We’ve Come So Far (Tanzania Partnership April 2022 Newsletter Article)

By Kirsten Levorson

I vividly remember a reunion in Iringa – five young adults, dressed in their best business suits, smart, smiling, confident. They all grew up in remote rural villages, were diligent students, did well in school, and were among the first students supported by SOTV scholarship funds during their university studies. When we met again some ten years ago, they were fresh out of school, in their first jobs, eager, hopeful, full of potential.

They had come so far. One, the first girl from her village to complete high school, entered university to study wildlife management, and is now employed by the government managing a national game park in the northern part of the country.

Another, raised by his elderly grandmother, is now a community developer working on economic development projects with women living with HIV. A few years ago, he contributed most of the iron sheets needed to complete the chapel construction in his home congregation.

Another is a pastor and now the assistant headmaster of a diocese school, another a bank manager, and the last is a hotel manager in Dar. All of them started life with the expectation that their own futures would mirror their parents’ lives of subsistence farming, until the opportunity of a lifetime came their way in the form of scholarship support.

Since the start of this Bega Kwa Bega relationship, education has been an important focus of our life together. When SOTV became involved with BKB around 2001, we were told that fewer than 10% of Tanzanians were able to get a secondary school education. At that time, students with even a few years of high school could find jobs that would support a family.

All these years later, many more Tanzanian students are being educated and the growing economy requires a more highly skilled and better trained workforce. In short, more Tanzanians need a college education today. That’s why, in addition to providing secondary school scholarships for young people from Makifu, Tungamalenga, and Usolanga Parishes, we also contribute post-secondary scholarship funds that are awarded to students selected from around the diocese.

There is much gratitude for your generous gifts, and many stories tell the impact. One of our good friends tells us that due to Tanzania’s extended family structure, “when you help one, you are helping more than ten more.”

One of the students said, “Thanks, I am very happy – more than you can imagine… Education to me is like light to my life. I really appreciate everything, and much more, your prayers. Please convey my appreciations to all.”

Read more about our Tanzania partnership at sotv.org/tanzania.