10 April 2017

getting schooled...in a good way.

Ashley's Grandpa Tony used to say, "Money can't buy happiness, but it sure does help."

Immersing ourselves in the reality of life of the poor for three and a half years in Tanzania has shown us the joyful living that can abound despite great wealth, yet the immense challenges that stem from a life gripped by systemic poverty. 

It is said that if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. Education can be a vehicle that positions one to make the choices that will affect her life in a meaningful way. With education comes knowledge, intellect, critical thinking, self-confidence, ambition, and new opportunity. For this reason, coupled with a participatory community needs assessment, we endeavored three and a half years ago to establish an educational scholarship fund for the benefit of the young Tanzanian women and their children in our ministries at Education for Better Living Organization (EBLI) and LULU Project


Those who receive our quarterly newsletters and who have read our support page know that a significant portion of the donations received into our ministry account with Maryknoll Lay Missioners is used for educational scholarships. Now, we wish to share with you not only the scope of the impact made possible by these gifts, but also the names and faces of those you have helped. 


All together, generous donations from friends and family back in the United States made it possible for a total of $7,344 to be used to fund 25 courses for Tanzanian women and 22 courses for their children, and an additional $11,500 has been used to establish an ongoing secondary education program that will continue to give young mothers who dropped out of school due to pregnancy a second chance at completing their secondary (high school) education. Moreover, an estimated additional $8,000 is being used to ensure the continuation of the scholarship fund for years to come. It is also important to mention that the young women themselves have contributed $2,526 towards their own education and that of their children.

We think this is a phenomenal accomplishment made possible by the generosity of folks like you. Others may think this is but a tiny drop in an ocean of need. Yet, we take comfort in the words of Dorothy Day:

"People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do."

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the work we have been up to thanks to our enormously generous benefactors, without whom none of this would be possible. On behalf of the below women and children, thank you!

Education for Better Living Organization (EBLI)

Michael has carried out his ministry in partnership with the local nongovernmental organization, EBLI, since April 2014. The ministry focuses on income and livelihood programs linked with microfinance, enabling marginalized youth - especially young mothers - to access financial services, attain employment, and run small enterprises.  

To date, a total of $3,405 has been used to fund 11 educational courses for young women and 9 educational courses for their children through Michael's ministry. The young women themselves contributed $761 to their education and that of their children, and chose to pursue courses in English, garment making, hair salon, hotel management, and Montessori teaching. Each child was enrolled in a two year private pre-school or Kindergarten program, as this is not provided by the Tanzanian government.

All of this is separate from the 360 young people trained in how to attain employment and start and run a successful enterprise, the 79 young women enrolled in a saving and loaning microfinance cooperative who generated (on their own) $4,352 in business loans.

Below are the names and faces of the young women in Michael's ministry at EBLI who benefited from the educational scholarship fund made possible by our donors. 

Edina who studied hotel management and her child, Colin, who went to pre-school.

Mariam whose child, Glory, went to pre-school.

Annastazia whose child, Beatrice, went to pre-school.

Mary who studied English.

Nyafulu who studied English and to become a Montessori-trained teacher, and whose child, Alexzander, went to pre-school.

Pudensiana who studied garment making.

Nice who studied garment making.

Jesca who studied garment making. 

Elieth who studied English.

Farida who studied English and her child, John, who went to pre-school.

Johari whose child went to pre-school.

Suzan who studied hair salon.

Veronica who studied English.

LULU Project

Ashley has carried out her ministry with the community-based organization, LULU Project, since December 2014. The ministry focuses on helping teenage girls - many of whom are mothers - discover their talents, plan their futures, and start small businesses through a year-long curriculum. 

To date, a total of $3,939 has been used to fund 14 educational courses for young women and 13 educational courses for their children through Ashley's ministry. The young women themselves contributed $1,735 to their education and that of their children, and chose to pursue courses in English, garment making, hair salon, secretarial services, piano, and Montessori teaching. Each child was enrolled in a two year private pre-school or Kindergarten program, as this is not provided by the Tanzanian government.

All of this is separate from the 133 young women who graduated from the year-long curriculum, 202 young peer facilitators who received capacity building training, 344 young women trained in how to make handcrafts as an income generating activity, and $2,959 in LULU Project handcrafts sold locally since August 2015.

Below are the names and faces of the young women in Ashley's ministry at LULU Project who benefited from the educational scholarship fund made possible by our donors.

Anna who studied garment making.

Bahati who studied garment making.

Eliza who studied hair salon.

Gloria who studied garment making and her child, Queen (on right), who went to pre-school.

Luciana who studied secretarial services.

Maria who studied garment making.

Menglida who studied garment making.

Mwanahamisi who studied to become a Montessori-trained teacher.

Naomi who studied the piano. 

Rehema whose child, Neema, studied garment making.

Rose who studied hair salon and whose child, Nasra, went to pre-school.

Sikudhani whose children, Moshi and Selina, went to pre-school.

Teddy who studied garment making and whose child, Edison, went to pre-school.

Veronica who studied garment making.

Secondary Education Program

As mentioned, $11,500 was used to enable an ongoing secondary education program for young people, with a special preference for young mothers, who dropped out of the formal school system. This secondary education program is being run by EBLI, and allows one to complete the equivalent of four years of secondary education in just two years, and then sit for the government administered national exam and earn an official certificate. Additionally, each student is given morning tea and snack and afternoon lunch, and there is even an onsite childcare service. Donations from our generous benefactors will guarantee that, at a minimum, 25 young women are sponsored for a complete two-year secondary education program cycle. 

Students enrolled in the secondary education program at EBLI.

This is only the beginning.

Know that your contributions will continue to make a difference, not only in the lives of those who have already received a scholarship, but also in the lives of others still to come. We have established a means by which the educational scholarship fund will continue to benefit the young women of EBLI and LULU Project, along with their children, for the next several years. An estimated $8,000 will be set aside to provide educational scholarships for young Tanzanian women and their children, forecasted to last at least two to three years and impact dozens of lives for the long-term.

We sincerely thank all of our friends and family whose donations made this incredible work possible! 

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