Tag Archives: Zimbabwe

Hello! From Tariro’s New Intern

Hello followers of the Tariro blog! My name is Amelia and I’m the new intern.
Amelia Picture

Some Background

I’m attending the University of Rochester which is home to the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. Through this department, I am able to help out Tariro and receive University credit.   Although I’m studying for a degree in Biochemistry, I have always been interested in issues of social justice, and have incorporated Women’s Studies classes into my schedule to get a more informed opinion.

Social Justice through Education

It has always bothered me that the family, geographical region, and culture someone was born into has such an influence on their ability to succeed and live comfortably.

Socio-economic differences within the western world alone seem to have quite an effect on the opportunities available to individuals, but being disadvantaged in the western world is quite different than being disadvantaged in the third world. Western teens accustomed to privilege may choose to not take their education seriously, because they have options to fall back on, whether it be support from parents, family, or society.

However, in areas of Africa the ability to attend school may be the only opportunity to improve your family’s socioeconomic standing and to provide your siblings with some security.

My Motivations in Working with Tariro

I’m privileged enough to be receiving an education, and so it only seems fair that I take advantage of my resources to help provide educational opportunities to individuals who weren’t born into the same circumstances.

I think Tariro is particularly effective in addressing social justice because it recognizes the interplay between the HIV/AIDS epidemic and education.  Prior to looking at the Tariro website, I hadn’t realized the extent education plays in combating transmission. Yet this quote from the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS says it all:

Evidence from Zimbabwe shows that among 15-18 year old girls, those who are enrolled in school are more than five times less likely to have HIV than those who have dropped out.

If education can help reduce the spread of HIV, and a reduced impact of HIV means that more teens are able to get an education, then a strong effort should be taken to get this virtuous cycle started if we hope to improve the living conditions of individuals in HIV affected regions. I would very much like to be a part of this effort and am excited to get started working with Tariro to make this change happen.

I plan on updating the blog regularly, so keep a look out for future posts!

We’re almost there!

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In recent days, many of you have responded to our urgent call for donations, and we have raised over $1,200 toward covering the costs of the final term of the Zimbabwean school year. This takes us partway toward our urgent need of $6,000, but we’re not quite there yet.

Here’s how your donations will help Tariro educate girls in some of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable communities.

University students: We need $2,745!

As I mentioned in my last post, part of our increased need for financial support comes from the extraordinary success of our three new university students. Yet attending university in Zimbabwe is still an incredible bargain when compared to the rising cost of a university education in the United States. For full tuition, room, and board, our students require only $915 each per semester. This means that for this entire semester, Tariro needs a total of only $2,745 for our three students combined! It is a modest sum, but we can’t do it without your assistance.

High school students and exam fees: We need $1,557!

Yet most of our funds are still going directly toward our high school students. We’ve covered the cost of new uniforms and supplies, but we haven’t yet raised enough for our total operating costs. This term alone, we’re paying $7,900 to cover school fees for our nearly sixty high school students. In addition, we urgently need $1,557 for our students who are writing their Ordinary and Advanced Level exams, which determine whether they will be able to proceed to the next level of academic study.

Can you help?

We’re almost there! Please help us raise the $4,800 left for Tariro to fully cover our program costs and staff salaries this term! For our students, the opportunity to complete their education is an incredible privilege, and true to their nature, they are making the most of it by succeeding beyond our expectations. Join us in supporting them as they work toward their dreams.

Tariro needs your help – donate now to send our students to University!

Tariro's student Tariro (yep!) needs YOUR help to attend university this fall!

Tariro’s student Tariro (yep!) needs YOUR help to attend university this fall!

As the beginning of September approaches, we need your help to ensure that the Tariro students who have been accepted to the Zimbabwean university system are able to attend! At this point, we are $6,000 short of the money we need to cover the school fees for the sixty students we are sponsoring this term, including our three university students, and time is fast slipping away. Please consider making a donation to help us!

As you may already know, the name of our organization, Tariro, means “Hope,” and is a common names for girls among Zimbabwe’s Shona speaking communities. And today’s featured, university-bound student is named Tariro!

As our program coordinator Fadzie writes, Tariro K. has a passion for helping others. Reflecting the deep influence our program has made in her life, she has decided to enroll in a social work program, with the ultimate goal of working with vulnerable children. She has been accepted to Bindura University, which belongs to the Zimbabwean public university system.

Tariro has been enrolled in our program since 2009, when she was in Form 3. Soon after writing her Form 4 exams, her widowed mother moved the family to a new neighborhood, in search of affordable housing, and Tariro missed a year of school. Finally, we located her and learned that she had passed her Ordinary Level exams. reinstated her file, and paid for her to continue as an Advanced Level student.

We’re very proud of Tariro’s accomplishments, as well as those of her university-bound peers Politeness N. and Melody M. But we can’t help her proceed to university level study without your assistance! Please consider giving to Tariro today to help us cover the cost of sending our students to school!

Politeness N. goes to university!

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Politeness N. is one of the three Tariro students entering university

For the three Tariro students who have been accepted at the University of Zimbabwe, the excitement of beginning a new, and long dreamed of adventure is fast approaching. While the school year begins in January for most of Tariro’s students, Zimbabwe’s university calendar runs on a semester system, beginning in September. Your help is critical in enabling us to cover the tuition costs for our wonderful, university-bound students, including Politeness N.

Politeness

Among our university bound students, Politeness N. stands out for her incredible level of dedication and achievement. As our program coordinator Fadzie relates:

Politeness is very committed to giving back and has been a mentor to younger Tariro students. She is our strongest role model, and her positive attitude is very encouraging. Politeness is currently teaching Accounting at a local school, and has already started saving for college expenses. She is assertive, and her strong leadership qualities led to her being selected the school headgirl.

As an A Level student, Politeness attending the UMMA Institute, a boarding school in Marondera. As Fadzie observes:

Through Tariro funding, she attended boarding school, where most of the children came from “middle-class” families. She did not have many sets of uniforms, or extra food like other students. Yet she was not distracted by many of the challenges she faced. Politeness also received a partial scholarship from UMMA. This was the first and only scholarship UMMA has ever given to a student.

Politeness plans to attend the University of Zimbabwe, where she intends to study accounting or business studies.

As we approach the first day of university, we need your help to raise the donations necessary to pay the tuition for Politeness and her peers! Your donations to Tariro will make a huge difference in the lives of these three students, who have struggled against all odds to rise to the level of a university degree.
And once again, I will leave you with photos of Politeness throughout her years with Tariro.

Tariro student Politeness N (right) in 2008, with Tatenda C. (middle) and Pamela K (left)

Tariro student Politeness N (right) in 2008, with Tatenda C. (middle) and Pamela K (left)

Tariro student Politeness N. in 2008

Tariro student Politeness N. in 2009

Politeness today!

Politeness today!

Introducing our university students!!!

Melody M. is one of three Tariro students who will begin attending University this fall

Melody M. is one of three Tariro students who will begin attending University this fall

It’s been a quiet summer… but we’re still here! As we move toward the end of summer, it is time to introduce the three Tariro students who will be attending university this fall.
First among them is Melody M., who originally joined Tariro as an Ordinary or “O” level student in 2008. Melody lives with her aunt and uncle in a stable home. Melody has occasionally missed school to take care of her aunt, who has health challenges, yet she remains passionately focused on her schoolwork. After receiving a very high score on her “O” Level exams, Melody went on to Advanced, or “A” Level study, in preparation for attending college. Finally, that day has arrived!

Last year, Melody was one of five Tariro students to pass her “A” Level exams, receiving a score of 13 out of a possible 15 points. Melody’s score was not quite high enough for her to study her first choice of subject, which was law. However, she was accepted to the University of Zimbabwe for a degree in sociology. And as Tariro’s program coordinator, Tafadzwa “Fadzie” Muzhandu, writes:

I believe she will be able to do Law at a later stage if she remains focused. Melody is very cheerful and able to interact with people from diverse backgrounds.

During Melody’s time as a Tariro student, she has benefited immensely from our innovative programming, including opportunities to participate in mentoring programs through the United States Embassy, to explore career options by getting into scrubs at St. Anne’s Hospital, and to borrow books from our lending library. As Fadzie also observes:

She loves reading and has borrowed the most books from the Tariro Library.

Please join Tariro! Your help is critical to ensuring Melody’s success, so please donate now! We need your support in order to continue sponsoring Melody throughout the three years it will take her to complete a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Zimbabwe, as well as continuing to offer educational opportunities to other young girls. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Zimbabwe’s young women.

I will leave you with a few photos of Melody, so you can see how she has matured over her years with Tariro, growing into the lovely woman she is today.

Melody, one of Tariro's rising stars

Melody in 2008

Melody in 2009

Melody in 2009

Melody today

Melody today

 

A little treat…

I’d like to share a short video clip with you of Tariro’s students dancing mhande. While this video was taken way back in 2009, our traditional music and dance ensemble continues to thrive, and we sent two students to Japan this past year to participate in an international arts exchange. Tariro’s traditional music and dance group is just one of the many ways we are working toward empowering the young women and girls enrolled in our academic school sponsorship program.

Tariro Director contributes guest blog post at Susan B. Anthony Institute

This week, Tariro’s Executive Director Jennifer Kyker has contributed a guest post to the blog of the Susan B. Anthony Institute at the University of Rochester. Her post is comprised of remarks she recently gave to the student body at Mount Holyoke College, upon winning the Mary Lyon Award, given each year to a promising young alumna. Visit the SBAI blog and read her post!

O Level results are out!

Ashley M. is one of three students to pass her O Level exams in 2012

Ashley M. is one of three Tariro students who passed O Level exams in 2012 (photo courtesy of Tessa Munson)

Today, I’m pleased to share with you Tariro’s 2012 O Level results! Last year, we had six students write their O Level exams. Of these students, 3 passed five or more subjects, resulting in a pass rate of 50%. While slightly lower than last year’s pass rate, this is still an exceptional success.  In the first place, Zimbabwe’s national pass rate is an abysmal 18.4%. This means out students are passing at more than twice the rate of the national average. Yet our students have overcome odds much greater than many of their peers, making their accomplishments even more significant. Given that all five students who wrote their A Levels exams passed, Tariro’s overall pass rate for 2012 is an astounding 72%! We couldn’t be more proud of our students.

One of the students who passed her O Level exam last year is Ashley M, pictured at the beginning of this post. Almost four years ago, Ashley say down with Tariro’s former program coordinator, Nyasha, to tell us about the challenges in her life, as well as her dreams of passing her O Level exams. I will leave you with the opportunity to watch this short interview, with the knowledge that Ashley has been successful in accomplishing her dream. We look forward to staying involved in her life as she now moves on to even bigger dreams!

 

Five Tariro students pass A Level exams!

Tariro student Melody M scored 13 points out of 15 on her A Level exam!

Tariro student Melody M scored 13 points out of 15 on her A Level exam!

Every year at the end of January, Zimbabwean students nervously await their Ordinary and Advanced Level exam results, which are required to continue on to university level work, and are also requested by many employers and vocational training programs.

In 2012, Tariro had an unprecedented number of students write their Advanced, or “A” Level exams, with five students sitting for this important test. Late last week, I received a very exciting email from our program coordinator, Fadzie Muzhandu. All five of our students passed! With a pass rate of 100%, Tariro students are significantly exceeding the national pass rate, which stood at 82% this year, according to the Zimbabwean School Examinations Council, or ZIMSEC.

Students generally write three subjects for their A Level exams, and are graded on a scale of 5 possible points per subject, for a total of 15 possible points. According to ZIMSEC, passing the A Level exams is defined as receiving a score of at least 2 points out of 15. And of the five Tariro students who wrote the exam in 2012, Pamela K. and Natalie S. earned a total of 3 points each, putting them near the bottom of the passing range. We’re proud of their achievement, as even making it to A Levels represents a goal that many of our students never thought they would achieve.

But the news is even better than that! Scoring near the top of the range, our other three students came out of the exam with flying colors! Melody M., pictured above, earned 13 points on her exam! Joining her, Politeness N. likewise scored 13 points. And with a total of 11 points, Tariro K. wasn’t far behind.

For Melody, Politeness, and Tariro, attending university is now a very real option, and Fadzie is working actively with them, as she does with all of our O and A Level graduates, to help them find placement in tertiary level study.

Tariro’s dedication to seeing our students through university is one of the things that sets us apart from other organizations. Unlike programs that focus on elementary and secondary education alone, we want to see them go all the way through college!

As we see more and more girls rise to this level of achievement, though, we also experience a corresponding rise in our need for funding. Attending the University of Zimbabwe is only around $2,500 per year, a very reasonable price when compared to getting a college education in the United States. Yet we’ve never had so many girls attending university at one time before. We’d love your help in sending them all to university! Please join us in celebration by making a donation in support of their education, and by spreading the news about Tariro’s great work with Zimbabwean girls!

Video

An Interview with Fadzie Muzhandu

In this video, taken in October, Tariro’s program coordinator Fadzie Muzhandu speaks about our work with Dr. Jan Servaes, a professor at UMASS-Amherst, and the UNESCO Chair in Communication for Sustainable Social Change. Their conversation touches upon the many challenges Tariro faces in working with some of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable children, as well as the small yet tangible gains our students are making with your assistance.

As the year comes to a close, don’t forget to make a donation in support of our work. Our need for donations is especially critical at this time of year, as we draw closer to the beginning of the Zimbabwean school year in January.