We had a blast in Tanzania for the holidays - celebrating our donors, visiting study camp, and sharing time as friends.Read More
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 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.
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.
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
As the year comes to a close, we don't have a lot of news to report from the field. The girls are continuing their studies and our partner on the ground (Bedari) continues to refine the program. In the past we mentioned a tract that was added to augment the scholastic aspect of the program: a series of women's self-growth (health and social education) workshops. These have very successful and have kept the level of engagement in the program very high.
After some experimentation in the field, Bedari has requested permission - which we granted - to substitute some of the workshops with "exposure" trips, where the girls are escorted to locations outside their immediate villages. We'll hear more about these in the coming months, but they have been welcomed by the girls, their families and communities.
It cannot be overstated how important family support has been in making this program a success.Read More
After the upheaval and turmoil caused by the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, it is a relief to report that our girls are back in their classrooms and quietly resuming their studies.
As you may remember, the Liberian government closed all schools for six months to help contain the disease. In order to get the students back on the traditional schedule, adminstrators decided that the 2014-15 school year would be only one semester long. All students in Liberia -- including the GEI-sponsored girls -- were promoted to the next grade when the 2015-16 school year began this fall.
Time will tell how educators will make up for the lost semester, but our girls are so happy to be back in school and continuing their educations!
If you look at the group shot of the students that accompanies this article, you'll see that many of our girls are actually young women. Their educations have been interrupted many times by civil war, Ebola and other crises, yet they continue to come back to school even though they may be past the traditional age in their classrooms. We think this speaks to the determination these young women have to complete their education in spite of the obstacles they meet. Won't you make a donation to sponsor their studies and help them become the leaders and workers that Liberia desperately needs?
As summer comes to a close, our program continues in full swing thanks to your support. Summers in this part of Pakistan are very hot, sometimes passing the 120-degree (F) mark. Our students are typically given a summer break from mid-June to mid-August, but it doesn‘t mean it’s just free time for everyone. Generally, our students in grades 6-8 are already through their annual exam and are in the new class if they have passed. They get loads of homework to do during the two months’ break. Students in grades 9 and 10 have taken exams, but the results have not been announced, so they are free during these vacations while they await word on their scores. Students in 11th to 14th grades are usually busy in their annual exams during these very months.Read More