Written: 1 July 2017
Our young women has just finished their first semester for school year 2017. The center has been busy with the comings and goings of our students. It is during this time that our Social Workers, Naino Parteyo and Paulina Porokwa, would conduct seminars and workshops for our returning secondary students. There are two phases of these seminars. Phase ONE are conducted before the young women go home. Phase TWO are conducted before they go back to school.
Phase One focuses on three topics are (1) Early Pregnancy; (2) Female Genital Circumcission; and (3) Awareness of the Duties and Responsibilities of Being a Parent.
Below are the insights shared by both Naino and Paulina after they have conducted the Phase ONE seminars:
"Early Pregnancy and Female Genital Circumcision continue to be the two big problems that affects the lives of young women who come from the hunter-gatherer and pastoralists communities all over Tanzania. This is due to the lack of awareness on the importance of education, especially in educating girls and the role of tradition.
Being Former Students of Emusoi Centre, we have experienced the pressure and the struggles that our current students are
experiencing now. Through proper planning, we have come up with these seminars to make sure all students know and understanding the effects of circumcision and early pregnancy for themselves (especially to their future) and to the whole community.
We teach them by talking the realities of Early Pregnancy and FGM by showing videos and have an open space for discussions/dialogue. The girls were very open and concern with the issues and really show their feelings. During the semiar, we offer them a safe place where they can ask questions and share their ideas and concerns about the topics. It was very interesting how the students respond to the seminars. The students participated and were very serious of the topic presented to them. They had lots of questions and thanking us for teaching the issue which are crucial and bring good impacts in their lives.
After the discussion of Early Pregnancy and FGM, our social worker also talked about the responsibilities of parents when it comes to their daughter's education. We would ask parents to provide for the basic needs of their child (from soap, sanitary napkins and etc) and other contributions. We believe that the centre and the parents are partners in educating their children. Most of the time, students would come back from home with a bar of soap, a few shillings and etc. We know that most of these parents have very limited resources (it is actually the mothers and grandmothers who would try their best to give something to the young women) and we appreciate whatever they can give.
The Phase TWO workshop will be coming up at the end of July.
Written: 16 June 2017
On the 18th of June 2017, some parts of the world will be celebrating and most of all, will be honoring Fathers. Here at the Centre, we are honoring some of the fathers who have expanded their minds when it comes to educating their daughters. They have seen the value of education in the lives of their children, especially in the lives of their daughters. Please click the Youtube Video below:
Update: Lazaro's daughter, Zawadi, is now a Form Three Students in Uroki Secondary School; Yohana's daughter, Maria, is now a Primary School Teacher in near their village; and, Sambeke's daughter, Namnyack, went to vocational school.
Written: 1 June 2017
Every year, the Centre provides Basic Computer Skills Classes for our Form Four Leavers. As these young women wait for their assigned schools/colleges to continue on with their education, we have scheduled activities for them to learn about computers. The goal is to give them a solid foundation and when they understand the basics, they will have a clear understanding on which to build their future knowledge of and skill with computers.
Learning the computer will be an added skill for them that will definitely help in their future endeavors. The topics that were included were:
1. Knowing the different parts of a computer (both hardware and software)
2. Assembling, connecting and powering on a computer
3. Use a mouse to point, click and double-click
4. Keyboard and typing exercises
5. Opening and closing software files
6. Saving and deleting Files
7. Locating a saved file
8. How to copy and paste files or text
9. Writing Letters and other articles using Microsoft Word
10. Experimenting on the different commands
11. Making presentations using Microsoft Powerpoint
Written: 8 March 2017
After undergoing last year's Selection Process of interview and written examinations, we are proud to announce the 51 young women who are part of our one-year pre-secondary program. These young women mostly belong to the Maasai and Barbaig/Wataturu tribes and come from the northern districts of Tanzania, namely: Arusha, Bunda, Hai, Hanang, Handeni, Kiteto, Longido, Meru, Monduli, Ngorongor, Serengeti and Simanjiro.
Sad to say that most of our girls come from primary schools that somehow did not equipped them with a good foundation for secondary school. To resolve this gap and prepare them to the different academic demands of secondary school, we offered a one-year pre-secondary program. This pre-secondary program has been part of the center since 1999. Subjects that are being taught are: English, Mathematics, Science, Swahili, Oral English, Reading and Vocabulary, Civics, History and Geography.
Aside from the academic aspect, we also offer our young women Enrichment Classes, focusing on life skills that would enable them to more than survive but most of all, thrive in life. Below are the objectives of our enrichment classes:
To enable the girls to become well-rounded individuals who will be able to cope and thrive to the ever changing demands of society;
To guide the girls on how to care for themselves wholitistically;
To help ease the transition from living in the village to living in a new environment;
To prepare the girls to the different expectations and demands which are required/asked of them;
To facilitate in the self-discovery of the girls in knowing who they are: their potentials, their capabilities and their possibilities in life;
To assist the girls on how to balance their past/cultural heritage with their present and future endeavors.
Written: 8 December 2016
Last November 26, 2016, Emusoi Centre celebrated its 17th Form Four Graduation. The occassion was graced by parents, relatives and guests. Our Guest of Honor was Mr. Wilbard Chambulo, accompanied by Mr. Sirili Ako.
Written: 24 November 2016
From shy girls coming from the different Northern areas of Tanzania to Confident young women ready for Secondary School next year. Meet our Pre-Secondary Students for School Year 2016. They are practicing/preparing for their different presentations, from singing, dancing, skits and etc for our 17th Form Four Graduation on November 26, 2016 at Emusoi Centre in Arusha, Tanzania.
Most of the time, their performances are about empowerment of women, thanksgiving, the situation of women in their tribes, their culture and the day-to-day happenings in their villages. This is also a venue for them to share what they have learned during their pre-secondary program. One can say that these young women are our designated entertainers during graduations. Click: https://youtu.be/AYHC2kwm0ak
Written: 12 October 2016
Emusoi centre is so proud to share about one of our students, Neema Mussa Mollel, who is a student of the African Leadership University in Mauritius and is now currently having her internship in Cape Town, South Africa. Below is an article that she wrote about her experiences there:
"My name is Neema Mussa Mollel. I am a student at African Leadership University majoring in Business Management. I am currently interning at Zoona in Cape Town. Zoona is a company which deals with money transfer specifically sending and receiving money to help communities thrive.
I am interning with the People Innovation Team which basically deals with hiring, on boarding, retain, motivate and grow exceptional talents for its employees. It has been a month now since I started my internship but I have learnt so much.
Every day, I get to do different things and interact with different people which expands my learning experience. So far, I have worked in the call centre to
receive customer’s calls and answering their inquiries which was a good experience. I also did data entry for employees’ assessment, on boarding information and employees’ profiles. I kept on exploring different thing as I worked with the HR manager to help employees complete their performance review. I did market research for the countries that the company has offices in i.e. Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, DRC and Ghana.
In the coming days, I will be working on building the library of content (cataloguing and classification of photos and videos) for the organization, doing design thinking with their design thinker, invoicing and admin work with my manager, event planning and team building activities.
Over the past month, I built so many skills in every work that I have done. In the next two months that I am left with to finish my internship, I see myself having grown to an incredible amount because of the opportunity to try different things that I have here at Zoona."
Neema continues to make us proud of her diligence in her studies and willingness to learn new things that would eventually help her in the future.
Written: 10 October 2016
Last week (October 3-7), our centre conducted its annual selection process for the school year 2017. More than two hundred young Maasai, Barbaig, Wataturo and Hadzabe women came to the centre to have the oppurtunity to change their lives through education. With only limited slots, it will be the task of our hardworking staff to choose which among the young women, who took the exams and had been individually interviewed, will be given the chance to be with us next year.
Aside from our Selection Process, we have also been conducting our Parents and Guardians' Orientation. As they wait for the young women to finish in the selection process, our social workers and matrons would gather them to talk about the vision and mission of the Centre. This gathering also includes the expectations and responsibilities of both the centre and the parents/guardians. This is also a venue to discuss the advocacies that the centre have: Girls and Women's rights and the importance of Educating Girls.
Now, the hard part begins: choosing who among the 200 plus young women for sponsorship. There will be much discussion among our dedicated staff in discussing and deciding.
Written: 24 April 2015
The First Semester of the School Year 2013 is officially finish for our students. Most of them will be coming to our center for a day or two before they go home to their respective villages. We are happy that more and more girls are able to go home without the fear of being married off. Right now, out of our 39 Pre-Secondary School Students, 34 of them are able to go home.
With the two-day stay of the students here, we have prepared seminars and workshops for them. The center's Student Support & Social Advocacy Office aims to augment and even enrich the girls learning beyond the four-corners of their classrooms. These activities are given before the girls would go off to their villages. When they come back, another set of workshops and seminars are waiting for them.
Below are some of the topics that are included in our workshops/seminars:
Mimba za Utotoni (Teenage Pregnancy)
Magonjwa ya Zinaa (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
Written: 22 April 2015
The year 2012 will go down in the annals of history as one of the most defining years in global efforts to address gender inequality, especially in Africa and in particular in the history of Plan International (Plan).
Written: 9 April 2015
I left here (Emusoi Centre) on Friday 9th, June 2013. I, Leah Tobiko arrived home safely and my parents were happy to see me back as usual. I had no idea what was going on.
Surprisingly, on Monday 1st July 2013 I was ordered to visit my sister. Painfully later, I learnt that they were getting rid of me so that they could get ample time to discuss about my marriage. I spent the night at my sister’s. On Tuesday I returned home at 4.30 pm. We prepared our supper and had a chat. Then I heard a car approaching our compound. It was about 9.00 pm. We were getting ready to go to bed. Before I asked anyone, I asked myself. Whose car is this?! What is their purpose of coming here at this time?! I was so worried. I asked my mother whose car was it and why did they come at that time.
My mother shouted at me, “Shut up, you will know it later”. We went out to greet those visitors and welcome them in. Then I saw the man I heard he was to marry me. I wanted to run away at once. My mother noted that I was worried and I could run away. She told me to prepare some tea for the visitors. I asked her why should I have to do that, why me ?! I was standing at the door when my sister in-law came and told me that those men came to take me! My parents were marrying me off!I was ready to run away. I didn’t know that my brother was hiding outside. He was told to do so in case I wanted to run away.
My brother was ready when I took off my shoes to run. He caught my arms. He told me, ‘Calm down, where are you going ,it is late”. I answered him weakly. My brother, I can’t believe my eyes. Why are you so cruel to me! Why are you doing this to me?! He kept quiet.
Then my mother came out and said to me, “Why are you confused and giving them hard time? Die if you want to, but they have come for you and you will be married”.
Then my parents caught my arms and were forcing me into the car. My mother slapped me on my back and my father on my cheek. My mouth was bleeding. I was resisting. My father asked my brother to help them. My brother caught my legs while they were holding my arms and pushed me into the car .Other men were there ready with their sticks to hit me in case I give more trouble. The car left. There were three men and the driver. The car used to abduct me belongs to our village chairman! We arrived at my husband’s place. They told me to get off. I refused. They forced me and carried me in. They assigned some people to watch me in case I try to run away. I gave them hard time, then they decided to take me to Arusha city. They believed that in Arusha I had no way or place to go.
We started the journey to Arusha at 6.00 am and arrived at 10.00 am. We were three, me my husband and his friend (best man). I was taken to a flat belongs to someone called Mardadi. They had prepared a room for us. We went in and soon his friend left. We were alone now. He told me, “Why are you pretending now, your parents have given me full authority over you. You are wasting your energy”.
I told him I couldn’t stay with him in that room. We should go outside. I went out and climbed down the stairs .I stood there for a while then I saw a young lady passing there carrying an envelop. I asked her to direct me where the police station is. She said she was a visitor there she didn’t know where the police station is.
Then my husband and asked, “Where is she from and what were you telling her? I asked him if the lady looks like “Mswahili” or Masai. He kept quiet. He phoned his friend in a bar known as kati makutano and asked him to send a taxi so that we can move to another house also belongs to Mardadi, where my sister was staying while attending treatment in hospital.We went there and we were given a room.
I told him I didn’t want to be with him alone in a room. One of us should go out. He went out and locked me in. When we were together in that room, I was screaming all the time. In the evening his friends came to visit us. They took him for dinner. They unlocked the door so that I could stay with my niece because her mother (my sister) was admitted in a hospital. I was playing and laughing with the baby (my other niece) then.
When he saw me laughing he told his friends that I won’t leave or run away. I was sitting outside when he left with his friends about 7.00pm.He ordered the gate to be locked so that I couldn’t run away.
The man who lives in that house found me standing outside after they had left. He asked me, “What is your problem? Why do they ask me to lock you in? I told him that I am a student, but ,my parents have married me off without my will. “What do you want?”, he asked me. I told him that I needed his help to get to Emusoi Centre. I told him also that Emusoi is sponsoring me in a secondary school. It is here in Arusha city near JR-Mbauda. He said, “ Let me wash and change”.He asked his wife to take me out at once to a certain big tree a bit far from there. She told me to tell my niece to take the baby in because it was cold. We didn’t want her to see us going out together.Then we ran to that tree. There is a garden with maize plants, we hid in there.
The woman told me to stay there so that she could go back to make her husband hurry up. I did not like to let her leave me alone. I told her I was afraid to be there all alone. She said, “Don’t be afraid, stay here I’ll be back soon”. She left and soon she was back. Then after a while her husband arrived. He wore black cloths .He is a moslem. He hooted the horn and we ran to him and I jumped on the motorcycle. He said he didn’t know the place. I asked him to take me to JR-Mbauda, after that I could easily find my way to Emusoi. After Mbauda we reached Radio Safina. From there we went to Emusoi.At the gate “Babu” the watch man refused to open the gate. The man pleaded with him to let me in but he couldn’t. I told the watchman that I was running away from a forced marriage, or he should call Teika so that I could talk to her. Then he opened it and I went in and waited for Teika there.She came and I explained everything.
Translated by Mrs. Azaina Mkhomoi Mwason (one of our Pre-Secondary Teachers)
Sister Mary adds:
"Leah's story, unfortunately, is quite typical for some of our Emusoi girls. Each holiday, we try to ascertain if it is safe for girls to go home. Sometimes the girls tell us that there is no longer a problem with her family. Her father has resigned himself that she is in school and he will not force her to be married. But, often as in Leah's case, once a girl is home, her father changes his mind. Each holiday, two or three girls need to be rescued.
Leah's case is untypical in another aspect-both her mother and father are supporting her marriage, In almost all cases, a mother wants her daughter ti study while her father wants to marry her off. Leah is now in her third of high school She will not be able to go home again at holiday time until she finishes school. I am just so glad that she had people to help her escape and that Emusoi was there for her--a safe haven!"
Written: 9 April 2015
Chemsha Bongo are two Swahili words that literally means "to boil the brain". For our center, these are activities that inivites our young women to go beyond the usual way of learning here in Tanzania. These activities allow them to experience something that would challenge them mentally or in other words, boil their brains.
Our first Chemsha Bongo activity was the Spelling Bee Competition. A qualifying written round was first conducted to the two classes of our Pre-Secondary Students. Six students were chosen from each class. During the competition proper, the twelve contestants were asked to spell the words orally and in front of everybody. This activity was so new to them and most of them were a bit shy. At the end of the competition, a lot of realization and boosting of self-confidence happened. Aside from the individual competition, there was also the class competition/audience participation wherein students from the audience were also tasked to spell words.
The second activity is the Jigsaw Puzzle Competition. Using old calendars as jigsaw puzzles, our Pre-Secondary students were divided into 12 groups. Each group were given 4 sets of puzzles to complete. The activity invites our young women to be more mindful and be more careful on how they place and connect each piece. This activity is something new for our young women since most of them are not exposed to this kind of endeavor. Since the girls are now exposed to to this kind of actvityt, they have now graduated in working on 500-to-1000-piece puzzles. A table with a puzzle to be organized can be found at the center.
The third activity is the Word-Find Puzzle. A giant puzzle was posted on the wall for the girls to work on. Again, this activity is not a common endeavor for our young women. Teaching them to be mindful-the attention to details and develop critical thinking are behaviors that we hope to nurture with our young women.
Future Chemsha Bong activities: Anagram and Art is Cool
Written: 31 March 2015
When Sr. Mary Vertucci went for a mission talk in her former parish in New Jersey more than fifteen years ago, her talk caught the attention of a businessman name Lawrence Foster. Mr. Foster became one of the supporters of Sr. Mary's ministries here in Tanzania.
Fast forward, in 2003, when it was time to transfer Emusoi Centre from its rented place in town to its home here in Olisiti, Mr. Foster gave a donation that made it possible to purchase the land.
In remembering Mr. Foster's generosity, we have named the newly organized and furnished library after his wife, Ellen, who is a retired teacher.
With our library, we are encouraging and guiding our young women to have that "love of reading" through our D.E.A.R. program.
Written: 27 March 2015
Words from Sr. Mary:
Some of the girls don’t pass their exams well and they return to their homes, but when they marry they will make sure that their children go to school and they will be able to help them with their homework and speak with them in Swahili. Their schooling will help this new generation.
You all are a part of this revolution as you continue to support us....I thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do to change the lives of these girls for the better. But you are just not changing a single girl’s life, but your help extends to her present family and future family.
Note: Most of our students who reached University level applied and had been granted students’ loan from the government.
Written: 27 March 2015
This year, 2013, is a time of rejoicing, not just for Emusoi Centre but for the whole Pastoralist Community in Tanzania. One of our students, Linda Simon, has just finished her medical degree in Muhumbili University in Dar Es Salaam. She, Dr. Linda Simon, is considered as the SECOND Maasai Woman Doctor in the whole country of Tanzania.
Her journey to achieve her education was not an easy path since the Maasai Culture does not see the value of educating their girls, let alone, supporting them towards a medical degree. With the assistance of Emusoi Centre, the scholarship that Linda received from the government and most of all, the hard work, sacrifices and determination of Linda, she was able to achieve her dream and become a medical doctor.
Last July, the Center was grateful that Linda returned to the center and graciously shared some of her expertise, time and words of wisdom to our young women. Before the start of the sessions, Linda was introduced by Naino Parteyo, another former student of the Center and is currently the Center's Social Worker. There was so much excitement with the young women girls in seeing these two Educated Maasai Women. She shared her story with the girls, her different trials and on how she persevered over them through hard work and most of all, having a goal as an inspiration. The young women were all ears in listening to every word that Linda was sharing. There was even a question and answer portion were the girls freely asked Linda on different situations and topics that she had encountered while she was in school. All in all, it was such a blessing and an inspiring week for the girls to have Linda at the Center.
Currently, Linda is working on her internship and hopes that she will be able to do it here in Arusha. Aside from that, she has been invited to go on a one month clinical visit in India by her former Jesuit Headmaster who is currently teaching there.
As for her future plans, she hopes to return to her home in Tingatinga and serve her people.