December 19, 2013
Today I received truly awesome news. One of our sponsored students was accepted into the Certificate in Early Childhood Training Program in Montessori Methodology at Ushirika wa Neema in Moshi, Tanzania. Her story is one of – or maybe the most moving story of all the teens and young adults that we sponsor.
[I will not use her name because we try to maintain the privacy of all our students]
In the spring of 2009, almost 5 years ago, this young woman got off a bus in Moshi, having run away from circumstances in her Maasai village that involved early marriage and female circumcision. Local police then took her and her friend to Moshi’s Juvenile Detention Center. International volunteers, who were working at the Center, brought her to the attention of Grace Lyimo, who became our Country Director the following year.
Through Grace’s networking and efforts, the two Maasai young women were enrolled in a private secondary school that was just starting outside of Arusha. International volunteers had agreed to pay school fees while EdPowerment took on all their personal needs including lodging during breaks.
N struggled mightily because her deficient education (many Maasai still refuse to education girls) had not even taught her good Kiswahili. Now she had to learn the full battery of high school subjects including English. At the end of her first year, the school’s administrators and EdPowerment decided that it would be best for N’s prospects if she repeated the year. But the struggle didn’t end here.
At the end of N’s Form 3, her secondary school dismissed her and several other students. The school decided that they were not performing to a satisfactory level and that their Form 4 National Exam results would reflect poorly on the school’s growing reputation. N and her peers were tossed to the street.
Mama Grace intervened once again and another school agreed to let the girls finish their secondary studies. This past November, N graduated. Her English skills and her confidence have grown exponentially. In September, N told me that what she wanted most in the world was to be able to teach and counsel young children.
In November Mama Grace took N to several post-secondary schools that offered appropriate advanced certificate programs. N’s dream was to join Ushirika wa Neema, a well regarded school for teaching in the Montessori method. First, though, she had to take an exam – and she told Mama Grace that it was HARD.
But this week, she got the letter (ALL U.S. HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES CAN RELATE TO THIS!) and she got in!
We are so excited. And we are so grateful that EdPowerment, N’s original sponsors, and all our supporters – not to mention N’s resiliency, bravery and fortitude – made this miracle happen.
BEST GIFT EVER.