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.
Nov 18, 2014

November Update on Girls Education Tanzania

A Mattress for Boarding School
A Mattress for Boarding School

Greetings Girls Education International Supporters,

Thank you so much for supporting our recent program expansion to include girls in Tanzania! Through our partnership with Project Wezesha (www.projectwezesha.org), we are now supporting a group of young women in secondary school in western Tanzania.

The girls were honored to be selected in the summer of 2013 and were so excited when they received the items they needed to embark on their new school year. For some of them, that included mattresses! That's right - a few of our girls did so well on their secondary entrance exams that they were selected by the governmnet to attend boarding schools in various regions of the country. For the girls who stayed nearby, they were given other required (and perhaps unexpected) items - such as buckets, brushes, and hoes. Yes, that's right - part of the civic engagement of being a student is taking care of your school grounds. (See the pictures of the girls with their swag.)

After the first 6 months, the girls had a varied set of reports to share with us. Some reports were a bit disheartening, as can be the case when we check in. Studies are challenging because books are scarce. Subject matter is difficult to learn because classes are taught in English (and they speak Swahili). But, through interviews with the girls this past summer, we did hear from them that they know, without question, that education is the 'way forward'. They recounted the value of education to help them make their society better. They noted the importance of education to help their family with health related situations. They shared their ideas about how with education, they can do more to improve their lives. They also expressed that they are very happy and grateful to be going to school every day.

I'm going back in December to visit the students and attend the opening of the secondary school that Project Wezesha has been building with local leaders since 2010. We are very excited - as are the local primary students who are looking forward to filling these classrooms in the near future.

Thank you so much for your support! Because of you, these girls are in school as members of an academic community - trying (hard as it may be) to reach their educational goals and make their lives better!

Asante Sana!

Rai Farrelly
Board Member, Girls Education InternationalCo-Founder, Project Wezesha

Equipped and Ready for School
Equipped and Ready for School
Getting Geared Up!
Getting Geared Up!
The Girls and Rai_Summer 2014
The Girls and Rai_Summer 2014
Nov 4, 2014

November 2014_Project Wezesha Student Update

Khadija and Hindu
Khadija and Hindu

Dear Project Wezesha Supporters,

Greetings and apologies for a long overdue update on our scholarship program. It's amazing how life as a college professor can sweep me up at times! But, at long last - I have put in the hours to edit and compile video footage (interviews) with some of our students from this summer. So, keep reading!

Congratulations to Hindu and Khadija!

First, however, Lucas and I are happy to share some wonderful news! Our amazing students, Hindu and Khadija are graduating from their programs at the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA). They began studying together two years ago and both pursued careers as administrative assistants.

Before they entered VETA, neither of them knew how to type or use computers. During this program, they have learned about shorthand, typing, using MicroSoft Office, communicating via email, and browsing the web for information. Each of them participated in two field placements (internships) in the Kigoma Region.

During their first internship, they worked in offices in Kasulu, about 3 hours from Kigoma town. In the second internship, Hindu traveled to Morogoro while Khadija worked in Kigoma town. In addition to computer skills, they learned important administrative duties - such as taking phone calls, making appointments, announcing visitors to their supervisors, and much more! They became members of an office community and developed skills that will serve them in various types of office settings around the country. In addition, both of them have continued to develop their English language skills and overall confidence.

Without doubt, both of these young women would be married and living in the village today, likely with children, if you hadn't helped us continue their support beyond secondary school. While we were committed originally only to support students through secondary school, we quickly realized that continued support was needed to really impact change. Following in the footsteps of Hindu and Khadija are Diana and Ismael, who have also continued their studies in VETA. Diana is studying clerical work and Ismael is becoming a car mechanic. Updates on them are coming soon!

Please, join me in congratulating Hindu and Khadija on their graduation (The ceremony is in December!) and let's wish them great success in finding a job that taps into their many new skills!

Insights from Our Students

Our next update is from Kagongo Secondary School. In August, Lucas and I went and visited with our new Girls Education International Form 1 students, and we also met with 6 of our current Project Wezesha students. These 6, Marieta, Olivia, Sango, Simoni, Mahamudu, and Ahmadi wanted to share with us some of the challenges that students are facing in the village schools. In this video, they share their honest views on the situation. I admire their willingness to speak candidly and their ability to think critically about the roots of their problems.

Before you watch, I have to also be an advocate for the teachers, who come under harsh judgement by the students at times. In many cases, it's true - the teachers are not performing at their best. The reasons for that vary from insufficient governement support (large class sizes, no textbooks), to disenchantment with living in the village (they don't get to choose where they work). Of course, other factors such as personality, motivation, and organization are likely contributors.

Two of our students mentioned that teachers come and go. The reality is that student teachers do come for their teaching practicum and internship on a short term basis. This seems to cause confusion for our students - understandably so. But, all student teachers do teaching internships. The key is to organize them well so that they compliment student learning and support existing curricula, not lead to disruption. But - this is work for another phase of our longterm vision!

For now, please take a moment to hear what our students have to share. And remember, at the end of the day - they still choose education over no education, even if the reality of their situation is less than ideal.

With sincere gratitude,

Rai Farrelly & Lucas Lameck
Co-founders, Project Wezesha

Students at Kagongo Secondary School
Students at Kagongo Secondary School

Links:

Oct 13, 2014

Amahoro Secondary School_October 2014 Update

Students Coming to Help!
Students Coming to Help!

Dear Project Wezesha Supporters,

Greetings and gratitude from Lucas and me! I'm happy to share some updates with you about the progress toward opening Amahoro Secondary School in Mgaraganza Village, Tanzania.

This past August, I traveled to the Kigoma region to visit with Lucas and check the progress of our project. I was a little surprised to see that very little actual work had been done since his April update. In other words, construction was at a standstill - halted due to lack of funding. As usual, the wheels were set into motion when I arrived.

Meeting Local and Regional Leaders

The first line of business was to visit the regional leaders from various Ministries in the government. I was invited to a meeting in Kigoma town to address the leaders and share my gratitude, concerns, and hopes moving forward. We expressed our gratitude about their recent commitment to contributing to the construction of teachers' houses and laboratories* for the school. We noted our concerns about the pressure of fundraising and challenge of meeting the opening day deadline. We stressed the need for the government to continue their support until the end. We also shared our enthusiasm for the possibility of teacher education and teacher exchange in the future (my 'pet' plan for ensuring quality education at this school). They applauded our efforts and echoed our hopes and excitement.

*Note: Recent legislation in Tanzania mandates that no school open without laboratories in place. While this places a huge obstacle in the road for opening schools in villages, it aims to address the current plight of village schools, which is the prevalence of unmet promises by school administrators and leaders to follow-up on the construction of laboratories. Most village schools never see spaces for students to explore physics, chemistry, and biology to the extent necessary for measurable success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

We also met with the Kigoma District Commissioner, Mr. Maneno who guaranteed his support for this project. Mr. Maneno is new to his position as of this year. He made a trip to the village to visit the school and meet with the local village leaders. He was very impressed by the work that had been completed thus far. He gave speeches of praise to the local leaders, community members, and workers. He also promised to do everything in his power to make sure the school opens in January 2014.

Of course, we had our own meetings with the village leaders. We discussed my concern over the delay in work in recent months. We identified a breakdown in communication between political leaders in town who disperse the money, and the village leaders who sign for and collect the money. Our faithful Chief Maganga stepped in and made some phone calls to make sure the funds would be released. This money would allow our builders to complete the entrances to each classroom.

Meeting with the Children

Our most important stakeholders are the children. There are a handful of them who are present at the school for every gathering of the leaders (mostly because they live next to the school). The kids showed us their twist on using the classroom space in the months leading up to the school opening (see photo). 

In the month after my visit, Lucas rallied the students of Mgaraganza Primary School to come and do a clean up at the secondary school. They came with brooms and tools to prepare the assembly area in front of the classrooms. Of course, they didn't harm any of the lovely trees that will shade them as they have their daily morning assembly!

Meeting with GlobalGiving Volunteer, Janet Chapman

In September, Janet Chapman - a UK-based volunteer with GlobalGiving and the communications manager with the Tanzania Development Trust - visited Lucas and took time to learn about our project. She met the village leaders and Lucas, and made a video allowing us to introduce our new Headmaster, Mr. Kumenya. We hope that her response to the visit is positive and that she can help us garner more international support to complete the school.

At present, my plan is to be in Tanzania again this coming December/January for the opening of the first phase of the school!

But, we're not there yet. The missing pieces at the moment include the latrines that are required before a school can be open (for obvious reasons). If you can chip in today, you can help us channel money to the project so that we can get them into place on the school site. Every little bit counts, as you know! (Why didn't I think of the Ice Bucket Challenge!?) As always, we can do NOTHING without you! Thank you so much for your support thus far. Please spread the word wide and far.

Asante sana!

With much gratitude,

Rai Farrelly and Lucas Lameck
Project Wezesha, co-founders

Students Cleaning the School Grounds
Students Cleaning the School Grounds
Resting after Hard Work
Resting after Hard Work
Women Joining in the Work
Women Joining in the Work
Mr. Kumenya - Our Headmaster!
Mr. Kumenya - Our Headmaster!
Classroom Soccer Match
Classroom Soccer Match

Links:

 

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $20
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $185
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $600
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $185
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $600
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Girls Education International

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Girls Education International on GreatNonProfits.org.