More About the Girls and Meet Rehema!

A couple blogs ago, I wrote ago about Subira who is one of our students. I received questions about whether she is on scholarship and how one can help her or other girls here. This blog will answer both queries. Also, I did a home visit last week to a student’s home and have attached some photos and her story, written by her.

How To Become A Sega Girl:  The Sega Girls School (Sega) is committed to educating “vulnerable” girls from the Morogoro or Iringa regions in Tanzania. This means, to be admitted, a girl must have been out of school for at least a year and must also pass an entrance exam.

Preparing charcoal to bake bread.

“Vulnerable” means the girl dropped out because her family is too poor to pay school fees or the transportation to get there and sometimes it’s because she has become pregnant and had a child (abortion is illegal in Tanzania), resulting in her being kicked out of school.

Many of the students have one or both parents who are dead. About half have fathers who have died and about a quarter have lost their mothers. 15% have lost both parents. The average household size of these girls is 7.5 but the range is huge with many living in households with more than 10, or even 20, people. 11 girls have children of their own but 68% of the girls report having others they are totally responsible for when they are home, mostly siblings, with many of them having more than five people to care for.

Paying For Sega:  The Sega girls and their families cannot afford to pay for this education. One of my tasks while here is to produce a business plan showing how the school can become financially self-sufficient by running several businesses, the profits from which will pay for most or all of the education of 210 girls within a decade.  I am helping to figure out which businesses make sense  But, in the meantime, here’s how it works:

Preparing the bread to bake.

The girls’ families are asked to pay a nominal fee of 100,000 Tanzanian shillings, which is equal to about $65 per year. The rest of the $2,200 per year it costs to educate each girl is raised from donors in the US by Sega’s sister organization, Nurturing Minds.

There are two ways to be a Sega supporter. One is to make a tax-deductible contribution of any amount to Nurturing Minds. The other is to become a sponsor, also tax-deductible. Sponsorship means that you are making a specific connection with one girl and should want to be in contact with her by mail. The girls love being sponsored, receiving letters from their sponsors and writing back. Subira will be up for sponsorship in January when she starts Form 1.

Packaging the finished product. The house in the background is where I live.

To sponsor a girl is $720 (and a girl can have up to three sponsors at this level) or $2,500 to pay the entire amount for one girl (the $300 excess over costs goes to development of the school).

If you would like to donate any amount or become a sponsor, please contact Nurturing Minds Executive Director, Nikki Shearman at (617) 969-1950 or info@nurturingmindsinafrica.org.

Meet Rehema:

Rehema with family in front of their home.

On Wednesday, I went on a home visit to Rehema’s. Here is her story as written by her:

Rehema’s Life Story
My name is Rehema Marko, I am fourteen years old in a family of four children. I am the first-born. I have no father; I’m living with my mother and my stepfather, who has an arm problem. He cannot have it amputated because he cannot afford the cost of going to the hospital.

In the kitchen.

We are not pastoralists, but my mother has a few hens that save her some money. My stepfather had a calf, but he sold it to support us in hospital costs at Morogoro Urban Hospital.

I completed Standard Seven in 2011 and selected to join Dakawa Secondary School, but I did not go because I had no money to pay the bus fare every day. So I had to stay home.

I heard about Sega from the Head of my village.  

Rehema’s siblings with other village children.

He came to advise my father to come and try to ask for assistance at Sega. I thank my stepfather and my mother for their concern and also all Sega teachers for welcoming me without any discrimination. God bless you all who know that there are vulnerable children who need assistance.

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3 thoughts on “More About the Girls and Meet Rehema!

  1. April,
    Your blog is great– thanks for sharing! I wish I could still be there and have met you- but a cyber hello will have to do for now! Hopefully I’ll get back there soon. Would love to talk with you sometime soon, but in the meantime keep blogging away! My love to the girls and staff, and huge hugs to Morogoro.
    kila la kheri na mungu ya bariki-
    ashlie (volunteer)

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