It’s Graduation Time!
A joyful milestone step for over one thousand 2019-2021 Kisa Scholars
In April and May, 2021, at 27 schools across Northern Tanzania, very special graduation ceremonies were held. Speeches, singing, dancing, and cake marked the end of two amazing and especially challenging years for the 1,018 girls in the graduating classes of the Kisa Project.
There were the usual school chores and rotations, the studying, and struggling to master new information and techniques for final examinations – and then there was the lockdown period of the pandemic. Isolated at home from their classmates and teachers for three months (March-June 2020) and uncertain when they would return to school, this class of Scholars showed resilience and fortitude. Kisa Mentors kept in touch with their Scholars by phone (calls, texts, WhatsApp messages).
The girls wore homemade sashes and ribbons and broad smiles as they marked their completion of the substantive, two-year extra-curricular leadership program. It’s about more than awarding certificates and gifts though – it’s about celebrating their individuality and how far they have come.
A Kisa Mentor since 2018, Verynice Kirumu, says “It doesn’t feel like it could possibly be their time to graduate. It’s gone by too fast. All the trials and misfortunes, all the nights of study, all the classroom experiences, all the stress, all the efforts, it all comes together with this ceremony. As their Mentor, it is bittersweet to be sharing their emotional moments and memories that they will cherish after secondary school life.”
There is not enough space to record all the thoughts of Scholars and Mentors upon this important occasion, but Verynice has collected a sampling, along with slide shows that tell the story of the day!
Arusha Secondary School
Kisa Scholar Reflections
I am a different girl now – strong and bold
“If it weren’t for some of my close friends, my teachers, and my Kisa Mentor, I’m not sure I would have completed high school. My teachers pushed me to study hard and did everything they could to help me out. After spending two years in Kisa, I realized who I was and what potential I had in me as a girl and as a role model. Thank you, my mentors, I will always appreciate your efforts in our lives.”
Magreth, Kisa Graduate, Kifaru Secondary School
“When I first joined Kisa, I thought that we would be learning subjects like the normal class lessons and routine, but it turned out to be different than I thought it would be. My life was molded and improved by learning how to develop personally and make goals. I got to understand who I was an what I can do to make my life and the future of my community better. Thank you so much for your help.”
Sophia, Kisa Graduate, Machame Secondary School
“The journey was not easy. At one point, I wanted to quit Kisa because I felt like I had a lot on my plate. Other subjects and school activities can make one give up easily. Luckily, my sister (a year ahead in Kisa) and my Mentor encouraged me and said that I had to adjust my time management and keep attending the sessions because time waits for nobody. They were absolutely right. Here we are, celebrating our achievements and having a wonderful time together. I will miss and cherish all the good moments we had for the past two years. Thank you, may God bless you.”
Violeth, Kisa Graduate, Langasani Secondary School
“With just a month to complete my Advance Level, I can see light near the end of the tunnel. Truly, I have had so many amazing experiences during the two years I was a Kisa Scholar at my school. There were ups and downs of our journey, but I am so grateful that today I celebrate the achievements. I will soon be a big sister in GLAMI’s family!”
Gladness, Kisa Graduate, Majengo Secondary School
“I cannot believe that our time of being in Kisa is actually done. It may have included a crazy rollercoaster of emotions, but together, we got through it. During these two years I’ve learned so much about being optimistic. There were times I went through problems that felt like they were taking control of my life. Instead, our Mentor helped us to see the positive side of every challenge that we are facing in life. I know where I am heading now. There are lots of ups and downs in life that might try to make me give up, but I am a different girl now – strong and bold, who is seeing things different from before. I am proud of who I am today.”
Winfrida, Kisa Graduate, Machame Secondary School
Mlangarini Secondary School
Kisa Mentor Reflections
They can be a catalyst for change
“My Kisa Scholars at Kifaru were happy and said that while this is the end of them as students, it is the beginning for them as leaders. They were thankful to be part of the program because it helped them gain skills and knowledge in leadership and lifestyle, especially through the Community Assessment and 2 Day Challenge. They have become practical leaders of the future generation.
Aikande Muro, Kisa Mentor
“My Kisa Scholars from Tarakea were so excited to complete their two-year leadership course. They said that Kisa is a different program that is not available everywhere, so they were grateful to receive the knowledge. They will be sharing their skills with the people around them so they can be a catalyst for change in their communities. My Scholars from Ashira added that they were glad that the Mentors never got tired of mentoring them. They urged the Mentors and the organization to keep mentoring young girls. They really appreciate what we are doing.”
Agatha Chaima, Kisa Mentor
“We believe that another door awaits our Scholars as Kisa Alumnae. This door leads to lots of opportunities, chances, challenges, and pursuits. We wish them the best of luck in building a strong foundation in themselves, their peers and family, and the community at large. Congratulations to the Kisa Class of 2019-2021 and to their Mentors who guided these girls for two challenging years!” adds Verynice.
Mringa Secondary School
AfricAid works to improve the standing of women in society through robust, locally-led mentorship initiatives that cultivate confidence, improve academic and health outcomes, and promote socially-responsible leadership skills. In close partnership with our sister organization, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), we support mentorship opportunities that help secondary school girls in Tanzania complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities.