This past month, AfricAid's Kisa Scholars welcomed some very special guests - members of the She's the First team. She's the First is a nonprofit that works to sponsor girls' education in developing countries, giving girls the chance to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school. As a part of this mission, they have supported and sponsored many of our Kisa Scholars, for which we are so grateful. This past month we had the opportunity to share our work with them in person as part of their visit to Tanzania!
When I was in high school, I remember very, very occasionally walking into class to find the ultimate surprise - guests. It might be former students, or one of the teacher's friends who just happened to stop by, but it always meant one thing: a shorter, more laid-back class in which none of us would get yelled at. I'd pull out a piece of notebook paper to write a note to a friend (in gel pen, of course, and then painstakingly folded into some intricate origami pattern), while others would start games of hangman or throw paper footballs. The downside, of course, was that whatever work we did manage to get done that day would have extra eyes upon it, especially if we had a presentation to do.
So when we visited with Kisa classes this week, all of this was playing through my head. I feel we owe both an asante* and a pole* to the Kisa mentors and students for letting us tag along and disturb their classes. Once there, we listened as the girls discussed status quo and their place in it, as another class presented their business plans ("Royal Chicken, where the chickens are fatter!"), and as they learned to fight back against negative stereotypes affecting women in Tanzania. Breaking into STEM fields was high on that discussion list, just as it is in the USA.
We also had opportunities to meet with our STF Scholars after classes were over, and learned more about their goals and dreams. Many of them were preparing for exams, so achieving Division I or II was highest on their list of priorities. They also talked about going to university, and many of them want to study law - a profession direly needed by people in the area, especially by women.
We weren't surprised to find them well-spoken and enthusiastic about joining the Kisa Project. Even the first-year students knew what it meant to be chosen for the program, and told us they were ready to be leaders among their peers and in their communities. We have no doubt they will be!
AfricAid's Life Changing Training is offering a world of opportunities to Tanzanian girls. Here is just one such situation:
Margaret Melkiori is an example of one of our Kisa Scholars. She is an extraordinary young Tanzanian woman who became orphaned at the age of 5, after her parents died from AIDS. She has had to face and overcome many challenges, and her education has only been made possible through the support, training, and mentorship she is receiving as a Kisa Scholar. Based on her impressive leadership and academic skills, Margaret was chosen last year to attend a Youth Leadership Exchange Program in the United States sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania, one of only a handful of girls selected for this honor in all of Tanzania. She is an outstanding example of the "girl effect" through her active participation and leadership in her community, and evidence that, given the opportunity, educated woman will change the lives of future generations in Tanzania.
It is truly thank you to YOU that Margaret and other girls like her are having the chance to attend school, change their own futures, their families’ futures and their communities’ futures.
Thank you! And enjoy your last few weeks of summer vacation!
Hello AfricAid supporters!
While many of you are getting ready for the end of the school year and summer break to begin, our Kisa scholars have just finished their break and have returned to school for another year. Many of our scholars returned to their home communities during break to spend time with their families. Now refreshed, these students are ready to return to classes and begin their final year of secondary school and of the Kisa project!
We are excited to watch our scholars finish out their last year of secondary school and begin to set their sights on what's next. With a diploma in hand, there are so many opportunities for these bright and hard-working young women. Who will strive to become an accountant, a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher??
While we don't know what each young woman's path holds, we do know that they will each continue to be leaders and change-makers where ever they go!
Thank you for your support of the Kisa Project and for creating opportunities for brighter futures for young women in Tanzania.
Executive Director, AfricAid
The Kisa project launched in spring of 2010 with 23 girls. We had high hopes for this first class of Kisa scholars, hopes of the places they would go and the great things they would do after completing secondary school. In February, these Kisa scholars completed the Kisa program and graduated from secondary school! After graduation these Kisa graduates were asked to educate other young women in their communities, a unique opportunity to extend what they learned in the Kisa program.
And now our Kisa graduates are moving onto great careers. Chummy is working on her bachelor degree in economics and finance, she hopes to be an economist. Another Kisa graduate, Dorcas, has been accepted to the University of Dodoma to study engineering and computer science. 17 of our 23 original Kisa scholars plan to attend University now that they have graduated from secondary school! This is an extraordinary statistic in a country where 95% of girls don't finish secondary school.
We are so proud of our Kisa graduates. And we are so excited to see what opportunities our next class of Kisa scholars will experience as they graduate secondary school this winter and begin to pursue further education and careers. We know that there are many amazing things in store for the futures of these bright, dedicated, and ambitious young women. We can't wait to see what 2013 will bring for our Kisa graduates!!
Dear AfricAid Kisa supporters,
Asante sana for supporting our Kisa scholars in their quest for a solid education and a better life. We're very appreciative and grateful.
The Kisa Program is strong and growing. 131 new girls entered Kisa in May/June and they are already taking in valuable lessons and bonding with their mentors and one another. We're planning a Career Day on October 20 which will bring all our Kisa scholars across Tanzania together to hear from powerful Tanzanian female role-models and allow our scholars to explore career options they may have only dreamed of.
Kisa is designed to be a life-changing program that equips young Tanzanian girls for success through educational and entrepreneurial training and network-building. Your support allows Tanzanian girls to control their own lives and create their own futures.
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Interim Executive Director