Congratulations Franki, Ongera sana!

Update May 2012 

Today Franki Kilasi  will be  enjoying his graduation ceremonies in Arusha Tanzania having completed  course work to become a primary school teacher at  Bishop Durning School!  Congratulation from Canada!   We are thinking of you and reflecting on your long and sometimes challenging journey and are thankful you requested help from  KSF Tuition Project  in 2008.  Ongera!

I recieved this recently via email……

“Thanks for every kind you do for me! You have change my life. You make my dream to be truth! I fill to see the light now b’se i was in the dark of my dream! i will thanks you every time when i alive ! when i breath. but GOD BLEES U”


Clearly a happy fellow, we regret having few representatives to send and celebrate with him!




Here is Franki showing off one of his  hand made teaching aides.


Since our January visit we’ve steadily received student news and exam results from  Sunday Shalula, coordinator of the Kilema OVC and overseer of KSF students during the year..  A particular thanks to Sunday for all his effort to council KSF students, help with logistics and tuition payments, pass on reports and all this  despite wearing many other hats.  Thanks also to our Canadian community whose continued interest, curiosity and financial contributions allow us to offer educational sponsorship to deserving students,like Franki.


To date for the 2012 school year, 28 students have received tuition and in most cases uniforms, shoes, counter books, pens and pencils with two third of the total funds available this year,  $10,860 Canadian.  Margareth, a clear eyed and well spoken student sponsored since 2008  is in her final year of studies at San Jose Training Trust in a secretarial program.  Happiness, at 21 years of age, is producing excellent marks in Form 1, the equivalent of grade 8.  Franki,l graduating today displayed proudly a B average and excellent practicum comments when we met in January.  Neema and Lucina will finish tailoring at vocational school by year end and August enters his final year of electronics.  Five students, Lilian, Stephen, Jonas, Godfrey and Jackson will be eligible for university if they pass this year.  Emanuel awaits placement at a government subsidized teachers college having done well on Form 4 exams.  Glory A. attends Sahare teachers college in coastal Tanga having secured other sponsorship as did Flora J. and Josephine and of course the KSF Tuition Project welcomes local contributions and encourages  cost sharing with caregivers or extended family.   Cost sharing contributes to the sense of investing in a particular student and the overall value placed on the educational experience


This year another student, Ambrose, graduated with a four year vocational construction certificate and though struggling with issues around housing and family poverty and was encouraged his vocational instructor, who continues to follow Ambrose’s transition into the world of work.   KSF offered a zero interest loan to buy tools he is required to have in order to work; a level, a square, plumb line etc..  Recently,  HBC Augustine  sent word that Ambrose is working in construction with his brother in Arusha. So we wish him well and  hopefully we can visit him there when we pass through next year. Congratulations!


Of the 19 waiting students still waiting for funding, 4 are certain to proceed.  The remaining 15 students, who recently sat Form 4 (equiv. Grade 11) exams, need to adjust their sights depending on results.  Last year 7of 18 Form 4 students failed to pass.    Progress through school is measured by passing regular examinations and it is well understood that the government structures exams to limit the number of passing students due to lack of resources.  So the competition is fierce.   For those that have failed we have offered a limited one year vocational training, more than what most other sponsoring agencies can offer.   Palpable this year has been countrywide anger over fee hikes for educational services that Tanzanians know are challenged and rank among the lower end of many educational indicators worldwide. Despite the frustrations and lack of alternatives, the push for education persists as does family debt.

The cohort of students, who have been funded by KSF Tuition Project since 2008, are now at higher educational levels and attending secondary schools all over northern Tanzania.  Three students are in Arusha, and three are in Musoma near Lake Victoria.   Augustina  will study in Muheza in the coastal lowlands  and Flora is near the Kenyan border to  the east.   Many, while waiting for the results of national form 4 results  stayed with caregivers or relatives near and far.  So  during our visit we were traveling more frequently and further in an effort to connect with students.   Fortunately, a few students have acquired cell phones and so can be called to report in and save us a trip.  Cell phones continue to streamline what would otherwise take months to do..


Pregnancy has been  an ongoing  theme this year and since 2008 the KSF Tuition Project 5 girls from the program, almost 17%, have withdrawn  due to pregnancy.  This year one girl, just 4 months shy of her vocational trade license, became pregnant and was dismissed from the program and another was dismissed from Form 2.  According to Tanzanian government statistics, 25%of women under 18 in Tanzania are already mothers and pregnancy is the lead cause of girls dropping out of school with 6% leaving school each year for that reason.  According to the Tanzanian Ministry of Education one in five girls fell pregnant and did not finish school in 2007. Sex education is not taught in the local schools and according to Sunday Shalula of the Kilema OVC program it is against the law to teach children under 18 years about sex, pregnancy  and   disease prevention, unless they are registered with the Children Living with HIV/AIDS program.   Reproductive education and contraception is still a very controversial topic in   the country as a whole which is religious and populated mainly by Christians and Muslims.  When I expressed my concerns to Dr. Mbando he shook his head and reminded me that there are regions still where 100% of sponsored students might become pregnant, in tribes where early marriage and dowries are valued over educating girls.  Farid our taxi driver, open to far-reaching conversations, said that young Muslims learn all about reproductive health in the mosques.  One headmaster shook his head and said, “This is the problem with educating girls. They become  pregnant!”

Becoming pregnant is highly stigmatizing for a girl in Tanzania.  The grandparents of our student were so angered that the student fled to the coast to live with another relative.  We sat with her grandfather next to his mud house  contemplating the impact of this for the family.  He was bitter at the loss of her educational opportunity and said it was like having a “full pail of water tip over”. For him it was not “ongera” or congratulations but “pole”.   Sorry.   For years, in fact, there had been a law forbidding young mothers from returning to school after giving birth.  But under pressure from UNICEF and other organizations a new law was introduced and adopted in 2010 forcing schools, somewhat successfully, to accept teen mothers back into education.  The students supported by us will be reviewed case by case but if their grandparents will provide child care, as is their cultural duty, the door is open.  All will likely be required to change schools and repeat course work despite the new legislation in place since 2010.  For  many girls  pregnancy is the end of  education and the beginning of subsistence but often those that succeed in getting an education want the same for their children  and seek out resources to control their fertility.


Over the four year period that we’ve been connected with Kilema I remain impressed by the transformation of particular students.   Some stand out, like Razkiki.  When we arrived this year he was quick to greet us with a shy but broad smile as he slouched on the shoulder of a good friend.  His  greetings were a daily event..  During the OVC distribution day he was there to help,  an orphan himself.  He passed Form 2 last year at Lombeta school and walks the almost 4 kilometer back and forth daily looking absolutely smart in white shirt and brilliant orange pants, his Form 3 uniform colours.  In late January he and I sat at the soccer field and poured over a flimsy Swahili//English booklet, while  soccer action unfolded on the red clay. Was this the same hard-eyed , listless boy I met three  years ago who assisted workmen at the hospital with little zest , in exchange for room and board.   I wondered then if I should ‘invest’ in such a hardened youth, who could barely find much enthusiasm or courtesy at our first meeting.  But this year, Raziki displayed happiness, humour, curiosity and for lack of a better word, softness.  Until this year I was never sure that stoniness was reversible.




As I receive many offers for computer donations I give thanks to David Crossley who employed his talent and enthusiasm to building the groundwork for such technical transfers.  We remain grateful to him and IBM for the  $1000  grant which provided  two laptop computers and equipment  delivered to the aging computer lab at   Kilimanjaro Youth Technical Training Centre (KYTTC).  Headmaster, George Shirma, and the school administrator were eager to get the computers working  and ready for the start of classes where all vocational students have required computer studies.  We look forward to ongoing communication with KYTTC and other schools as we prepare for more technology transfers next year.


Happily, Mary Todd is interested in returning to Tanzania in 2014 after an enjoyable experience this year!  Her experience and many talents from working in International Development  have been brought to bear reviewing a  local health project proposal which we hope will takes wing in the near future.  Thanks to her for all her post trip editing, research and advocacy.



Finally from Franki, Margarethe, Lilian and all the Tanzanian students, thank you to everyone for  making some educational dreams come true.  A 50th Birthday celebration and the most remarkable wedding of David and Anna were surprising fundraisers this year!!  Thank you to the students of Central Middle School  for their dance fundraiser and to IBM for the technology grant.  To  friends, neighbours and  family, our thanks.


Stephanie and Chris

Kilema Support Fund Tuition Project





Well done girls…..teachers of the future.  We were very proud of you!!

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