The Girls Foundation of Tanzania
by helping others
achieve their best,
we find the best
Message from our
Founder & Chair, Nano Chatfield
"I’ve been volunteering in Tanzania for over 14 years. From my work with Tanzanian girls, young women, professionals, and government officials, I've had the chance to discover first-hand how just one volunteer, one donor, or one intern can change a girl’s life forever..."
- Nano Chatfield
Volunteering has taken me further than I ever imagined; over the years, I’ve taught in classrooms, planted gardens, designed curriculums, shopped for school supplies, ridden ‘dala dalas’ (local buses), balanced buckets of water on my head while walking, cleaned pebbles out of rice for dinner, taken cold bucket showers, attended graduations and have been welcomed in many homes and schools. I’ve been encouraged and supported by family, friends, and friends of friends who’ve recognized the value of volunteering in someone else’s community. I’ve been inspired by our dedicated and energetic staff, our American and Tanzanian Board of Directors, teachers and administrators of the schools we partner with, our students, and their families.
finding a way to make a lasting difference
The Tanzanians I’ve met value education greatly. They know that with an education their children can have a better life. Most parents’ biggest worry is paying for school fees for their children. In Tanzania, primary school is free, but secondary school is not. As a teacher, I worried about the future of some of my students after they graduated from primary school. I felt compelled to provide further educational opportunities for bright, promising girls whose
families couldn’t afford to send them to school. That compulsion led me to co-found The Girls Foundation of Tanzania.
Volunteering in Tanzania has expanded my world, instilled a sense of purpose and deeply enriched my life. I’m inspired by our students, their curiosity and desire to learn. A 13-year-old girl has different needs than a 21-year-old young woman. When our 7th grade students arrive for the first time at The Girls Center, they’ve never seen so many books in one place, much less typed on a computer or used a flush toilet. We teach them everything from how
and when to wash their hands properly, to the difference between a fact and an opinion. We encourage them both to speak up and to know when to ask for help. Our older students recognize themselves in our younger students and step in to become their friends, buddies and mentors. They assure them that The Girls Center is a community
of peers who care and respect one another, and who want to learn from each other. And then something wonderful happens—a joyful connection among the new girls and our charismatic and caring Executive Director, Estahappy Mariki and exuberant House Supervisor, Grace Mbuya. The Girls Center becomes a home away from home, a place to
study, to learn, to teach, to share and to support each other.
What's next for our girls and our organization
I am continually reminded of how lucky I am to be part of this team. It’s a team that’s dedicated and engaged in creative problem-solving. Our priority is serving and providing for smart girls and tenacious young women who desperately want an education. TGFT strives to match their ambitions with skills, their passions with knowledge, their steadfastness with responsibilities. We are educating young girls today who we hope will become tomorrow’s middle class; well-educated young women empowered to make their own choices about who to marry and when to have children, successful, employable adults civically engaged in their home communities.
None of us can hope to solve the problems of the entire world. However, at The Girls Foundation of Tanzania, we’re changing the entire world for a single girl, one girl at a time.
U.S. LEADERSHIP TEAM
I believe in the power of girls and the power of education. I’m driven by our mission to provide quality education inside and outside the Tanzanian classroom to smart young and adolescent women living in extreme poverty in Tanzania.
I grew up in the Northeast spending my summers in Maine where I’ve been living with my family for the past 25 years. I completed an MFA degree in creative writing in 1983 from Vermont College, and am a product and proponent of all-female learning environments as a graduate of Smith College in 1978 with a B.A. in English Literature and Miss Porter’s School in 1974. My teaching career has taken me from Framingham State College and Bradford College in Massachusetts to English as a Second Language classes for immigrants in Portland, Maine to rural classrooms in Tanzania.
From 2005-2010, I served as Chair of the Board of the Tanzanian Children’s Fund, which supports an orphanage and primary school near Karatu, Tanzania. In my extensive volunteering experience in northern Tanzania, I have been inspired by grassroots efforts making a sustainable difference in assisting women and children with overcoming incredible hardships to support their families. I believe in the power of girls and the power of education and am energized by our mission to provide quality education to adolescent girls in Tanzania through supporting locally-based, early stage non-profit ventures.
TANZANIAN LEADERSHIP TEAM
Estahappy W. Mariki
senior executive director
Passionate about providing opportunities for girls and women, I joined The Girls Foundation of Tanzania in 2013. I've had 10 years of experience volunteering and working as a community development facilitator working in health centers, leading orphan centers, counselling youth with issues of drug abuse, supporting children, elders and people who are HIV+ in Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions in Tanzania.
I grew up in rural Tanzania under the mountains of the Kilimanjaro hills, a Chagga girl. I studied medicine in college, then earned a degree in social work and recently earned a masters in Gender Studies. During my study journey I’ve earned several international certificates in working with youth and children. As an accredited coach with Coaches Across Continents I’m training youth in sexual and reproductive health rights through sports. I’m married with two wonderful children.
I’ve worked for local and international organizations as a counselor, facilitator, trainer, and policy planner. I’ve served on international and local organization boards, private and government schools boards in order to push forward the agenda of supporting girls agency and gender sensitization.
I am very excited to be a part of The Girls Foundation of Tanzania as the Executive Director and Treasurer. I believe that every girl deserves a chance to be educated, respected and given equal opportunities. Mentoring our talented, motivated girls is rewarding. There is reason to hope that we are making a difference as each girl develops into a strong role model in her school and in her community. I continue to demonstrate the value of girls’ education in my community, in Tanzania and elsewhere around the world. Girls are proving they can fly beyond the sky to make positive changes for all of their communities in Tanzania.
After completing a B.A. in Political Science from Southern Illinois University, I joined the Peace Corps in Niger, where I worked in a rural village of 1,500 people in the far eastern region of the country on well-building projects, agricultural diversification, and girls and women’s literacy and empowerment trainings.
Then as an AmeriCorps volunteer, I worked at the American Red Cross in Los Angeles, California. I taught disaster preparedness to underserved communities, participated in disaster response operations, and assisted with international programs.
I earned an M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy with a concentration in African Studies at the American Graduate School of Paris. I learned about TGFT soon after and started working with the motivated girls in this impactful program. After leaving TGFT, I spent the next two years as the Executive Director of the Maasai Girls Education Fund in Kajiado, Kenya. While I remain involved with these girls’ education programs, I currently work with Djembe Communications, an African-based global communications consultancy.
As The Girls Foundation of Tanzania's first Country Director, I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with these amazing girls and young women in Tanzania. I fondly remember The Girls Center as a place of inspiration, learning, and strength. I hope that through TGFT's work we can also raise awareness about the vital importance of educating girls and women everywhere.
Our Partnership Philosophy
The Girls Foundation of Tanzania works closely with funding and implementing partners that have missions and visions that align closely with ours. We believe that our programming and support for the girls and their communities must be contextualized and designed with and for them. We also believe that they need a high-quality, holistic set of services that are created and delivered in partnership with other organizations that are experts in their fields. By doing so, we hope to promote transformative, lasting change in the lives of TGFT girls and their communities.
AMPLIFY is a collective of community-driven organizations collaborating to create a community-based alternative to traditional development scale. AMPLIFY’s mission is to AMPLIFY the voices, work, and impact of local organizations focused on the power and potential of adolescent girls. Learn more here: AMPLIFY Website
Arthur B. Shultz Foundation
The Arthur B. Schultz Foundation helps advance opportunities for women and people with physical disabilities. They do this through the support of grassroots organizations and social enterprises working in East Africa and Central America. . Learn more here: Arthur B. Shultz Foundation Website
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Coaches Across Continents
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Fred Foundation is committed to contribute to a society that stimulates people to live in harmony with themselves, each other and their environment. We are dedicated to empowering people, improving health and well-being, expanding consciousness, and promoting care for nature and our planet. We do this by carrying out our own projects and by supporting organizations and initiatives through financial donations. Learn more here: Fred Foundation Website
Le Solstice Foundation
The Le Solstice Foundation sets up financial partnerships with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) around the world on projects that improve the lives of children, and/or that raise awareness about nature preservation and sustainable development. Learn more here: Le Solstice Foundation Website
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Segal Family Foundation
The Segal Family Foundation believes in a world where development is steered by grassroots leaders and power is shifted into the hands of communities. They work across Sub-Saharan Africa and strive to be true partners to our grantees. Learn more here: Segal Family Foundation Website