First Impressions of “Courageous Daughters”
(the Binti Shupavu program)
There is something we were curious about: What do Binti Shupavu Scholars know about GLAMI’s life skills program before getting immersed in it? Likewise, what do their parents know about it? The girls are certainly excited about what the classes will be like and what fun they will have (after all, this is not a bunch of memorizing facts like they are used to in school, but an interactive learning experience). Their parents want to understand what their daughters will be gaining from the Binti sessions and what the term “Binti Shupavu” implies.
So we asked. One thing is clear, Binti Shupavu is meeting and exceeding the expectations of all involved!
Binti Shupavu Scholars
Year One Binti Scholars share their thoughts about the first time they heard the words Binti Shupavu after starting secondary school and once they attended their first Binti class.
“I knew it was an organization which teaches girls how to be confident, self-aware, and resilient women. I wished to be that girl! I want to educate others and make them strong and courageous too. When I joined Binti Shupavu, I was glad that it was just what I thought it would be.” Sara
“I didn’t know exactly what Binti Shupavu meant until I heard some of my upper grade sisters talking about it. Even before they let me know exactly what it is, I think I figured it out. Someone who has been through these lessons is a daughter who can do anything without fear. She has the mind to decide something without being told what to do by someone else, she is self-confident and takers good care of herself. She will be a woman who never gives up. Now that I know what this project does for girls, I love it because it will help me in life.“ Sinyati
“I felt nervous at first, but after some time I got used to it and loved every part of it. I met new colleagues and we are taught a lot of important things. I encounter good lessons, such as what guides your actions and decisions, and understanding the meaning and types of motivation.” Mery
“I really hoped that I would learn ways to solve challenges so that I could fulfill my dreams for the future and be able to finish school safely from Form One to Form Four. I knew I would receive encouragement and psychological support such as positive counseling when I am in trouble. I also hoped it would give me the courage to resist temptation in order to stay focused on my goals. I am receiving all I expected.” Nengai
Binti Shupavu Parents
Parents have an important role in supporting their daughter’s education. The GLAMI staff works hard to inform and involve them through Parent Engagement Meetings and ongoing communication, but initial impressions come from the daughters themselves as they seek permission to stay after school.
“I didn’t know exactly what Binti Shupavu was and I was worried that Sadia would be wasting her time. I thought it was just a club for girls and that it could interfere with her plans. My daughter explained to me that she needed the lessons in order to achieve her future goals and be smart all the time – and that they would help her now and in the future. So, I agreed to let her join the project.” Sadia’s Mom
“We were surprised when Natapwaki wanted to attend Binti Shupavu and we asked what it was. She told us it is a project that trains girls to be confident, to stay in school for four years, to avoid temptation, and to fulfill their dreams. We understood the importance of the classes and are happy she joined.” Naitapwaki’s Mom
Binti Shupavu Mentors
New Mentors (who are generally graduates of GLAMI’s leadership program, the Kisa Project) also have the anticipation of their first day in the office and their first day of mentoring. Nevis Urio is a volunteer Year One Mentor with the Binti Shupavu program in Arusha, Tanzania. She shares her experience of starting something new.
“As I was getting ready for my first day at the office, I was worried about how it was going to be. I was happy and excited to be a new member of a team that makes positive changes to communities through mentoring. But I also had questions and expectations. The feelings were profound.
I actually never thought it would be easy to work with only women in an office. To my surprise, my very first day, I was embraced by joyful praises on my arrival. It was heartwarming and I came to understand that we women can set our differences aside and work together to achieve a certain goal. I am so impressed by the team I work with.
I remember it was a Wednesday evening when I gave my first Binti Shupavu lesson at Moringe Secondary School. I was worried about how students would react since it was my first day to lead them as a Mentor. I thank God that the students gave me maximum cooperation. They were very charming and committed, which gave me the strength and confidence to stand before the group. The lesson went well – the students asked questions and we shared stories. It really was an amazing experience.”
Another new Year One Binti Mentor, Miriam Kessy, had a similar experience and is honest about her initial nervousness.
“Before I attended my first class to deliver the lesson as planned, I had some butterflies. A thought of my Scholars popped in my head and I had lots of questions: Will I be able to deliver the content well? How will the Scholars treat me as their new Mentor given that I have a calm personality? Will they like and respect me?
When I went to the class, the Scholars were happy, accepted me, and enjoyed the lesson. They told me they were happy to have me as their new Mentor and I earned their respect that day.”
Binti Shupavu is a four-year life skills course for lower secondary school girls covering topics such as study skills, personal leadership, health and self-confidence with the goal of increasing graduation rates for vulnerable girls.