Binti Shupavu Scholars Become Kisa Scholars in 2019
The mission of AfricAid in general is for secondary school girls to progress, with mentoring, to become leaders who then progress to transform their communities. This blog is about a very specific type of progression. A dozen Tanzanian girls who have just advanced from Ordinary Level to Advanced Level of secondary school have also transitioned from one of AfricAid’s programs to the other. We have been eagerly anticipating this day when Scholars would move from Binti Shupavu to the Kisa Project and could not be more thrilled!
The objective of Binti Shupavu to arm girls with the life skills, resiliency, and confidence to finish their Ordinary Level (first four years of secondary) schooling. The program was started at ten pilot schools in the Kilimanjaro Region in 2017 with classes of girls in Forms One and Three. One year ago, in October 2018, 358 of them were the first Binti Shupavu graduates.
What would be next for these girls?
For Mary Maika, who has had a long journey herself with Africaid, from Kisa Scholar, to Kisa Mentor, to Binti Shupavu Assistant Manager, she shared her dream that at least some of them would become Kisa Scholars!
“Since the beginning of Binti Shupavu, I have thought about girls developing from O-Level Binti Scholars to A-Level Kisa Scholars. I really could not wait for that day to come. If there was just one Scholar who transitioned, I would be very happy. I prayed hard for my wish. For me, a big dream has now come true with 12!”
It is actually expected that most Binti Shupavu Scholars will not continue on to Advanced Level (last two years of high school). That is why it is so important to give them the skills to lead productive lives. Even a year or two of additional schooling makes a difference in their ability to be self-sufficient and may enable them to enroll in vocational programs, start their own businesses etc.
For a Binti Shupavu Scholar to become a Kisa Scholar, she must first deliver a solid performance in a nationwide exam given at the end of O-Level. She must then be accepted at school to study a particular 3-subject combination in A-Level. She must find the money for tuition, room and board, uniforms and school supplies to attend that school, many of which are boarding schools. Finally, the Kisa Project must actually be offered at that school. Kisa is currently in 26 Partner Schools in all of Tanzania. As students progress from O-Level to A-Level education, they scatter far and wide across the entire country. So, it is actually quite remarkable that twelve have landed in Kisa!
Binti Shupavu Project Manager, Asimwe Suedi, explains how this group of girls is gaining a unique set of skills from each program.
“Binti Shupavu alumnae proceeding further with their studies and joining Kisa is a great achievement for the Binti program overall. These young ladies are such inspiring stories and will become amazing women in the future with the collection of skills from BOTH programs. I envision them to be resilient and responsible leaders. Binti Shupavu gave them the chance to prove to themselves that they can be resilient and that they can overcome any challenges to be whoever they want to be. Now they get the opportunity to be taught leadership skills and responsibility through Kisa, which will help them make more positive changes in their lives and in their entire communities.”
With much excitement, Mary visited all the Kisa Partner Schools in Kilimanjaro to seek out and meet with the Binti Alumnae who started school in the fall. She gave them hugs of gratitude and listened to them about their future education plans. They are all excited to build on the skills that they learned as Binti Scholars. The girls believe that three particular Binti lessons helped them advance to A-Level: Study Skills, Health & Wellness, and Internal Motivation & Personal Leadership.
In fact, they had some suggestions based on their Binti experience. Mary reported, “The girls inquired of me, ‘Madam, I hope we will be having study skills lessons also in A-Level because we will be dealing with very tough subjects in a very short period of time. It’s the best preparation for us to go to university.’ I was happy to see these girls thinking far and beyond, what is best for their fellow new classmates, friends and Kisa family.”
Some of them are only still in school because they have been helped out by AfricAid’s Emergency Fund. This financial support clearly gave these girls extra motivation to continue school despite their challenges and hardships. Three have been awarded scholarships to assist with their A-Level schooling.
All the Binti girls who have now become Kisa Scholars want to return to visit their former schools to inspire the current Binti Shupavu Scholars. They want to tell them to stick with the program, continue learning and use all the lessons provided by Binti Shupavu.
How did they feel about being the very first Scholars who have the chance to attend both of AfricAid’s programs? Hear the stories of three of them.
Lucy – Tarakea Secondary School
Lucy has an especially impressive story. The A-Level school she was assigned to by the government was not the one she chose. While she wanted to study science subjects in order to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, she was selected to study arts. Lucy did something that most students don’t do… she visited the Kilimanjaro Regional Education Office to petition to be placed in a school with a focus on science subjects. With her strong test scores and persuasive argument, she was given permission to switch schools. She is now studying Physics, Chemistry, Biology (PCB). Binti Shupavu gave her the courage to speak up!
Amina – Oshara Secondary School
Amina’s Binti Shupavu Mentor, Flora Meena, shared this information about her Scholar to her new Kisa Mentor, Lightness Ngoye. “Amina is fully ready to transition from O-Level to A-Level. Her Binti Mentors have been there to help her academically and socially.” Amina was helped by AfricAid’s Emergency Fund, so being part of Binti Shupavu has enabled her to afford an A-Level education. This led her to worry less about her basic school needs and to focus on performing well her final year. She will be taking the HGE combination (History, Geography, Economics). She is shy, but very determined and grateful for every opportunity. Amina believes she has a unique perspective to share with other girls.
Hadija – Mwika Secondary School
Hadija was lucky to have both the Binti and Kisa programs available at her school, and she moved from O-Level to A-Level at that same school. She always thought she wanted to be a doctor, but her exam results in mathematics were not sufficient. Instead she was assigned to study HGL (History, Geography, English Language). Hadija believes that Binti Shupavu gave her the ability to be flexible and adapt – and to see an opportunity in the circumstance. She now sets her sights on becoming a lawyer to serve her community. Because she’s still at the same school, Hadija knows that she will be a great example to the younger girls at her school who have seen her in O-Level.
“With time and hard work, the fruits and positive impact of our work can be seen,” said Mary. Binti Scholars becoming Kisa Scholars is concrete proof that the Mentors’ efforts are paying off.
This year’s Binti Shupavu graduates were celebrated over the week-ends of September 28, October 5 and 12, and 443 more Scholars completed the program. We expect that even more of these girls will join Kisa in 2020 because many of them asked their Mentors which A-Level schools offer Kisa. The girls are going the extra mile to seek information because they believe that the Binti Shupavu program is improving their lives.
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.
Kisa Project is a two-year leadership course that prepares girls in their last two years of secondary school to attend university and create positive social change in their communities.
Would you like to support a Tanzanian girl in maximizing her potential through Binti Shupavu or the Kisa Project – or both?