shortage of teachers, teachers who don’t come to class, lack of textbooks, cost of school fees (for those out of our program), size of the class, low English language proficiency for subjects taught in English only, lack of breakfast that leaves them starving by noon and unable to focus, etc. If the Government could just make two major changes, education and therefore life in Tanzania would be dramatically improved: 1) make secondary school free and 2) adopt dual language immersion (Kiswahili and English) earlier in primary school or implement it in secondary school. The abrupt transition from education in Swahili to education in English is brutal and causes most failures.

They also paired up and brainstormed some questions to ask me so that we could discuss other issues or so they could just pick my brain a bit. They asked me lots of questions – some requests for additional support, some requests for a field trip to Gombe or the Livingston Memorial, some personal Qs (Do you have children? Why not? Are you married? Why not? How old are you? – most guessed in the 20s, so that was nice).

We took many pictures, coaxing smiles so the true personalities that I have come to know really shine through. After a long afternoon together, everyone was hungry (especially our Muslim students who were fasting for Ramadan). We bid farewell and everyone headed off in different directions toward their home villages. It was so fulfilling to see these students that I've known for years - grown, happy, excited to continue studying and very grateful for the support they've received from you!

For more pictures of this visit and plenty of smile shots, visit our Facebook page and click on the album entitled: Catching up with Our Students 2013. We would love your continued support as we support these students through secondary school and onward into nursing programs, vocational schools or high school. Please consider making a contribution and/or sharing our work with your friends and family.

Thank you so much!

Zainabu and Rai
Zainabu and Rai

Links:

Jul 1, 2013

June 2013 Girls Ed Liberia Project Report

Dear Girls Ed Supporters,

We are happy to report that the girls are all doing well and continuing to diligently pursue their education.  The semester will finish in July so we will be able to report the girls' progress at that time.  

The CEO of our in-country affiliate, Liberia Now, recently returned from a visit and was able to meet with all of the girls as well as our nursing student Veronica.  We will have the interview transcripts to share with you later this summer.  Along with meeting with current students, the staff of Liberia Now also collected and reviewed applications for new students who will begin their studies with our scholarship assistance next semester.  Girls Ed will continue to support the ten girls as they move into the next level, while adding five more scholarship recipients, all thanks to your help.

We appreciate your ongoing support, and hope to continue to expand our reach in Liberia as the nation works to recover and gain strength through efforts such as ours, empowering its citizens to improve their futures.

With gratitude,

Loni 

May 23, 2013

May 2013 Update on Amahoro Secondary School

3rd Block of 4 Classrooms - going up in April
3rd Block of 4 Classrooms - going up in April

Dear Project Wezesha Supporters,

Thank you so much for joining us on this journey! We are seriously rounding the bend in a big way!!

There are two great updates to share:

  1. Since the beginning of this project, we have encouraged the villagers and the local government to be as involved as possible - to ensure local 'buy in' and attempt to avoid over-reliance on foreign assistance in this community. To date, the community has contributed greatly with volunteer labor for carrying sand, stone and water to the building site. However, skilled laborers, our engineer, architect and general contractor (all local) have been paid by Project Wezesha. Last year, we laid out a budget for the Regional Government to consider and share with the Tanzanian Government at large. Finally, we have their support! In April, Lucas shared the great news: the government has allocated a starting contribution of 25,000,000 Shillings (approx. $16,000 USD) to support us as we finish the classrooms. Their contribution will go directly toward the windows, doors, and concrete floors of the classrooms! We owe a debt of gratitute to Miriam Mmbaga, who works in the Education sector of the local Kigoma government. She rallied behind us to ensure this budget was strongly considered at the big meeting!
  2. Amahoro Secondary School - which will comprise 16 classrooms in 4 quad sections with offices flanking each corner - is so close to being finished. The bricks for all 16 classrooms are up and in place. The roofs are complete on 3 of the 4 quads and the goal is to finish the final 4 this summer, funding permitting! We still have a way to go - financially - to see this through, but we are so close! With the above-mentioned help from the government, we will at least have 8 classrooms completely finished (walls, roofs, windows, doors, floors, plaster and finishing paint) in time to admit students in Form 1 (and maybe even Form 2) at the start of the 2014 school year.

Co-founder Rai Farrelly will be joining Lucas in July to observe the progress, get updates to share with you and keep the momentum going with the local government. In addition, we are excited to announce that we have a fabulous intern joining us for 6 weeks this summer. Brian Fredrichs, newly elected student body president of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT will be living in Mgaraganza village with our friends Ashahadu and Jane. We look forward to his work and contributions to the project.

We also wish to thank our friend, Krista Arthur who visited the village and stayed with Ashadahu and Jane for two weeks. The photos in this project update were provided by Krista and we love having them to get excited about the progress!

Thank you so much for all your support! Please continue to share our work and encourage friends to contribute as we round the bend on the school! Our efforts won't stop there, of course. As you may know, we have a great scholarship program and we are excited to be able to add 30 girls through Girls Education International this summer, bringing our scholarship impact to almost 60 children in the region! You can support our children's scholarship fund by visiting this link and contributing.

Asante Sana!!
Rai Farrelly and Lucas Lameck
Co-founders, Project Wezesha

3rd Block of 4 Classrooms - with new roofs!
3rd Block of 4 Classrooms - with new roofs!
Krista makes friends at the school building site
Krista makes friends at the school building site

Links:

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