In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’d like to share updates on two of our students - Sarafina and Hadija.Read More
Our June 2017 Academic Study Camp in Tanzania was a great success! We're happy to share these notes from the field!
Visiting Gombe National Park
The Sunday prior to camp, we took our students to Gombe National Park, which is located 10 miles north of Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Our students had the opportunity to sit for an hour and observe the G Family, a group of chimpanzees who are most accustomed to people. They are the family that Jane Goodall did much of her early research with. If you ever read about the chimps in Gombe, you've likely read about Gremlin, Gaia, Gimli, and the other famous G-family chimps.The two 'toddlers' in the family provided boundless entertainment for us.
Our students observed, took notes, asked questions of the guides and marveled in the lush habitat that the Jane Goodall Institute has striven to protect for decades. These students live in the villages surrounding Gombe, yet they had never visited. We hope that among the 43 students on the trip, many were inspired to become educators, researchers, and stewards of wildlife and wild places!
Life at Study Camp
The students arrived in Kigoma town from their respective villages on Saturday, June 3rd. Their parents escorted them, dropped them off, and wished them well as they settled in for 30 days at the Kichangachui Secondary School. One of the classrooms was converted into a dorm room for the girls, where they sleep together with Mama Amina, who is also our head chef.
On the first day of camp, the enormous water tanks were empty (dry season) so the girls had to collect buckets of water from a neighboring villager. But in the meantime, Lucas hired a truck to pump water from the lake. This water filled the tanks and will be used for washing and cooking. We also purchased drinking water from town. During rainy season, water is not an issue - but we learn to roll with the punches in Tanzania!
From 7:30-3pm, the girls study subjects in alternating blocks from day to day: Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, English, Math and Swahili. After lunch and a rest, they resume at 4:30 with peer instruction aimed to review the concepts they encountered during the day. During these small group sessions, a more advanced peer leads the others as they do homework, solve problems, clarify confusing concepts, etc. It was remarkable to see them in action and on task.
Students teach one another Chemistry
After dinner, they have some free time, followed by one final push for homework before bed.
For all the students in our program, this is their second time at study camp. Since they had the experience in December, they are all pro-campers now! Madaga, our Education Specialist noted how this time around, there was far less management required by the teachers when it came time for students to group up and engage in discussions. They knew where to be and what to do. They stayed on task for the duration of the peer-instruction session and demonstrated their desire and willingness to apply what they had learned.
History with Madaga
Students listen to a dynamic lecture about the role of colonists in the formation of modern day Africa.
Form Four Girls - Onward and Upward
Our cohort of Form 4 girls has the added pressure of National Examinations in October. The results on these examinations determine whether or not they can continue through to A-level studies (Form 5 and 6; required for participation in University). I said to them: "Maybe one of you will be our first girl to go to Form 5." They all responded together, "All!" Well, I'll take that. If we can see all of them go on to Form 5, that would be truly amazing--a feat for any Tanzanian, but a truly remarkable accomplishment for students from village government schools. We know this study camp is essential in helping them realize this goal.
How Can You Help?
Each study camp costs around $3700. We know now that this camp is a catalyst for change, a key to success for our students. The cost of the camp covers two cooks (who prepare three meals per day for 46 students), our teachers (who are paid by the number of periods they teach per week), water, the watchmen (who keeps our girls safe all day and night), Mama Amina (who stays with the girls in the night and attends to any issues that arise with their health and emotional well-being), and any unforeseen situations (e.g., medications, first aid, trips to hospital, feminine hygiene products, etc.).
Girls Education International ensures that 70% of the funds we raise go directly to our programming (e.g., study camp, required textbooks, fees for those who the government issued to boarding school, etc.). A small additional percentage covers Lucas' salary as our in-country manager. And of course, our steady and essential partner, GlobalGiving earns their commission for helping us stay in touch with you, streamlining the process for reporting on our progress, sharing photos, and letting you know how you've made a difference. We spend a fraction on 'overhead' (e.g., board insurance, our PO Box in Colorado, and maintaining our 501(c)3 registration). We really can't be more transparent about it - we are a volunteer run organization and we appreciate your continued support.
Please do consider signing up to make a monthly contribution - of any amount. Sustained giving goes a long way to help us continue the work we're doing. You can share this blog entry with friends and let them know why Girls Education International matters to you. Make sure you follow us on Facebook for the most up to date reports, photos and other related news. Also, you can visit our website and learn more about how you can help by visiting our Support Tool Kit.
We hope your holiday season is off to a lovely start and that you are having some peaceful, enjoyable moments with family and friends. It can sometimes feel like the world is swelling with angst and disappointment, but in truth - there is beauty and goodness all around us. For me, getting reports about our students in Tanzania is one great source ofjoy. Another is being able to share that with you!
Right now, our project manager, Lucas alongside our friend and fellow educator, Madaga are leading our students through a rigorous and fruitful study camp. The idea is our response to gaps we have identified in our students' education experience. The reasons for these gaps include limited resources and high demands on teachers. Many of our students have struggled to earn good grades because they don't get the individualized attention they need to deepen their understanding of the concepts they are exploring in school.Read More
Riffat Shaheen – a resident of village Laphi nearly 48 Kilometers away from Chakwal city – was studying in 5th grade, when her father, a patient of diabetes, died. It was a time of great difficulty for her mother Makhtoom Begum – an illiterate woman with five kids to take care of. She had a small piece of cultivable land, which she started tilling on her own. It did help to some extent, but was not enough to keep the family in good condition. As Riffat passed her 5th grade examination, her mother stopped her from going to school. Riffat joined her mother in tilling the small piece of land. It was very depressing for her to work in the fields and see her classmates on their way to school passing by her fields. But she had no other options.
Thanks to the financial support from Girls Education International, our Pakistani partner organization, Bedari, selected Riffaat for an educational scholarship, which enabled her to join her school after a break of two years. Now she is studying in grade 6. She is very happy. She says, ‘the first day at school when I rejoined was the best and the happiest day of my life’.
Happy New Year and best wishes for 2016!
As the old saying goes "no news is good news," especially for our students in Liberia. Just a year ago, schools and most public buildings were shuttered due to the Ebola outbreak. In direct contrast, our girls have finished the first half of the 2015-16 school year, enjoyed their holiday break and happily returned to school without interruption.Read More
Happy Holidays to all of our Girls Ed Supporters!
In this update, we're happy to share the words of one of our students. The report is late because our Tanzania project manager, Lucas had a big job of conducting interviews with our scholarship students. As he doesn't live in the village, he had to get there and then round up the students - which he actually does with surprising ease.
A Day in the Life of Lucas: Usually he starts calling people he knows in the village who have cell phones - Ashahadu, Jane, teachers, other students. He relays a message that particular students should be at a certain place (Jane's house, the school) at a certain time. Then, he travels in from town and has his meetings. I'm often amazed at the turnout, given that many of the students have to walk a fair distance to meet him.
This time, his efforts paid off! He collected several interviews from the students, then he typed them and emailed them to me. He is definitly a hard worker and he is so committed to our work! (His computer training really paid off!)Read More