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.
Eliakunda graduated from Enaboishu Secondary School in Northern Tanzania in 2013. She had been one of the most dedicated of our Kisa Program students, demonstrating creativity, commitment, and great aptitude. It was, therefore, not a difficult decision to make when she applied to AfricAid’s University Scholarship Fund for support to allow her to accept the place she had been offered at St Augustine University of Tanzania.
Eliakunda is the first in her family to go to university. She comes from a farming area on the lower slopes of Mt Meru in Northern Tanzania and her family are subsistence farmers, who often struggle to make ends meet. This was especially true after Eliakunda’s father passed away when she was a child. Her mother worked very hard, and with some additional outside help, was able to send her youngest daughter to secondary school. Supporting her to go to university, however, was going to prove too much of a stretch, even though this bright young woman had worked so hard to gain a place in the Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) program.
This is where the AfricAid Scholarship Fund can really make a difference to an individual’s future. Each year we accept applications from young women like Eliakunda for a partial scholarship. The amount awarded to each successful applicant is normally about $500 per year of study – the family raises the rest. The scholarship is paid directly to the university to partially cover the cost of tuition.
What is a relatively small amount of money has had a large impact on the course of a young woman’s life – a young woman who we have no doubt will be a great role model and inspiration to other young women who struggle for a brighter future. And the only reason AfricAid is able to do this is because of donors like you. We have only reached about 10% of our target so far, but we hope to reach it so that we can say ‘yes’ to more young women like Eliakunda. Thank you so much for helping us get there.
AfricAid provides university scholarships for girls who graduate from the Kisa Project, a two-year leadership, life-skills, and entrepreneurship training for high school girls in Tanzania. Scholarships are provided to Kisa Scholars who not only graduate from Kisa but also pass the national exam to graduate from secondary school. This year 100% of scholars graduated in a country of which only 5% of girls graduate secondary. Even better, 100% of the young women are preparing to attend university and because of supporters like you, the girls who need financial assistance to pay for tuition will receive a scholarship! We need your continued support to increase our scholarships and assist more amazing young women leaders to pursue their higher education and dreams.
The school year is quickly coming to a close! Eight young women are about to graduate secondary school and will start university or vocational training after their Leadership Immersion Experience in July 2014. These young women are Kisa graduates. AfricAid's Kisa Project mentors girls in the areas of leadership, life-skills, and entreprenuership. These graduates then mentor a group of 10-15 young secondary school girls during Leadership Immersion to pass along the skills they received during the two year Kisa Project training. Upon graduating from the Kisa Project, the girls join the Kisa Alumni Association which connects them to a network of accomplished Kisa leaders who are using their leadership skills to change their communities. Once the young women graduate from university, they can apply to be Kisa Project mentors or become involved in AfricAid's business incubator. With so little job opportunities in Tanzania, university graduates often have a difficult time securing a decent job after graduating. Our business incubator trains and connects girls to jobs in the social enterprise sector. We provide young women with university scholarships to give them the opportunity to succeed and through our Kisa Alumni and business incubator programs, AfricAid makes sure each young woman is provided with enough resources and training to be a powerful woman leader in Tanzania.
One of the biggest challenges that young women face in Tanzania is the lack of opportunity to attend university. Our University Scholarship Program is geared towards girls who graduate from our Kisa Program, AfricAid's leadership development program for secondary school scholars. AfricAid offers eight competivite scholarships for girls to attend university or vocational training colleges. This year, eight young women have been identified. The girls graduate in May and will start university or vocational training after their Leadership Immersion Experience in July 2014. Upon graduating from the Kisa Program, the girls join the Kisa Alumni Association which connects them to a network of accomplished Kisa leaders who are using their leadership skills to change their communities. University graduates can apply to join the Kisa Program as mentors and the cycle of empowering and developing new leaders continues.
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