Breaking the Myth of the Girl Child
At GLAMI, one of the best things about our close team is having informal conversations about our past, present, and future lives. Staff speak about the realities of the societies we grew up in and how we witnessed bad practices that hinder a girl from attaining her full potential. For example, some who grew up in families with only girl children observed how their parents were bullied, laughed at, or made to feel inadequate. It is not a good experience to see your father pressured to look for other means to have a boy child because having girls as the only children was not enough.
These stories are sad, interesting, and inspiring at the same time. The same people who belittled parents of girls only are now congratulating them and are proud of the great things these young women have accomplished. I see heroes in such stories because during the time when their communities did not believe in the value of girl children, these parents stood up and gave all the needed support to bring out the best in their daughters.
For this International Day of the Girl 2020, I am proud and excited to celebrate the power of girls by sharing the stories of Salma Mohammedy Omary and Aikande Muro. These two friends and coworkers at GLAMI have a lot in common: they both grew up in families that had only girls, they had parents who believed in girls’ education, they are both savvy with numbers, and they were lucky enough to join the Kisa Project in their last two years of secondary school.
I believe a girl needs an effective education to make her a fully engaged member of society. If girls are unable to access education, they will grow up to be illiterate women. Lack of female mentors also keeps girls from being informed about their health and learning confidence building soft skills, especially in places where the only source of information comes from schools. There is no doubt that female youth also need consistent support and mentoring to guide them through their teenage years and beyond.
Thankfully, there are actions and initiatives across the globe to promote the education and empowerment of girls and GLAMI is one of them. Its two programs, Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu, have assured that thousands of girls in Tanzania have role models who clearly set an example of the power of a girl. GLAMI is changing hearts and minds throughout communities about the capabilities and worth of girls.
Salma Mohammedy Omary
Kisa Scholar, Arusha Secondary School, 2011-13
BA Accountancy, Institute of Accountancy, Arusha, 2016
Binti Shupavu Mentor, 2017
Kisa Mentor, 2018
Administrative Manager, Kilimanjaro Region, 2020
Pursuing Certified Public Accountant Designation
How Kisa Changed my Life: My favorite Kisa moments were when we had visitors come to class now and then who shared their work experience. Also, the Year One Presentation was a time of development for me. I was so nervous and the experience helped me so much with my confidence, especially after I was recognized as one among the Scholars who made the best presentation!
I was born and raised in the Arusha Region of Tanzania. I am the second in a family of four girls. As a little girl, I dreamed of owning a mall. I came to realize this was a bit of a fairy tale, so I became an accountant.
When I was little, my mother was sick from asthma, which prevented her from performing some of her responsibilities. My favorite memory as a child was seeing my father stepping in and doing things my mother could not do. For example, our father was happy to cook our favorite dish, chapati (Indian flat bread), for us even though Tanzanian culture believes that men are not supposed to cook for the family.
Having girls as the only children was considered as a loss to parents in my community. My family was different. My father did not listen to all the discouraging words he heard from his friends and relatives. Instead, he did everything to support us especially in our education. Three of us have graduated from university already! I can always tell from his face how proud he is of our achievements. Our father played his part well and we played our part well too. Our family is now one that is referred to as a good example of how boys and girls are equal. All children deserve support from parents and the entire community in developing their potential.
Read Kisa Project Manager Hadija Hassan’s Father’s Day tribute – another story of an amazing Tanzanian dad also with four daughters!
Kisa Scholar, Makumira Secondary School, 2012-14
BA Accounts and Finance, Mzumbe University, 2017
Kisa Mentor, 2017
Senior Kisa Mentor, 2019
Pursuing Masters in Monitoring and Evaluation
How Kisa Changed my Life: I never before had a platform where I would learn how to lead myself, how to set my goals, and how to get along with others. I told my Mentor (who is still my mentor today!) that the things we were taught in the Kisa program are the things that everyone at school should learn. This is because they are the things that we need in our daily lives. I don’t remember applying some of the things I learned in mathematics in my real life, but today I am applying the skills for setting clear and good goals.
I was also born and raised in the Arusha Region. I have just one older sister, which makes my family smaller than many. My dream as a girl was to become a doctor because it was the most respected career. I admired the way doctors walk, wearing a white coat, and how people gave them attention as they walked by.
My favorite memory as a little girl was my mom taking my sister and I to school. She worked near our primary school and we would all take public transport together. We were dropped at a bus station and it took us 30 minutes to walk to school from there. On our way, our mother would hold our hands and we would all sing.
I appreciate my parents, family, and entire community for making me who I am today. They did their best to make sure I went to school, providing materials and paying school fees. When we were grown up enough to walk to school alone, people in the community helped us cross a busy road safely.
I am now able to return this support by helping my family financially. I act as a role model to my younger relatives and my Kisa Scholars. I love mentoring and having meaningful conversations with people. I support these young women to believe in their dreams and become leaders, despite whatever challenges or limitations they have. This is my contribution to my society and my nation at large.
I also love singing – you know where that comes from!
AfricAid mentors secondary school girls in Tanzania to complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities. We equip girls to overcome challenges and reach their full potential because educated girls create lasting positive change. The outcome is proactive, resilient, and socially-responsible girls who secure better jobs, raise healthier families and increase the standing of women in society.
Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative (GLAMI) is AfricAid’s program implementation partner in Tanzania.
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in honor of International Day of the Girl 2020!
Your contribution will allow more girls to have the support
and mentoring they need to achieve their potential.