Our News

We Celebrate Girls Every Day At The Girls Center!                                                October 2016

Today, on International Day of the Girl Child, TGFT wants to thank all of you for helping us promote girls’ education. Girls are our future.

 

What counts for girls? Going to and staying in school. 

Our students attend the best girls private Tanzanian boarding schools. They share what they’ve learned with their mothers, aunts, sisters and friends and give back in their communities-

as tutors for our After School Program

 

 

as volunteers in local government primary schools

 

as interns at a local women’s hospital

 

as public speakers

 

They dream of becoming teachers, accountants, businesswomen, lab technicians and doctors: and TGFT is giving them skills and opportunities, instilling their confidence and kindling their competency.

 

Girls Learn New Skills For Their Future Financial and Health Decisions           September 2016

38 secondary and high school students participated in our 5th Leadership Workshop and learned about how banks work. Most students thought that only rich people save their money in banks. Students asked how ATM’s work and if you communicate with an ATM by writing it a letter. They wanted to know why banks are only in cities, and not in villages.

Students performed skits as a ‘saver’, a ‘borrower’ and ‘a bank’ to introduce the concept of ‘capital’, how banks make money, and the obligations of student university loans.

     
 

They brainstormed expenses for a year of education for a secondary school student, a high school student, and a university student.

They reviewed their budgets to identify what a ‘want’ is and a ‘need’ in order to reduce a deficit.

     
They reviewed their budgets to identify what a ‘want’ is and a ‘need’ in order to reduce a deficit. They debated passionately about the benefits of spending NOW or saving for the UNEXPECTED or saving for the FUTURE.  

During the Leadership workshop the students continued our self-defense training sessions to develop a plan to avoid harassment in the streets.

     
  The students reviewed menstrual hygiene and designed pocket calendars to keep track of their cycle and discussed how sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted.

 

The students developed new planning skills and how to protect themselves from STI’s and learned the basics of money and its impact; all of which will give them independence in their future financial and health decisions.

 

 

Happy Mother's Day!                                                                             May 2016

 

 

                                          Dorcas and her Mother

Dorcas’s mother has always encouraged Dorcas to dream bigger. We are encouraging her too by answering her real questions so she can make informed decisions about her future and become the leader she’s meant to be.
 
 
When Dorcas first arrived at the Girls Center she burst into our lives like a puppy-rambunctious, funny and squeezable. 

                 Dorcas at home, age 14

   
Now at 17 and in 10th grade, Dorcas is a member of the business club at school and wants to become a businesswoman. She has learned about personal hygiene, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, self-defense and entrepreneurial skills during our Enrichment Programs at the Girls Center.
 
 
Someday Dorcas wants to become a mother and is confident she will choose when and who to marry, and how many children she wants. But first, Dorcas wants to finish high school, attend college, find a job so she can support herself, help her family and give back to her girls’ community.
 
On Mother’s Day we honor mothers around the world who inspire their daughters to dream bigger and to develop their potential! 
 
 
 
Torrential Rains + Optimism + A Stroke of Luck = Change            April 2016
 
 
After 3 days and nights of torrential rains in March, our Girls Center was flooded with 3 feet of water. No one was hurt however, we lost computer hard drives, books, notebooks, clothing as well as some of our chickens and chicken feed we were storing for our Women’s Savings & Loan Group. When the water became contaminated, we had no choice but to find a new location.
 
 
                     Last week we moved into a beautiful new house!
 
 
Our new Girls Center is in our same neighborhood within walking distance of Intel Primary School who we partner with.Our students volunteer in their classrooms and several of our students graduated from Intel.
 
 
We’d also like to welcome our newest Board member Laisee Rintel who has launched TGFT on Instagram and Twitter. Follow us! And come visit us at our new home!

 

International Women's Day                                                       March 2016

In honor of International Women’s Day we celebrate Dada Grace and her determination, her ‘sparkle’ and energy, which inspires all of us to think of others and how we can be helpful.
     
Grace’s smile lights up a room: she is wise beyond her years, warm, and nurturing in so many ways. As our Supervisor at our Girls Center, she works closely with our Director Estahappy and recently, they’ve welcomed children and women in our neighborhood and are teaching them new skills.
 

Our girls respect Grace as a mentor and confide in her as an older sister -a ‘Dada’- and friend. By establishing a strong girl-adult partnership with each girl, Grace is helping to build their self esteem. While our girls are learning to speak and read English fluently, Grace is also studying and improving her English skills.
 
Grace grew up in similar circumstances of our students. Both her parents are farmers who grow maize, beans, cabbages and tomatoes. They also own 12 chickens, 3 goats and a cow. Grace understands the challenges her family faced when sending Grace and her two sisters to school. Grace wants to be a pre-school teacher and own her own day care center.
 
 
A year ago, Grace saved her salary in order to attend a Montessori Teacher’s College. Grace is now fulfilling the practical field work for her degree and teaching at a preschool, next to our Girls Center, where there are fifty 4 and 5 year-old students.
 
Grace initiated a Children’s Study Group at our Girls Center. Twenty-five students from 1st- 5th grade study with her after school every day. She is helping them reach and read at their grade level so they will shift from ‘learning to read to reading to learn’.
     
 
In September TGFT initiated a Women’s Savings & Loans group of which Grace is a member. As Treasurer, she has taught the women how to keep accurate records of their savings. The first four loans given to members were to pay for their children’s school fees. 7 of the women are sending their children to our Children’s Study Group.
 
So many of the skills we are teaching our students, Grace demonstrates by her example with her strong work ethic and cheerfulness. Grace brings dignity to her work and showers all of us with her great sense of humor and enthusiasm!
 

Girls Are Entrepreneurs                                                            September 2015

In June 5 of our students attended Babson College's 5-day BELA workshop (Babson Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy) with 100 other high school students. They learned about the 5 P's (production, people, place, price, promotion) as well as accounting and finances.

In June 5 of our students attended Babson College's 5-day BELA workshop (Babson Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy) with 100 other high school students. They learned about the 5 P's (production, people, place, price, promotion) as well as accounting and finances.

The facilitator complimented our students: "They were stars and it was easy to see how advanced they have become based on the support that you have provided them. From the strength of their English to their love of learning to their social skills, they stood out."  
     

Girls Are Problem-Solvers

7 of our students attended TWENDE's Creative Capacity building workshop. None of them had held hammers, tri squares, pliers, tin snips or wire cutters before.

  While working pairs they measured, cut, bent and hammered to create their own corn sheller, which they later gave to their families to use.
     

The students were introduced to the design process and projects done at TWENDE to inspire innovation. Then students were asked what kind of tools they wished they had in their daily lives and came up with their own practical solutions - a vegetable chopper and a peanut grinder which they built.


Our Summer Activities: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle       September 2015

During our Leadership workshop students learned about environmental challendges and how each of us can make a difference. High-achieving students from Arusha Girls High School and Henry Gogarty Girls' Secondary School joined us.

During the week, several speakers discussed environmental problems including climate change, soil erosion, deforestation, industry pollution, carbon emissions, methane gas, and rising sea levels, poaching in the Serengeti and blast fishing in Zanzibar and how each of these factors has a negative impact on Tanzania's economy, productivity and health.

From the local staff of Jane Goodall's program, Roots and Shoots, we learned how to plant a keyhole kitchen garden and fruit trees at The Girls Center.

When building the garden the students added leaves, compost and chicken manure to enrich the soil. They built a column of rocks in the center of the garden which filters grey water waste. Now our students pour their soapy laundry water down the rocks to water the garden.

Rachel Musson, an English teacher, activist and Founder of ThoughtBox, an innovative curriculum based on critical thinking skills, challenged the students to think about their personal impact on the environment.

One exerceise changed how the students think about garbage. They identified how long everyday items, such as a plastic bottle, take to decompose after you throw it away. Now we are recycling at The Girls Center!

Students created art out of garbage in their upcycle projects. They had so much fun creating magical hats and purses out of plastic bags, flip-flops from cardboard, jewelry, plastic flowers, and decorative art objects.

Merina Edwin, Director of Global Sustainable Partnerships discussed the importance of personal hygiene and clean water. Merina also shared her career path and life story, encouragin the students to focus on how to achieve their educational dreams. Merina emphasized how important it is to make a plan because "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Merina presented a cake for the students on graduation day.


Pascalina's Gap Year at The Girls Center                                           July 2015

After students graduate from secondary school (11th grade) in Tanzania, there is an 8-month gap before they matriculate into high school (12th and 13th grades). Most students return home and help their families with chores - fetching water, caring for their siblings, cooking. This is a vulnerable time for girls.

We also recognize significant "learning loss" occurs when students aren't in school. We've developed a Gap Year at The Girls Center to motivate and engage our students to learn new skills and develop leadership in their community.

  Pascalina volunteered at Intel Primary School as a part of our community service component of the Gap Year.
     
She graduated from an 8-week computer certification course, which gave her new skills and confidence to implement during her internship at Meru Community Bank. As a part of her internship, she received clients at the bank, created accounts for new clients, and prepared expense vouchers for staff.  
     

Pascalina is the 6th student we've sponsored in high school. In July she begins at Ifunda Girls High School and we wish her all the best!


Congratulations to Our First High School Graduate                         May 2015

On April 18th, Mariam graduated from A levels (equivalent to high school in the U.S.) at Baobab Girls School. She was awarded the prize for the Best Student in Accountancy! We are so proud of her academic success!

  Mariam wants to become an accountant or a business woman. During her Gap Year she interned at Meru Community Bank and gained skills in accounting, record-keeping, and setting up savings and checking accounts.

Only 5% of girls graduate from high school in Tanzania so Mariam's achievement is exceptional.

While at boarding school Mariam has received a quality education; at The Girls Center she has learned about reproductive health and life skills, which will equip her to make informed, healthy and positive decisions for a wiser future.


On International Women's Day We Celebrate a Role Model        March 2015


In January, Faith Khumalo, currently a senior at Smith College, volunteered with us at The Girls Center. She grew up in Zimbabwe and understands the challenges our girls face in boarding school and at home. She instantly connected to the girls like an older sister.

 

Faith worked closely with the students to improve their computer and English skills and tutored one student who now "gets" mathematical induction! FAith shared her strategies on how to handle academic pressure and competition and the importance of goal setting and how to set realistic goals for yourself.

She trained the computer teachers at Henry Gogarty Girls Secondary School with a computer program called Raspberry Pi, which is a digital library that supplies its own wireless network that computers connect to as if it were Wifi. Faith synced their syllabi for math, chemistry, physics and biology, which enabled teachers to learn new ways of teaching and for students to review materials covered in class.

Faith inspired everyone she met in Tanzania with her joyfulness, curiosity, kindness and ambition!


Girls Empowerment: Our Bodies, Ourselves                          February 2015

In December, fifteen girls participated in a week-long workshop at The Girls Center. The presentations by several Tanzanian professionals focused on sexual and reproductive health and safety.

The subjects of puberty, menstruation, sexual abuse, family planning, healthy sexual relationships, and self-defense are rarely discussed in schools or within families, and the girls were eager to learn. The discussions were animated, the role-playing was enlightening, and the self-devense practice was empowering and fun. Thanks to the skill of the presenters and our Director, Estahappy Mariki, the girls felt comfortable asking important questions and sharing their thoughts about their bodies, sex, gender roles in society, and preventing andhandling unwanted sexual situations.

 

Lots of laughter helped dispel embarrassment and keep the girls engaged.


Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb for Girls' Education                            November 2014

In September Hildur Valsdottir, an Icelandic medical student studying in Norway, set a goal to climb Kili and to raise money for The Girls Foundaiton of Tanzania.

Having researched various NGO's, she chose us because she believes in giving needy girls the educational opportunities we provide.

While studying in med school, working a full-time job, and working out to build up her endurance for the climb, Hildur also motivated her family, friends, colleagues and community in Norwary to donate and she raised $9,700.

  After her climb, Hildur visited our girls at Henry Gogarty Secondary School. They asked her a million questions about her Kili climb, studies, and life goals. Her energy, aspirations and activism are inspirational for all of us.

Thank you Hildur for your awesome contributions and your friendship!


Graduation Day                                                                              October 2014

Congratulations to our recent graduates!!

On October 18, Angela and Pascalina graduated from Form 4 at St. Theresa's Secondary School. Our Director Estahappy and the girls' families attended this memorable and joyous occasion. We are all so proud of their success in school!  
 

Next month Angela and Pascalina will take the Form 4 National Exams with all other Form 4 graduates from the entire country. Those who pass this exam will be awarded a Tanzanian High School Diploma, which is the minimum requirement for work and future educational opportunities. Girls who pass this national exam with very high grades will be eligible to move on to the A Levels (Advanced Level program), which can then lead to university.

Angela (pictured) won the school award for best student in Geography.

Thanks to your support, young girls are focusing on their studies, learning about the world and defining their passion.


Learning for Life and Leadership                                                       June 2014

TGFT initiated our first 5-day "Learning for Life and Leadership" course on the campus of Henry Gogarty Secondary School, a highly ranked private Tanzanian boarding school with whom we are parnering. Twenty-three girls participated: 10 TGFT girls and 13 visiting scholars who are students at Henry Gogarty.

 

Fourteen professionals, 11 of whom were Tanzanian women, shared their life stories, illistrating that while educational paths, career coices, and individual challenges vary, hard work and a supportive network can lead to a rewarding future.

A nurse and a doctor discussed hygiene, menstruation, UTIs and STDs/

A university student discussed her studies and her role as a UN volunteer.

Three teachers discussed self-esteem and self-confidence and the rewards of teaching.

A sales ad marketing manager for Mt. Meru Hotel discussed hotel management, career opportunities and the expectations of employers.

The Founder/Director of Intel Primary and Secondary School discussed the rewards of giving to the community through her support of orphans and development of her school.

An entrepreneur provided a hands-on demonstratino of how to make soap and explained how she distributes her products.

 

Throughout the week, our Director Estahappy Mariki, led games designed to teach communication, cooperation, and teamwork.

Kilimanjaro Wizard Art troupe performed skits, songs and traditional dances focused on themes of early sexual relationships and pregnancies; HIV/AIDS and girls' empowerment against domestic violence.

At The Girls Center the girls participated in a 20-hour basic first aid certificate course with First Aid Africa. They learned about wound and burn care, sprains, head injuries, asthma, snake bites and CPR.

The girls had so much fun learning they didn't want each day to end.


Gap Year                                                                                            March 2014

During their Gap Year at The Girls Center, Form 4 graduates Finyueli and Mary interned at an excellent health clinic called Total Care from December to March

In Tanzania Form Four graduates take a national exam. The students have to wait 8 or 9 months to find out the results, which determine whether they will proceed to Form Five or a vocational training program. TGFT has used these months to give the girls "real world" job experience, an opportunity to volunteer in the community, and a chance to work on skills such as computer use and English language.

Mary received hands-on training in the Lab and learned about sample collections, observation under a microscope, analysis and diagnosis of parasites and malaria.

Finyueli, who wants to be an accountant, worked in the Accounting Department and learned how to prepare invoices, compile financial data and understand a bill of exchange.


Loving School                                                                             February 2014

 

In mid-January students across Tanzania began a new academic school year.

We sent 12 girls off to girls' private boarding school outfitted with school and personal supplies to last them for 6 months (until June).

School uniforms and shoes, textbooks, reams of paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, soap, lotion, toilet paper and sanitary pads, blankets, sheets, pillows, hoes, jump ropes, sneakers, backpacks, sweat suits, sweaters, flip flops, underwear, buckets, bras, flashlights, clothespins, and stamped envelopes to write home! (No cell phones allowed at school!)

Secondary and high schools, both private and government, follow the Tanzanian curriculum and students take 10-13 subjects, which are conducted in English. Students must speak English all the time - inside and outside of the classroom. They are also expected to slash grass and work in the school vegetable garden.

 

We are investing in motivated students who would be unable to attend secondary and high school without our sponsorships. From Dolla who wants to fight for the rights of orphans and the disabled, to Gertrude who wants to be a judge and fight injustices, and Helen who hopes to report for the BBC, our students have big dreams and want to bring about positive changes to their community. 

It is the empowerment of each girl - and the collaboration among many - that will help our students take charge of their future and chart their course. Thank you for your encouragement and support as we continue to empower each girl through their critical years of secondary shcool and high school.