33 Parents & Guardians
Enrichment Program and Leadership Workshops
The Enrichment Program (EP) is a 3-week program conducted at The Girls Center twice a year during the long school vacations in June and December.
EP is intended to foster a love of learning and to emphasize the critical thinking skills and creativity that tend to be underdeveloped in the lecture-centered, rote memorization and test-based approach typical of the Tanzanian curriculum. We focus on English language skills, life skills, and personal counseling with our Director. Equally as successful is the interaction they experience while supporting each other as a team. The Enrichment Program is now the core of our programming.
TGFT provides tuition classes, computer skills and practice, healthy living education focused on HIV/AIDS, early pregnancy prevention, personal hygiene, and self-defense training. Since we’ve introduced an adolescent and reproductive and sexual health seminar our girls have learned how HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy can be prevented.
We firmly believe that these non-academic skill-building programs are a crucial complement to our investment in the girls’ formal education. Our goal is not limited to providing education in a school setting. Essential to the spirit of TGFT is to motivate the girls to develop from promising primary school graduates into women who are employed and able to be independent and engaged positively in their communities.
During each EP our students participate in an intensive 5-day Leadership Workshop. In order to impact a larger number of girls, we also invite students from local schools to participate.
We invite presenters from other organizations to conduct seminars on topics such as sexual and reproductive health, financial literacy and basic accounting, public speaking, the environment, and climate change.
Students engage in debates, brainstorming, speaking up in a group, role playing and mapping their futures. These skills are learned in the context of subject matter often ignored in a formal Tanzanian school setting.
GAP YEAR PROGRAM
During secondary and high school, there are long gaps in the academic school year when students are not attending school and are at home without opportunities to study. This down time results in significant learning loss and can be risky for adolescent girls, who may become pregnant. Typically, students help their families with household chores-cooking, cleaning, caring for younger siblings and working in their family’s farm. During these gap periods, TGFT students reside at The Girls Center where they study, intern, and volunteer in our community. This is a time for students to identify and develop their leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to service.
The Gap Year Program includes an internship, computer course, participation in other leadership workshops and community services, including:
Students intern at local banks, businesses, clinics and hospitals for
2-months. Students gain tremendous skills and valuable hands-on experience which give them insight into their field of interest. Also, they are introduced to the real working world which gives them a chance to work on their English and computer skills and to gain administrative skills and self-confidence.
Students participate in several leadership workshops at other organizations such as BELA (Babson Entrepreneurship Leadership Academy); TIMUN (Tanzania International Model UN); Twende; and ECHO International. Students learn about entrepreneurship and developing business plans; how to compost and design flour sack and tire gardens; how to build prototype machines such as corn huskers and vegetable choppers.
Peer to Peer Sexual Health Workshops
Students train students on healthy relationships covering menstruation, STI’s, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Trainings are conducted at different private and government secondary and high schools.
Volunteering in classrooms
Students volunteer in classrooms at local government primary schools as well as in our After-School Program. This is their first-time volunteering in their community. Several TGFT students, inspired by their teaching experiences, are now studying at Teacher’s College.
TGFT conducts a 5-day Admissions Workshop for high school graduates which provides information on how to navigate the university application process. Applying to university in Tanzania is a multi-step online process. Although many of the students radiate intelligence and purpose in the workshops, they are uninformed about the requirements and challenges in applying to and attending university.
Without role models who attended university or career guidance counseling at school, it is a mystery what the expenses can be and what to study for future marketable skills. Few students know that a government student loan is not a scholarship. The majority of students want to become doctors, accountants, business women and lawyers and have little knowledge of other career paths. At the onset of the workshop, our Executive Director insists each student designs a Plan A and a Plan B, which is a novel exercise for them. high-achievers they assume they will get into any university they want and are reluctant to design a back up plan.
Our Executive Director conducts an Admission Workshops at other private and government high schools. Most of these students don’t have active personal email accounts which they need in order to begin and complete the application process. Without these computer skills
and access to the internet, few students are prepared to research different programs at universities and information on how to apply for a student loan.
TGFT also provides a Gap Program for university students during the 3 months after the academic year ends and the next year begins. Our Executive Director helps students find internships with introductions to local bank and school administrators and entrepreneurs. Most of the university students commute from The Girls Center to their workplace and are provided stipends.
THE LITTLE LIBRARY
The Little Library is a quiet place to study for students in our neighborhood. Every day, fifty-seven 1st to 7th graders race from school to attend our free After-School program. Grace, a certified Montessori teacher, supervises the program which offers instruction in Math and English. None of these students own their own textbooks or a notebook or pencil.
At primary school, there are usually more than 50 students in a classroom and students crowd together to share a
textbook. The Little Library is stocked with the required Tanzanian curriculum textbooks for students to study the material covered in class as well as novels and storybooks. The Little Library boasts 529 books!
TGFT students volunteer in the After-School Program. They know from their own experience how challenging it is to study when you don’t own text books and cannot study at home when there’s no electricity and household chores need to be done.
Our students and neighbors don’t have much however, they feel a kinship and responsibility to one another. Every time children master a new word or understand a math concept their world becomes brighter. And our students grasp how their actions affect the happiness of others.