Unite's Scholar's program is designed to help break the vicious cycle of poverty, oppression and wasted human potential by empowering uniquely talented-yet-impoverished youth with access to quality higher education. Through one-to-one mentorship this program nurtures their creative and independent thinking as well as the development of personal and professional life skills necessary for their success as engaged and productive global citizens.
Currently Unite is sponsoring 64 children across Tanzania, from pre-school through university and beyond to post-graduate internships, and we provide incentive awards for academic excellence in partnership with Maendeleo Yetu. This July we hosted a two-day “kick off” meeting in Dar Es Salaam during which a few of our most recently selected Unite Scholars were brought in from across the country to meet with our Unite Mentors (see cover photo). There they reviewed Unite's program, policies and procedures; studied our Unite Scholars Life Skills curriculum; and presented speeches to one another and to me (via Skype) about topics of their choice. The scholars then returned home to receive all of their school-related items, which were purchased and delivered by Unite, before registering at their respective schools with the on-site support of their assigned mentors.
Iqram, 18, comes from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. His mother died when he was 8 years old, and he was left with his abusive father. Eventually his father left, and Iqram, his two young brothers and his older sister went to live with their elderly grandmother. The family is so poor that they must rely on the kindness of extended relatives and strangers to eat and to meet their most basic needs. Iqram has always been extremely bright. He scored Division 1 on the extremely challenging Form 4 (lower secondary ~10th grade) Tanzanian National Exam. While in lower-secondary school, Iqram’s teachers recognized his gifts as well as his extreme challenges at home, so they often invited him to stay with them where he could be safe and well fed. As a Unite Scholar, Iqram is now fully sponsored to complete his A Levels (Form 5 & 6) at the Ifunda Technical Secondary School in Iringa, Tanzania. He dreams of becoming an engineer. See Iqram's video HERE.
Zainabu, 19, comes from a small village in Western Tanzania. Her father is a fisherman on Lake Tanganyika and her mother farms their small family shamba. It is very difficult for Zainabu’s parents to provide even enough food for Zainabu, her two sisters and five brothers. Zainabu is extremely bright and scored Division 1 on the Tanzanian Form 4 National Exam. As a Unite Scholar, Zainabu is now fully sponsored to attend the renowned Tabora Girls School where she is working towards her dream of becoming a scientist. In October, Zainabu will present at our inaugural Unite Scholars Symposium about what life is like for her as a person with albinism in Tanzania. Albinism is a rare inherited disorder that results in little or no production of the pigment melanin, which determines the color of the skin, hair and eyes. In certain rural areas of Tanzania where the practice of witchcraft is widespread, albinos are ostracized due to beliefs that they are “devil people,” sent as a curse from the gods or ancestors. At worst, some are hunted and killed as witchdoctors drive myths that potions made from albino body parts have magical powers that can cure deadly diseases and bring wealth, health and success. As a result, many albinos live in constant fear. See Zainabu's video HERE.
David, 17, comes from a small village in Southern Tanzania. His father is an administrator and his mother a primary school teacher. While both parents are employed, their meager earnings are not enough to cover their rent, food, clothing or medical care for David and his two brothers. As a result, David’s parents cannot afford to pay for his continued education. David earned Division 1 on his Form 4 National exam and scored in the top 10 of ALL students across the entire country of Tanzania. As a Unite Scholar David is fully sponsored to complete his A Levels at the renowned Kibaha Boys School in Dar es Salaam. David’s dream is to study medicine and specialize in orthopedics. See David's video HERE.
Gloria, 17, comes from the Mbeya district of Southern Tanzania. Her mother is an uneducated housewife and her father, who finished only lower secondary school (~10th grade), works as a cargo clerk and brings home just ~$200 a month from which he must pay for food for his family of six, rent, electricity, water, transport, medical care, etc. He cannot afford to pay for any of his children to continue their education beyond lower secondary. Gloria earned Division 1 on her Form 4 National Exam and ranked #1 in her class for mathematics. As a Unite Scholar, Gloria is now fully sponsored to complete her A Levels (Form 5 & 6) at the Ifunda Technical Secondary School in Iringa. She dreams of working in women's health. See Gloria's video HERE.
Furaha, 18, lives with her mother and father and two brothers in a small mud-hut with no electricity or running water in the Kilimanjaro region of Northern Tanzania. Furaha’s father works as a self-employed carpenter and her mother sells bananas on the streets. While Furaha’s parents are very supportive of her education, they are extremely poor and lack the funds to pay. During her lower-secondary school years, Furaha had to walk 3 hours a day to and from school, and at night she walked another hour back and forth to a friend's house where there was electricity so she could study after dark. Despite these challenges, Furaha finished 1st in her class, and she was the only student in her village district to score Division 1 on the Form 4 National Exam. As a Unite Scholar, Furaha is now fully sponsored to complete her A Levels (Form 5 & 6) at the Ifunda Technical Secondary School in Iringa. Furaha dreams of becoming a pharmacist "to help ensure that the appropriate medicines are developed for and prescribed to patients who are suffering." See Furaha's video HERE.
The cost of sponsoring a Unite Scholar to attend higher-secondary: $1,200.
What does this annual sponsorship money cover? School fees paid directly to the school; the purchase and delivery of all school-related items by Unite (including books, uniforms, stationaries, transport fees, trunks, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items); one-on-one mentoring support by a trained Unite Mentor; the opportunity to present at Unite's international annual symposium; regular group meetings with other Unite Scholars and Mentors for peer and professional support; local and international networking & career development support; and more.
Please help us reach more bright young scholars in need.
INTRODUCING OUR NEW MJANE JASIRI "BRAVE WIDOW" PROGRAM
Across Tanzania, hundreds of thousands of women have lost their husbands to HIV/AIDS, diseases and accidents. After a man dies, his surviving wife and children often face economic hardships, social stigmatization, abuse and mistreatment from the husband/father’s extended family. Relatives of the deceased may take back the husband’s properties, leaving the wife and children with little to nothing. Other times women are forced to marry one of her husband’s brothers to keep his “property” within the family. Children are particularly at risk as they are often forced to drop from school and left vulnerable to physical and sexual violence as well as teen marriage and slave labor. Unite is committed to empowering as many impoverished-yet-entrepreneurial widows as possible with grants and one-to-one mentorship to help them not only survive but THRIVE and achieve independence, dignity and self-reliance.
COST OF SPONSORING A WIDOW: $500
What does this one-time sponsorship money cover? A grant for each woman to grow and develop her small business; 12-months of educational workshops led by professionals from Tanzania and abroad; support with the marketing of their products through Unite’s local and international networks; 12 monthly group meetings with Unite’s Program Manager to give and receive peer and professional support; and more.
Meet Mama Pelez
Pelez Lazaro Mpimiwas, 47, was pregnant with her third daughter when her husband died from a gunshot wound that he sustained while on active duty while working as a police officer. Pelez herself had dropped from school when she was just 12 due to her family's inability to afford her school fees, so following her husband’s untimely death, she was left with no skills and no job. She has since been surviving and struggling to care for her three grandchildren by making and selling batik fabrics. As a member of Unite's "Mjane Jasiri" Program, Pelez will work with Unite's Program Manager to improve and expand her small batik business, which currently only yields about 100,000 TSH a month (~$45), and to develop a business plan for a new small-scale catering company. Pelez’s biggest wish is to be able to provide for her children and grandchildren and give them a good education so that they may have a bright future.
To reach more women like Mama Pelez, we need your help.
TRAVEL WITH UNITE TOURS
Building bridges. Sowing seeds of compassion, understanding & responsibility. Cultivating peace.
I leave for Tanzania again next month with a team of Unite advisors and sponsors. If you are interested in traveling with me personally or on your own as a Unite Tour client, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We partner with JorAfrica Safaris to combine traditional wildlife safaris with field visits to our partners across Tanzania to create unique safari experiences that are personalized to fit the individual needs, interests and dreams of our clients.
"I do not think that I have the vocabulary to explain properly how truly extraordinary this experience was for me and my daughter. Scarlett and I are both forever changed for the better by our time spent with Unite in Tanzania."
- Nicole Gerber (Unite advisor & student sponsor)
"Our trip was incredible on so many levels. Learning about the Tanzanian culture, making genuine connections with the people, and meeting the impressive leaders of Unite's partner organizations & programs made this trip one of our most memorable experiences."
-Lisa Price (student sponsor)