Scolastica:  name of a very smart girl that needs school fees – coincidentally Latin for “scholar” – and therefore the perfect name for this education endorsing website.

My name is Gwyneth Hesser and in 2013 I came to Tanzania to work as the Country Director of a non-profit organization that sponsors girls for secondary school. Girls apply and are interviewed during their last year of primary school so that if selected, they are sponsored to attend private boarding secondary school.

It was during this selection process that I met Scolastica, Rabia and Rahma. I conducted interviews, visited their homes, met their families, and spoke with their teachers — and it was clear there is no way their families can afford school fees. However, the organization could only select a few girls…and Scolastica, Rabia and Rahma were next in line. They are all at the top of their class, incredibly bright, have worked so hard, and deserve to continue with their education. From interviewing them, it was also obvious they value education so much – and are acutely aware of the alternative: not continuing with school, remaining in their village, most likely being married off and having children at a young age, and struggling to survive.

For Nureen, she was in a different situation. She spent her first year of high school at a government school where teachers don’t show up to class (one of her teachers didn’t show up for a month) and only taught for a few hours per day of half days sessions due to a lack of teachers. Brilliant and #1 in her class out of 400 students, Nureen worried that without a real education she won’t be able to pass her national exams required to continue to the second half of high school and realize her goal of becoming a heart surgeon. This would be such a waste of her incredible brains and potential to help her country. Please see Nureen’s section for more about her story and a more detailed description of the government school system.

By the end of 2013, thanks to the incredible generosity of so many people, we were able to raise enough funds to send these 4 girls to amazing, top schools in the country. For Rabia, Rahma and Scolastica, January 4, 2014 was their first day at Star High School. For Nureen, January 11th was her first day as as a sophomore at Kandoto Science Girls Secondary School. They were so excited about starting school and so thankful to everyone that made it possible!

Thanks to your generosity, we were also able to help 3 additional girls: Maryam, Lilian, and Beatrice – each with incredibly compelling backgrounds, brilliant, kind, and motivated. However, now that they’re in school we need to make sure that we remain committed to see them through to graduation – and hopefully beyond to university.  We would also love to help additional girls in the future. So please read on about Scolastica, Rabia, Rahma, Nureen, Lilian, Maryam, and Beatrice – and know that we, and they, are so grateful for your help!!

All the best,