Lucas and Madaga at the new Teacher Housing
Happy Holidays from all of us at Project Wezesha!
As we approach the end of 2023, we are delighted to bring you some highlights from this year. We hope that this news will serve as an affirmation that your support really does make a difference. As you plan your end-of-year giving, please consider Project Wezesha as a recipient of your generosity.
In this end-of-year report, we’ll highlight successes in our scholarship program, updates about Amahoro Secondary School, and the launch of our academic study camp. Plus - guess who's back in Tanzania!!
In November, two Project Wezesha students - Sospeter and Anzaruni - graduated from their 3-year clinical medicine programs. This program is similar to a Physician’s Assistant (PA) program in the USA. Recently, in the village where he works and lives now, Sospeter responded to a call about a woman who had fainted outside her home. Barely two weeks out of school, Sospeter was able to put his education to good use. He set up an IV for this young woman, monitored her vitals, and ensured she was well so that her family could be at ease.
Sospeter and Anzaruni are grateful for the support of their donors Firoz and Shamim who funded these two young men for the entirety of their education. Stay tuned for more updates in the future as they settle into their careers as medical professionals!
Direct sponsorship is an ideal way to support Project Wezesha. If you’d like to cover the tuition for one year of university for a Project Wezesha student, please don’t hesitate to inquire about the cost and process! We still have fees to cover for the 2023/2024 academic year, but we are looking forward to celebrating the end of this year with the graduation of Simoni and Mayani! For the 2024/2025 academic year, we’ll be seeking ongoing support for Hamisi, Malicki, Lameck, Elias, and Yohana. Visit www.projectwezesha.org to contact us.
Amahoro Secondary School - Top Ranked!
In 2015, we celebrated the opening of Amahoro Secondary School in Mgaraganza Village. At that time, we still had work to do on the school, but we made enough progress to enroll the first cohort of secondary students. Since then, five cohorts have graduated from Amahoro Secondary School. Many have gone on to high schools and vocational schools, and some have continued with diploma, certificate, and university programs.
On site at Amahoro, many amazing updates have taken place that have brought the school into the spotlight of the local Ministry of Education. With the help of various donors and sponsors we were able to add a STEM lab at the school so students could complete hands-on experiments in their Chemistry and Physics courses. We met the needs of female students by adding a designated hygiene station so the girls could attend classes during the week they have their periods. We were able to fundraise for solar panels, and with a first-time source of power at the school, we wired the classrooms for electricity, added lights, and equipped the teachers’ office with a printer/copier. Other additions that made a huge impact include additional latrines, a rain catchment system, and enough desks and chairs for all students. Many donors contributed, but the primary capital campaigns were driven by power couple, Shelmina Babai Abji and Minaz Abji, and the Executive Director of Girls Education International, Kate Schelbe. Asante sana to you and your respective communities for making such a difference in the lives of so many young people!
When we began constructing Amahoro Secondary School in 2010, the Ministry of Education made their own commitments, including a plan to build teacher housing on site. In village schools, when teachers live in town and commute daily, their investment in the school, their classes, and therefore their students can be diminished. With all of the enhancements to Amahoro Secondary School, it was only a matter of time before the teachers’ motivation increased, and with that – the learning outcomes of all students. For multiple years, Amahoro Secondary School has ranked in the top 10 in the Kigoma region – as determined by overall student performance on national exams. This year, Amahoro ranked 4th among all government schools in the region, including those based in and closer to towns. Not bad for a village school located well off the beaten path!
As Amahoro Secondary School gained attention from the Ministry of Education, discussions about the teachers’ housing resumed. We’re thrilled that this year they finally constructed a beautiful home to be shared by multiple teachers - right next door to the school (see picture of Lucas and Madaga outside the housing). It took ages, but it happened because of how successful Amahoro Secondary School is! It is truly a testament to the impact that educational resources and motivated teachers can make. It is also a rally cry to all administrators in the education sector to advocate for access and equity across the board – in all schools. Every student deserves equal access to quality education.
Academic Study Camp
This month, Amahoro Secondary School is the site of yet another academic study camp (see photo of students studying in the evening session). These camps are hosted by Project Wezesha, and are funded through an endowment from longtime supporter and Board Chair of Girls Education International, Shelly Braun. Asante sana, dada!
Our Education Director, Madaga Fadhili organizes the camp from start to finish: hiring the teachers and support staff, arranging the schedule, and also teaching in his core subject areas – History and English. During the 4-week study camp, ten boys and ten girls in Forms 3 and 4 live on site in dorms established in the classrooms. Each day they attend lectures with subject area experts to review the core concepts that will appear on the national exams from subject areas such as History, Math, Physics, Biology, English, and Kiswahili. They also have student-led discussion sessions each evening where peers review concepts and tackle homework together. These academic study camps have been a game-changer for every student who has ever attended, and they are definitely a contributor to the high overall performance of Amahoro Secondary School.
Reunited after 5 Years
A final update is that as I type, I’(Rai) am on a plane bound for Tanzania! I was last there in December 2018 – 5 years ago, almost to the day. During my 3-week stay this year, I’ll be reconnecting with my partners (brothers) Lucas and Madaga and their families. We’ll be visiting as many current and former students as possible to hear how school and work is going for each of them. We’ll spend time at Amahoro Secondary School, observing sessions at the study camp and hearing from the headmaster and teachers. On December 30th, we’ll take the study camp students to visit Gombe National Park – a field trip we all love because of how the adventure informs their sense of place and connection to the local ecosystem and wildlife. I look forward to sharing updates via Instagram and Facebook, so make sure to follow us closely through the New Year!
Happy New Year!
We wish you all a Happy New Year! We know there are many demands on your attention at this time of year, and plenty of worthy causes to invest in. We thank you for your support and your interest in our work.
Blessings from our families to you and yours!
Rai (Lucas & Madaga)
New Teacher Housing
New Graduate - Dr. Anzaruni
New Graduate - Dr. Sospeter
Evening Session at Study Camp in Amahoro
Lucas and Rai - Where it all began in 2008