Happy New Year! More good news from our friends in Tanzania…
Like many of you, we are in a stay-at-home mode as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are fortunate in that we are doing well—we hope the same for you.
A brief update:
- In the fall of 2020, 23 students graduated with your assistance. In total, TNSP has now assisted 176 students to graduate with a nursing diploma. Our original plan was to travel to Tanzania in November/December of 2020 to meet with staff at each of the schools and current students, as well as select new students. Due to Covid-19, we decided to wait until there is a vaccine available, which probably means we will not travel until November 2021. We have worked with department heads at each of the schools (via Zoom) to select students for the 2020-2021 school year. We also hope to meet current students soon, also using video conference.
- The current pandemic has not greatly impacted Tanzania. We have had reports from students, teachers and friends who confirm this. Schools, however, were recessed several months early, sending students back to their villages. During that time, some assisted their families on the farm, while others went house to house teaching about the Covid-19 virus and how to prevent its spread. Students are now back in school and studying hard to make up for lost time.
- We continue to receive monthly emails from students in which they address a medical case or situation that they find particularly interesting. The emails are answered by Judith Conway, a TNSP Board member and retired nurse practitioner. It is not uncommon for a student to ask Judy a question and a lively discussion can result.
We have often spoke about the many benefits our program provides the young women we sponsor. In the past we have also found that when one family member is successful the entire family benefits.
The following is the story of a sponsored student:
We would like to tell you about Rebeca and how her success has impacted her family. Rebeca graduated from the Tukuyu School of Nursing in 2013, where we provided assistance for her studies. Rebeca and her six siblings were raised by her mother. Her mother is a peasant farmer who also worked as an unskilled laborer to earn cash income, which in turn paid for various items including school fees. The children assisted with farm work in their free time. At various times, Rebeca was sent home because school fees had not been paid—one time for a three-month period. At various times, the family would ask for assistance from local churches. After completing secondary school, she stayed home for approximately two years to take care of her sick mother. After her mother’s health improved, she applied and was admitted to the Tukuyu School of Nursing, where she was able to enroll with limited assistance from a family member and her own savings. Money for school fees continued to be a struggle for her. She commented in her application for sponsorship: “Due to this I use much time for thinking about school payment instead of studying” and as a result of the sponsorship “I will use more time for studying hard instead of thinking about school fees and pocket money. The sponsorship will make me more competent because I will have more money for photocopying some notes and exercise books with pens.”
In the above paragraph I have provided you an idea of the struggle she went through to obtain her education. We first met Rebeca when we agreed to sponsor the balance of her nursing studies. After her graduation we did not hear from her again. However, in the spring of 2019 she wrote to us and we learned that she was then a student at St. John’s University, which Tony had planned to visit. During Tony’s fall 2019 visit to Tanzania, he had the pleasure to see her again (and also other graduates) and he asked her to write a short essay about her activities following her graduation. Here is her story, in her words:
I want to thank those who contributed in the sponsorship program because at that particular time my mother wasn’t able to pay school fee and accommodation. It was your contribution that favored me to finish my studies and made me perform well in my studies. I real admire your contribution because helped me to graduate well in April 2013. After finishing my nursing diploma studies in October 2014 I had a temporary job at Igogwe hospital where I was payed salary as of government scale. Through that salary I was able to pay school fees for my two siblings who was dropped from school because our mother had no money to pay school fees. I also started to build the house for our family. On 8/4/2014 I had permanent employment from government, I was continued with supporting my mother and my siblings.
In 2017 the older young brother completed form four education and passed with division two, he was selected to continue with advanced secondary school. Not only him but I also started the study of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2017 at St. John’s University of Tanzania in Dodoma. In 2019 the older one completed form six education and in this year of 2020 he will start the university studies, while the younger one completed the form four education who is now in the college of Accountancy
Now in 2020 am in third year of study and the house which I was building at home is finish, but I couldn’t reach these success without the sponsorship program from Tanzania Sponsorship Program, Inc.
I can conclude that your program is very beneficial to the African ladies because it not only increases the noamba (number) of qualified nurse by also increase the family economic level. So this sponsorship program should not be stopped so that it can help more Tanzanian ladies.
Rebeca’s story tells you about the impact that assisting a single family member can have on the entire family. Reference was made to the old family house. I do not have a photo of it. However, the typical house of a poor peasant family is often constructed with woven branches and mud for exterior walls, dried straw or sheet metal for roofing and a dirt floor. The photo below shows the wall construction and some very cute children that Tony visited several years ago.
We would be happy to answer any comments or questions you may have about this newsletter.
Our students asked us to thank you for your support to them and their families. Without your support they would have difficulty continuing with their education.
Asante sana (thank you) to all of you who have encouraged and supported us for the last 13 years. We wish you all good health and prosperity in 2021.
Linda, Tony and the TNSP Board