For this update, I would like to share my personal experience with the challenges African students face in terms of meals. Before I became the Operations Manager for AfricAid, I spent 8 months volunteering in Uganda. I spent a lot of my time visiting primary and secondary schools to play soccer and interact with the kids. When I first heard and saw how little food children receive at school, I was heart broken. Many girls I met told me about their daily one hour walk each way to and from school. This walk was normally done after they finished their morning work of collecting firewood, washing dishes, preparing tea and collecting water, which left them exhausted once they finally arrive at school. With many schools not having the funds to provide a lunch, most students grew tired and had a difficult time focusing in class. As school is already expensive for many rural households, families do not have enough money to contribute to the school for lunch expenses, making school meals a distant dream. These same issues are occuring in many rural and semi urban locations throughout Africa, Tanzania being one of them. When I joined AfricAid's team and learned of the School Lunch Program, I was so pleased to learn that we are providing lunch for students at Losinoni Primary School in Tanzania. Even better, we are involving the community in the effort with students' mothers making bracelets to sell here in the US as contribution to the food costs! This program is truly making a big difference in the lives of the 650 students. Imagine what it would be like to try to focus and keep up with your studies with an empty stomach. Now students at Losinoni are receiving higher marks and are able to concentrate in class. Thank you all for making this happen and we look forward to continuing this project in 2014 and years to come!
2013 was a great year for our work in Tanzania. AfricAid has installed nine low cost computer labs serving over 8,000 students! These computer labs are making a tremendous impact in the lives of these students. The world is becoming increasingly dependant upon access to such technology for business and social purposes. Most Tanzanians have never used a computer. After completion of their studies, they join the work force as a young adult and often have a difficult time learning how to use a computer while simutaneously producing quality work. Basic computer skills such as typing and use of Microsoft products is extremely important in almost any business. If more schools in Tanzania have computer labs students will be more prepared for their careers in the future. Many of AfricAid's partnering Kisa schools also provide limited access to the internet at the computer labs, giving students the ability to tap into the knowledge and potential of the World Wide Web! AfricAid is utilizing this by facilitating cross cultural dialogue between students in Tanzania and students and sponsors in the United States. This dialogue helps both parties share, grow and learn together!
Happy Holidays Kisa supporters! 2013 has been a wonderful year for AfricAid's Kisa Project. Let's take a look at what we have accomplished since Kisa began.
The first two Kisa classes have now graduated from secondary school.
The Kisa graduation rate was 94%, in a country in which only 5% of girls graduate from secondary school, and where each year of secondary school completed adds 20% to a girls’ eventual wages.
Since graduation, these first two classes if girls have mentored over 1,000 other young girls in their home communities, giving them critical lessons in life skills, leadership, and entrepreneurship, in a supportive community environment.
91% of our graduated Kisa scholars are going on to university or another form of post-secondary training, in a country in which less than 1% of women have any training/education post secondary school.
Currently, there are 250 Kisa Scholars enrolled in the program, with another 250 young women expected to join the Kisa Project in 2014.
None of this could have been possible without Kisa's amazing supporters!! Thank you all so very much and have a wonderful holiday season.