When Mandy first moved to Tanzania in 2013, most of the Tuleeni children were enrolled in public schools and were struggling to excel in their classes. In previous years, Mama Faraji had found a few individuals who were willing to sponsor some of the Tuleeni children to go Private English Medium Schools, where small class sizes and the teachers’ dedication and proficiency allowed these children to go on to succeed in their academic career. Additionally, private schools are taught 100% in English in comparison to public schools, which are taught 100% in Swahili. This gives private schooled children a HUGE advantage, for ALL secondary schools, as both public and private are taught SOLELY in English. Unfortunately, due to the cost, the vast majority of families cannot come close to being able to pay for private schooling, leaving the most vulnerable and in-need children left to attend public schools. If these children are lucky enough to complete Primary School and go on to Secondary School, far too many of them will fail or drop out within the first year due to their lack of knowledge in the English Language.
Education Sponsorship Program
Mandy and Mama decided they wanted to transfer all of the Tuleeni Orphans to English Medium Private Schools, but needed to find a financial sponsor for every child before moving forward with these plans. Mandy then started Neema International’s Education Sponsorship Program (NIESP) and within two months, she had secured sponsors for 28 of the Tuleeni children to attend private schools for the 2014 school year. But she wanted to do more—she understood that she was not going to be able to find enough sponsors for every child in Tanzania… So instead, in August 2014, Mandy joined the teaching staff at Mrupanga Primary School (a very poor government school in their village/ward) where Mama Faraji serves as the Vice Principal. Knowing that she was bilingual in English and Swahili, the Mrupanga Principal placed her in Class 7 hoping she could help prepare the students for their National Primary School Leaving Exam and give thee students the English foundation they need for Secondary School.
Teaching at Mrupanga opened Mandy’s eyes to all the children outside of the Tuleeni Orphanage who came from impoverished families and would not be able to afford Secondary School. She decided to extend NIESP to help a few children outside of the Tuleeni Orphanage--- a few Mrupanga Class 7 students, and a boy named Lameck who attended an even poorer government school called Chombo Primary. When Lameck completed Class 7 at the end of 2014, he could not speak a word of English. However, he was extremely dedicated to his studies, so Neema decided to take a chance on this sweet child and offer him a full scholarship for Secondary School. Lameck went on to surpass any preconceived expectations the organization could have had for him— In June, Lameck received his report card for the first semester and was ranked 4th in his grade of 70 students, many of which were fortunate enough to attend English Medium Primary Schools and therefore already spoke excellent English. Lameck made all A’s and B’s in his classes and finished with an overall average of an 87.
Including Lameck, Neema International sponsored 54 children’s education for the 2015 school year. NIESP works to break down the cycle of poverty by sending the most vulnerable children to the best schools possible—many times, these children would have wound up dropping out of school and in one way or another contributed to the transmission of destitution from one generation to the next. By funding schooling all the way through their university years and putting a mentor in their lives who believes in them and gives them hope, these students instead go on to become viable members of their community and help move their country towards a brighter future.
To Neema, this is not a charitable endeavor but an investment that has the potential to bring a thousand-fold return in lives saved for generations to come. For 2016, Neema International hopes to increase the number of students they sponsor from 54 to around 75 or so—6 or 7 new additions from the Tuleeni Orphanage (who for one reason or another were not ready for private schooling this last year, but are showing steady improvement and hopefully will be ready academically for January 2016) and 13 of Mandy’s 2015 class 7 students at Mrupanga Primary School. If you are interested in being a part of Neema International's Education Sponsorship Program, please visit our "SPONSOR A CHILD" page!
Here are some more pictures of NIESP's incredible students! We are so thrilled to be able to give these children the education they deserve!!