Until November 2021, Tanzania banned adolescent mothers from receiving their public education. These laws extended to children who conceived due to exploitation and assault. Now, pervading norms deprive these girls of sufficient academic support. Families and schools continue to marginalize them into their households with greater domestic responsibilities. Severely under-resourced NGOs bear the full weight of supporting these teens, and statistics reveal that 97% of out-of-school mothers remain unassisted in Tanzania.
Tumaini Open School ensures that mothers can safely return to the classroom. We operate as an inclusive, stigma-free learning center that serves as an Alternative Educational Pathway (AEP) for marginalized teens.
In September 2022, we were delighted to more formally open our doors. Our team constructed a school that is well-equipped with electricity, water supply, and learning utilities. We enrolled 12 students into our first cohort and prepared them for national examinations.
One student, Hollo, completed her Form IV national examination this month. She shared: “As a young mother who completely lost hope of continuing my secondary studies, it is not that I only appreciate having the second chance, but I am thankful that there are good people like Tumaini who with great love and care have enabled me to fulfill my dream of completing Form IV.” More students will complete their Form IV examinations in 2023. These girls have poured themselves into their education despite overwhelming odds. Their rigor reminds us why our work is so important.
We currently plan to enroll 45 to 50 girls in January. Greater funding would allow us to accommodate more students in our waitlist. We also plan to expand dormitory construction next year so students may care for their children in our facilities. We are so grateful for your unwavering support. These months have tested us in new ways, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have risen to the occasion. Together, we can provide opportunities for girls to recover their education.
Our doors will be opening in September!
Tumaini Open School in Tabora will be a sustainable, stigma-free learning center that empowers adolescent mothers to regain their education. We hope that these exemplary efforts will forge the educational sector forward in Tanzania, especially for marginalized groups.
When we conducted research in 2019, we learned that adolescent mothers were removed from the public school system with very little support to recover their education. Policies strictly denied them an opportunity to return their schools, and local attitudes were very damaging. It took the courage and collective efforts of our team to sensitize teenage mothers and their natural supports. We started our initiative by teaching two girls in a rented living room, and two years later, we have officially built an alternative educational pathway.
Three well-furnished classrooms are now available with electricity, water supply, and learning equipment. One student shared, "I would like to say that this school is very beautiful. It has good environment. It is situated in a quiet place, it has electricity, also it has water, and it has good tables and chairs. In other words, this school is really beautiful. In general, the infrastructure is very good."
We plan to accomodate twelve studens so that they may prepare for their national exams in two months. We will then expect to enroll more girls in January. We are also continuing to visit girls and their families in their homes to identify any specific needs. We have learned that they require dormitories, water storage, printed textbooks, and laboratories to practice science lessons.
As we celebrate and thank all those who have contributed to this achievement, we invite stakeholders to participate in the continuing development of this center. We would like to provide girls with dormitories, vocational classrooms, kitchens, learning materials, a dining hall, and other essentials such as hygiene and sanitary materials.
For more information, you may visit our website.
An inclusive and stigma free learning center for teen mothers to be opened soon!
With thanks giving to all our donors, we are celebrating the successful completion of phase one of the inclusive and stigma free school buildings. Completed buildings have the capacity to accommodate about fifty students soon. The three rooms are 100% complete and will now be able to provide learning venue, a small library and an office while the second phase of construction continues. Girls like Holo, Rehema, Neema, Lydia, Elizabeth, Joyce, Dorcas, Terecia, and Jessica, and are assured of having learning center where quality education and face-to-face tutorials and mentoring are guaranteed.
Along with the completion of these buildings, we celebrate our student who in addition to her secondary studies has also been able to sit trade exam and certification in designing, sewing and cloth technology. Outside of school, Lidia can work well as a tailor and earn a living for herself and her baby.
With your continued support, we are looking forward to equip the school with essential teaching and learning materials and equipment such as printed and e- books, dictionaries, computers, projectors, internet, etc.
We have helped teenage mothers demonstrate a high capacity and commitment to schooling.
Adolescent mothers are bearing the responsibilities of being both parents and students, and they are grappling with the stigma of pursuing their education. Yet, they continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to their studies.
All teenage mothers enrolled at Tumaini Open School have performed excellently in their 2021 annual exams. Around 89% have scored a ‘B’ average while the remaining 11% have scored an ‘A’ average in their end of year (November 2021) exams, contrary to the festering belief that re-enrolled teenage mothers can’t manage their studies effectively. Additionally, our students have learned vocational and entrepreneurial skills to engage in activities that can support their living and that of their children, such as gardening, tailoring, and computer skills.
Gradually, we have seen most of these teenage mothers regain their confidence and engage in advocacy activities on behalf of girls’ education. Below is an image of girls at a local radio station.
We are continuing to establish a more sustainable learning center, and we have recently marked progress towards the completion of Phase 1 of our construction plan. We have completed building a septic tank and toilets, in addition to our three classrooms.
With your continued support, we look forward to broadening this program and continuing to give girls an opportunity to regain their educational goals.
Thank you so much for enabling the teen mothers named Mbalu, Joyce, and Elizabeth to regain their secondary education outside the public school system. After being outside of school for about three years with no hope of returning to school due to expulsion for being pregnant, these teen mothers have recently joined the Tumaini class for teen mothers’ secondary education. Like other teen mothers supported by the Tumiani Education Program, Mbalu, Joyce and Elizabeth have proved that parent students are not notorious as it has been claimed but are people with great life aspirations and dreams about their future. They demonstrate capacity and commitment to schooling and performing better in their studies despite undertaking parenting roles. Indeed, they are actively attending classes and are now taking several arts and science subjects including biology, chemistry, physics, maths, history, English, geography, civics, and Kiswahili that are compulsory for their national examinations. Teachers at Tumaini are happy with their academic progress. None of them have average scores that is below B. More than that, they maintain good morals contrary to the claim that re-enrolling them may spoil other girls.
Thank you so much for your generous support.
We are continuing to help 15 teen mothers and have more than 100 in the waiting list. Like other parent students at Tumaini, Mbalu, Joyce, and Elizabeth have to stay at school for three years before they sit for their form four national examinations. They will sit for the qualification test in 2022 and sit for their final national examinations in 2024. We always appreciate your continuous support to enable them to finish their secondary education cycle.
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