We’re BACK in TZ! Student selection 2022

We’re BACK in TZ! Student selection 2022

Since my arrival three weeks ago, I have been busy visiting friends and meeting current students. On this visit to Tanzania, I have a companion, Rose Mwagala. She is a recent nursing school graduate that TNSP sponsored for all three years of her studies due to her economic situation. She met me in Moshi when I arrived in early November.

Shortly after landing, my first school visit was at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) in Moshi. At KCMC, there are four continuing students who are now in their third and final year of nursing studies. Based on discussion with the school staff and review of student files, we selected six students for an interview and subsequently agreed to sponsor all of them.

Photo: Students selected for sponsorship at KCMC

Following the selection process, we had a very nice dinner of fried chicken and chips with all 10 of the sponsored students. It was a fun evening which included some gifts of shawls and flash drives for lucky students.

Photo: Lucky student selected a shawl

Our primary selection criteria for sponsorship is financial need and, secondarily, good academic performance. For this reason, we select students who have completed their first year of studies and have demonstrated their capabilities. The schools we visit are public institutions where students live on the campus in a dormitory setting and are small enough so that the school staff develops an awareness of family and economic issues for individual students. The ley economic indicators are clothing worn by the student, inability to pay school fees and insufficient money to buy meals. This year, the stories I heard from students were particularly sad:

  • Sale of house furniture to pay for school fees
  • A sibling dropping her studies in order to give another child the opportunity to continue her studies
  • Sale of the family farm to finance an education
  • Borrowing money from neighbors in order to pay school fees
  • Insufficient money for food resulting in one meal per day and better off students sharing food with those in need
  • Divorce and abandonment by one parent

I hope to give a few short stories in a future newsletter.

We anticipate that, once students graduate and start working as registered nurses, they will provide support to their families and the community. One evening, I had dinner with a small group of ladies who graduated in 2012 and 2013. The women I met with were no longer the shy and quiet young women we met in their student days! I asked them how the sponsorship had assisted them and what impact it had on their families. I was very happy to hear about their how they were able to help their family with various activities – building a home, providing financial support to parents and paying school tuition for siblings and more distant relatives.

Photo: Pleasant memory of four graduates

During my stay in Moshi, we enjoyed a two-day safari to Ngorongoro Crater. There were some beautiful views from the rim of the crater and the ride to the bottom. On a tour, we were able to see a great deal of wildlife over the course of the day.

Photo: View from the crater rim with lake in the distance

Since this short safari I have done further travel in Tanzania. I hope to tell you more in another letter. Thank you for all the support you have given to the Tanzania Nursing Scholarship Program.