Aug 9, 2021

New Faces of Medicine in Tanzania

Sospeter with Peers at College
Sospeter with Peers at College

Dear Project Wezesha Supporters, 

Many of the young men in our scholarship program have dreams that lie in the medical field. They have all been inspired by their life experiences in the villages surrounding Kigoma town.

Inspired by Experience

At the very start of secondary school, Dibeit knew that he would pursue medicine with a specific goal of improving the quality of health and life for women and their children. Tumsifu echoed Dibeit's concerns about the number of women they saw dying in their villages due to complications from childbirth and other female health related issues. 

In May 2020, Dibeit and Tumsifu graduated from University. Tumsifu is now working as an Assistant Doctor at a private dispensary in Tabora. Dibeit is also working at a hospital in Tabora, and he is awaiting an appointment by the government to an official post. 

In Their Footsteps

Following in their footsteps, Simoni entered a program to become a medical doctor of gynecology -- a 6-year program that will provide him with sound theoretical and practical knowledge for the work he plans to do. He is motivated by a strong desire to improve the overall health of women through a holistic approach that incorporates a focus on lifestyle choices. 

In this short video, we share a message sent to us by Simoni via What's App. In addition to sharing about his academic program and future goals, he commits to investing 10% of his future salary into our scholarship program to help "his young sisters and brothers" (i.e., future Project Wezesha students) as they fulfill their academic dreams. 

We have known Simoni since he was a small, shy young boy at the top of his Standard 7 class at Mgaraganza Primary School. His teachers raved about his academic performance. Everyone lamented the future of a young man with so much potential, but very little means to pay for secondary school. Project Wezesha admitted Simoni to our scholarship program and supported him through secondary school, academic study camps, and high school. Throughout it all, Simoni remained focused on his goals and performed at the top of each class. It was no surprise to us that he would be admitted to university to become a doctor. 

In addition to these young men, Sospeter and Anzaruni are completing year one of a 3-year program at Sumbawanga College in pursuit of a diploma in Clinical Medicine. (See photos of these two students with their peers at College.) They share updates about what they are learning through both course work and field study. Recently Anzaruni reported on the inspiration he got from attending the graduation of 3rd year students. He is both excited and nervous about his second year as the length and intensity of the program increases. Among challenges he anticipates is a lack of equipment to complete his coursework, noting that there are several devices that he will be required to purchase to keep up with peers in labs and other practical courses. 

Continuing Your Support

If you believe in the potential for these young men to make a difference in the lives of many Tanzanians through their work in the medical field, please consider sharing this update with friends and family and making an additional contribution today. With your support, we can ensure they not only earn their degrees but excel while doing so! 

Thank you for being part of the dream!

Sincerely, 

Rai, Lucas, and Madaga
Team Project Wezesha 

*Girls Education International is the fiscal sponsor for Project Wezesha.

Anzaruni and Peers at College
Anzaruni and Peers at College
Anzaruni and Classmate
Anzaruni and Classmate
2012 Project Wezesha Scholarship Cohort
2012 Project Wezesha Scholarship Cohort
Young Simoni
Young Simoni
Simoni at University
Simoni at University

Links:

Aug 2, 2021

From Interns to Entrepreneurs

Flora Modeling her Design
Flora Modeling her Design

Dear Girls Ed Supporters, 

This Spring, with your support, Girls Ed funded the field study (internships) of students attending the Nyamidaho Vocation Education and Training Authority (VETA). Among the cohort of those completing their internships were Melania and Flora. They are each pursuing a certificate in design sewing and clothing technology. 

Melania and Flora had the opportunity to be placed together at Sunflag, a textile and clothing company based in Arusha, Tanzania. While working for Sunflag, they learned from professionals in the factory about the machines, the process of turning cotton into thread, the thread dying process, how to weave textiles, and how to design and create clothing, such as shirts, skirts, dresses, suits, and more.

In this videoMelania films as Flora gives a tour of the factory and explains (in Swahili) about the machines and the process of making threads and textiles. (See additional photos of Melania and Flora in the factory.)

On a recent trip home to Kigoma, Melania and Flora visited our in country Project Manager, Lucas at the Project Wezesha office. He conducted interviews with them so they could share firsthand about their time in Arusha. In this video, Lucas greets donors and introduces Melania and Flora. 

Flora - Future Fashion Designer

In this video, Lucas interviews Flora in Swahili about her recent field experience for her certificate in tailoring, which she is pursuing at the Nyamidaho VETA center (Vocational Education and Training Authority). In this video, Flora explains that she completed her field experience in Arusha. She refined her tailoring skills, learning how to make shirts, dresses, and suits from Kanga and Kitenge materials. She extends tremendous gratitude and blessings to everyone who has supported her so she could have this opportunity. She also says how happy she was to have the chance to see Arusha; to know a larger city. Finally, Lucas invites her to stand up and show off the lovely dress that she made while in Arusha. I want one!! 

Flora, once a very shy young woman has really come out of her shell. To see her speak so openly and with such confidence about this experience is such a testament to the value of investing in and believing in young women. Without the opportunities of study camp, secondary school, and now this vocational training experience, Flora might still be a reserved young woman, remaining in others' shadows, letting others speak for her, and walking the path chosen by someone else. Not anymore!

Melania - Future Design Entrepreneur

In this video (Part 1 of 2), Melania says that she has learned how to make many, many types of clothing during her internship with Sunflag in Arusha. She also learned how to process raw cotton into thread and then how to make clothing from the materials. Lucas asks her about the process of making a shirt, as she is wearing one that she made in this video. Lucas commented on how impresesed he was by the technical language they were using for the explanation. 

Melania's enthusiasm about her work and what she's learned is evident in the interview, even if you don't understand Swahili. Her smile and confidence shine through. She expresses gratitude to donors who helped make this field experience possible. She sends blessings and shares how happy she feels about the opportunity to  have lived and studied in Arusha, to learn from professionals, and to continue her studies with these newfound skills. Prior to her field experience, her instructors noted that she has what it takes to be an instructor herself. We, too, can see her in that role in the future.

In this video (Part 2 of 2), Melania describes the process of making Maasai Shuka, the traditional clothing of the Maasai people of East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). In great detail, she outlines the process of creating thread, dying it in red and blue, weaving the threads into the traditional checked pattern, and finishing the textile for use in sewing. She describes the large number of products that can then be made from the materials. She knows that the Maasai pattern materials are in demand and therefore, knowing how to create them is lucrative for an entrepreneur selling such textiles in larger markets. You can learn more about the Maasai Shuka and see some of the incredible fashions here.  

We're excited for Flora and Melania and look forward to celebrating their completion of these certificates. Once they return home, purchase the machines needed, and rent a space to start their businesses, the sky is the limit for them. The income they'll generate will leverage them and their families. Knowing that others believe in them and invested in their potential means the world to them. Who knows -- maybe one day they'll be marketing their beautiful clothes around the world. I know I'll be ordering a dress from Flora very soon! 

Please share this update and celebrate their success with us. Click 'Give Now' and contribute today so we can Multiply the Mission and support more young women seeking to become professionals in their communities.

Thank you for your part in making these dreams come true. 

Asante sana, 

Rai Farrelly
Tanzania Project Manager
Girls Education International

Melania Modeling Shirt She Made
Melania Modeling Shirt She Made
Working with Cotton in Factory
Working with Cotton in Factory
Working on the Machines in Factory
Working on the Machines in Factory

Links:

Jul 15, 2021

Hope and Reflections in Uncertain Times

Girls Playing Sports
Girls Playing Sports

Greetings Girls Ed Pakistan Supporters,

Girls Ed is a small but mighty organization, and we only grow stronger. During this past year, we have worked as a small board of directors to strengthen the organization through intentional and reflective strategic planning. Among many positive outcomes of recent organizational exercises, we have established a core set of pillars to guide our work and we have refined many of our processes and procedures to foster the sustainable growth of Girls Ed.

Growing the Board of Directors

We are currently interviewing for two open positions on the board – Pakistan Project Manager and Member at Large.  We expect to be able to introduce these new board members very soon. In the meantime, we recently welcomed Loni Riley as our new (returning) Treasurer and Lauren Sadler as our new Communications Director. We are thrilled to be adding to our team and look forward to the synergy as we move forward with the next phases of our strategic plan, which include a focus on fundraising efforts and donor relations.

Updates from the Chakwal District

We continue to support 60 girls in Tehsil Talagang of the Chakwal Punjab district in Pakistan. This past year was challenging in many ways due to the pandemic. Across Pakistan, schools closed down and families faced difficult times. With girls out of school, families became concerned about what the girls would do while out of school; some were concerned about pressures to marry.

Girls Ed worked with our partner organization, Bedari to explore alternatives to formal schooling. We shifted our budget to support programs such as local sports competitions, self-defense training, and counseling sessions to keep them positive and motivated during this uncertain time. (See photos of girls in action!) This summer, the Punjab government school association announced a one-month summer camp for 9th and 10th grade students to account for some of the missed schooling during the pandemic. Girls in grades 6 through 8 are engaged in a one-month vocational training program through the end of July.

Grade Level Distribution

Despite the break in schooling, all girls will take examinations at their respective grade levels. Below is the 2021 distribution of girls in our program by grade. We wish them all success so they may advance to the next levels.

  • 2 girls will complete the grade 6 examinations
  • 8 girls will complete the grade 7 examinations
  • 5 girls will complete the grade 8 examinations
  • 13 girls will complete the grade 9 examinations
  • 28 girls will complete the grade 10 examinations
  • 2 girls will complete the grade 11 examinations
  • 1 girl will complete the grade 12 examinations

Nadia Gets Married – A Time for Reflection

While 59 of the girls in our program did not marry in the past year, one student named Nadia did. Her support will be shifted to a new girl. Bedari shared Nadia's story with us as an example of how life impacts girls differently, highlighting the importance of continued awareness raising and advocacy for girls' access to education globally.

Nadia is 17 years old and comes from the village of Sadiq Abad. She is in the 10th grade. Nadia stayed out of school for two years after completing 8th grade, because her father could not afford to pay for her studies. Bedari stepped in and offered to support her transportation through this Girls Ed partnership, so her father agreed to send her back to school. Nadia was excited to join school again and performed well in 9th grade. In addition to her studies, she enjoys writing poetry and articles in Urdu.

Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in heavy economic consequences for her family. Her father had to borrow money to support his family but was unable to repay his debt. He made the decision to marry his daughter to the lending family as repayment. According to Bedari, it is common practice to give daughters to manage or avoid disputes. Nadia was not happy with this decision and wanted to complete her education.

Members of the Bedari staff visited the family and discussed the matter with her father many times, however, he was convinced to marry her off as soon as possible to get rid of the debt. He argued that it was legal for her to marry since she was above 16 years of age. Bedari requested that she be allowed to complete her education. Her father said that her husband has committed to help her complete the education and bear the expenses. Bedari plans to stay in touch with her; however, they acknowledge that it is unlikely, given expected gender roles of newly married women, that she will continue her studies. Still … we can hope for a different path for her.

Although this is not the outcome we would have imagined for Nadia, the staff at Bedari believe that Nadia has developed a sense of bravery and determination from her studies that will help her to self-advocate in her marriage and in her community so that she has a brave space in which to thrive and support her future children. Nadia’s case prompts us all to reflect on the challenge facing girls today – in 2021. The struggle continues for a world in which all girls can have equal access to education and the right to make their own decisions about their lives. Together with Bedari and you, we will continue to enact our mission and strive to eliminate the gender equality gap.

Please share our work with your network. We believe that in time, as more and more young women are educated in Pakistan, the tides will turn and women will have increased opportunities to make decisions about their futures. 

With gratitude, 

The Girls Ed Team

Girls Group Photo at Game Competition
Girls Group Photo at Game Competition
Nadia
Nadia
 
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