Meet Subira!

I thought it might be nice to periodically introduce a student here at Sega. Since I am not actually teaching classes, I need to make an extra effort to get to know the girls and I figured interviewing for my blog is one more way to do so. I have been working with one of the “Business Clubs,” a group of about 20 students who have met twice weekly over a period of 3 months to start up, form, run, and then liquidate a micro-business. The clubs are an exercise designed by Fundacion Paraguaya, the organization that is working with Sega to develop the “learning by doing” business curriculum.

On Tuesday, I mentioned to my group of girls that I would like to interview any of them who want to be featured. Subira was the first to volunteer so we went back to my porch and I asked her several questions. What follows is what I learned about her.

Subira Mohamedy

Subira Mohamedy is a 15-year-old “pre-form” student from Morogoro.  The pre-formal program is a 6-month preparatory period for students who have passed their primary school exam but are not quite ready for secondary school. They will take a readiness exam before they are admitted to Form 1 (equivalent to 8th grade in the US but the first year of secondary school in TZ) in January.

Subira passed her primary school exam in January of this year but was not able to enroll in secondary school due to her family’s lack of funds. She thought school was over for her. Her father, a subsistence farmer, died of an illness in 2004 when Subira was 7 and she told me that his death and her sister telling her she could not continue in school earlier this year are the two worst things that have happened in her life. Subira has three brothers, ages 31, 24, and 18 and three sisters, ages 28, 20, and 8. All her older siblings completed Form 4 (O levels) but most of them have no work. Her mother and one brother are farmers. One other brother sells products at the market, and the other three older siblings don’t work. Subira had heard about Sega school from other girls she knows who are students here so she decided to apply. She passed the exam to get in and moved into the dorm at Sega in July, having been out of school for 6 months.

Subira ironing

Subira is one of about a dozen Muslim students in this school of 150 girls. She loves to study and her favorite subject is science. She is looking forward to taking biology, chemistry, and physics in high school and her dream is to be a doctor someday. She also likes to play netball (sort of like basketball but no dribbling, only passing) and enjoys Bongo Flava music, though the girls have no way to play music in the dorms so only get to listen to it when there is a “music day” at Sega and the cd player and speakers are set up, about once or twice a month.

Subira said that she is hoping that if she studies hard, she will be able to get a good job. As a doctor, she would like to help everyone who is sick and if she is financially successful, she wants to help her family by building a house for her mother and providing many other good things for her and the rest of the family.

Subira also loves to draw and has already made decorative cards for me and written letters to both Kelsey and Fraser (I am about to send them off) so I know she is generous and kind-hearted and would make a wonderful physician.  I can’t be sure, of course, whether Subira will achieve her goals but I hear she is the hardest working girl in her class so I will be rooting hard for her.

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8 thoughts on “Meet Subira!

  1. April, I have really enjoyed all your updates and stories about the school and your experiences. I most love the in depth interviews of students along with their pictures. I will be thinking of you at thanksgiving and hope you are not too homesick

  2. Thank you for the introduction to Subira. I love hearing about her desire to learn and her love of school. It’s so inspiring! Also, I am wondering about the iron she is using. It looks heavy. From the picture it looks like what I would call an antique iron. What is the heat source?

    • The iron is very heavy and is heated using hot coals. The girls heat the coals up in a fire and then put them inside the iron. Although electric irons are available here, most people still use these old fashioned ones because the electric ones use so much electricity and they typically have hot coals around anyway. Since Sega is on solar, we use them because the electric irons might draw too much for our system (although we in the volunteer house have regular appliances so it also could also be because this is what the girls are used to).

  3. April, What an incredible story. I can tell you are having a really powerful experience there, and that you are going to make a great difference in the lives of these awesome girls, just as I’m sure they will be shaping you. Lots of love to you over the miles!

  4. Hi April,

    It’s great hearing all these stories. Since Subira’s family couldn’t afford school, is she at Sega on a scholarship?

    I found this video on youtube of the Sega girls singing. It’s great.

    Caroline

  5. oh April how nice it is to read about everything you been seen & Done so far! it looks like you Really having so much passion at what you doing ; i M so Impress! take care April, much love…

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