Academic Study Camp in Tanzania - June 2017

Our June 2017 Academic Study Camp in Tanzania was a great success! We're happy to share these notes from the field!

Girls Ed Collage.jpeg

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 sitting with the G Family at Gombe National Park - learning through observation.

Our students sitting with the G Family at Gombe National Park - learning through observation.

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!

At_Gombe_Large.jpg

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.

Studying_Chemistry_Large.jpg

Peer Support

Students teach one another Chemistry

After dinner, they have some free time, followed by one final push for homework before bed.

Professional Campers

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 Lesson.jpg

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.

Interview with our student, Esha - Pakistan Program

We are delighted to have the opportunity to share some thoughts directly from the girls we support in Pakistan. In this entry, we introduce you to Esha.

Esha_Grid7.jpg

 

Q: What’s your name and how old are you

My name is Esha and I am 14 years old. As I never celebrated my birthday so I don’t know my exact age. I am from village Sayyidan.

Q: What does education mean to you?

To me, education is very much important in our lives. Educated people can help and support others in an effective way. Any society can succeed on the basis of education.

Q: How does the opportunity of education change women’s life?

If a woman is not educated, she may face many different problems. An educated woman can earn good and so can provide her children with good health and quality education. A literate woman can easily travel to other cities or places. If she becomes a widow she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. She can take better care of rights of her husband and children. An educated woman has strong decision making power and can speak up in decisions regarding her life.

Q: What is your favorite subject and why?

I like Islamiat [Islamic Religious Studies] and Urdu. Islamiat provides me the knowledge about our religion. I love the stories in Urdu, especially the love stories of girls and boys.

Q: Tell us something about you that you want us to know. What do you like to do in your free time? What are your dreams?

I now know why Bedari is interested in girl’s education. I spend my leisure time while reading stories, doing household chores and working in fields. I have only one best friend. I want to become a pilot in future. I am very fond of higher education. I have a dream that may my house be the best in the entire world. I want a high school for girls in the village.

Rifaat Studying in High School!

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’.

2015 Update from Tanzania

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 government 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.)

Read More