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Education is really the process of finding out about who you are and who you can become. Nowhere is this more true than when applied to young people who have had no opportunities, and then one day they gain access to a new world – in this case a secondary school. Here’s what starts to happen.

Veronica is about 17 years old. Personal circumstances as an orphan and poverty prevented her from continuing her education after primary school until we discovered her and placed her, as a boarder, at the Notre Dame Secondary School. Two years later, she is among the top students in her class, scoring respectably on government tests and preparing to enter Form 4, 12th grade, next January. If she achieves Division 1 or 2 on her Form 4 exams, as she intends to do, she will be able to continue to A levels – or Form 5 and 6 in the Tanzanian system – and from there to a University degree in Law.

Elizabeth (pictured here on the left) is about 16 years old and also will enter Form 4 in January. She was attending our informal Kilimahewa School because her grandmother could no longer pay the fees for government secondary school, and in any event, more learning was going on in our school than in the overcrowded, understaffed government school One of our volunteers – Daniella (a gap student) – noticed Elizabeth’s abilities and suggested that she be sponsored in a boarding school. She is now the top student in her class at Mrike Secondary School. A Division 1 or 2 result on next year’s government test will earn her – just like Veronica – a spot in an A level school where she will begin her path to an engineering degree.

And Grace (pictured here in her dorm room) is a 14-year-old, Form 1 (9th grade) student at Moshi Technical (meaning science and math) School. This is a government secondary school that only accepts top performers on the Standard 7 test at the end of primary school. Grace is very smart and achieved a high score on this test, but did not have resources for the boarding fees at this school. Because of EdPowerment’s support, Grace was able to accept her “placement” and has begun the road toward a career in the health field.

Each of these girls had so much potential to unlock – but no key. There are many Veronicas, Elizabeths and Graces, and that is why our work, and your support, is so meaningful.