Sauti Moja hopes to bring the global community closer together through better understanding and deeper relationship. We invite you to engage in personal stories presented from various perspectives - Sauti Moja staff, partners and beneficiaries – that, when strung together, articulate the Sauti Moja journey. We hope that this blog will enrich you and that you find the collective insight inspirational.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A Strategic Gift Provides Twins with an Opportunity
by Jenaya Rockman
The Government of Tanzania claims 97% enrolment in primary
school. However, this claim of high enrolment seems to be untrue for most rural
areas. Driving through the countryside, one sees numerous children minding
livestock, hauling water, collecting firewood, and caring for younger siblings.
Many children have never been enrolled, and others have been withdrawn to help
with home activities. For many Maasai families, the goats and cows, which are
critical to survival, are valued more highly than education.
Daniel and Msanja
Over a year ago, Daniel and Msanja, who are twins, graduated
LECHE preschool, but until recently have not been able to attend primary school.
Their mother is a widow with three other children but owns no property except
for three goats. When her husband died, she and her children came under the
care of her brother. Because the uncle
feeds and houses them, the twins have had to care for his goats so that his own
child can attend school. He claimed that he could not afford school uniforms
and school supplies for them.
Sarah Ilmolleian, the Early Childhood Development Program
Coordinator for SM-TZ, was aware of the twin’s situation, but the Program did
not have funds to assist students, such as Daniel and Msanja, with uniforms.
However, a visitor to SM-TZ learned of the plight of the twins, and provided a
donation for them. Sarah used the money for uniforms to enable students to
proceed to primary school. This provided the leverage she needed to approach their
uncle about school enrolment; lack of money was no longer an excuse.
Mother, Uncle, Twins and Sarah
Sarah took the neighbourhood leader, called the balozi, to
talk to the uncle about allowing the children to go to primary school. The
uncle wanted to allow just one boy to go, but Sarah and the balozi insisted
that they both be allowed. SM-TZ was able to provide the boys with uniforms and
school supplies so they could enrol in school!
For now they will attend day school, but when space becomes available,
Sarah will ensure that they attend boarding school. As boarding students,
regular school attendance will be ensured.
Daniel and Msanja were named after the first two village
leaders of Longido, because their mother wanted them to grow up to be great
men. Without Sarah and the balozi advocating getting these children in school
and without the donation from visitors, the twins would likely never have attended
school. Now, they have a chance to become educated and the potential leaders their
mother wants them to be; they have a chance to use their education to pull
their family out of poverty; they have a chance to change the future by ensuring
that their own children are educated. Change can start with just a few people; it
can start with Daniel and Msanja.
For more information on Sauti Moja programs, select from the side margin or go to www.sautimoja.org.