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 went to Tanzania to work as the Country Director of a non-profit organization that sponsored girls for secondary school. Girls were interviewed during their last year of primary school so that if selected, could be sponsored to attend private 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 was 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 were at the top of their class, incredibly bright, worked so hard, and deserved to continue with their education. From interviewing them, it was also obvious they value education so much – and were 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 wouldn’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.

What started as some emails to friends and family quickly turned into a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 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 and today continue to support them in addition to several other girls.  In addition to paying school tuition and fees, we provide all school supplies and personal items needed to reside at school, and provide medical, dental, and eye care to ensure they can focus on their education.

The girls are all so excited to be attending excellent schools and are so thankful to everyone that made it possible!  However, now that they’re in school we need to make sure that we remain committed to see them through to graduation and beyond to completing university.  We would also love to help additional girls in the future. So please read on about Scolastica, Rabia, Rahma, Nureen, Lilian, Maryam, Zainab, little Mariam (Nureen’s younger sister), and Beatrice – and know that we, and they, are so grateful for your help!!

All the best,