Tariro welcomes program coordinator Tafadzwa Muzhandu to the United States!

On October 7th, Tariro’s program coordinator, Tafadzwa Muzhandu, or “Fadzie,” arrived in Boston for a month-long visit to the United States. With funding from the Mellon Foundation, Fadzie’s trip was organized by Dr. Holly Hanson, a professor of Ugandan history at Mount Holyoke College. Fadzie has spent the last two weeks at Mount Holyoke as an “embedded practitioner” in grassroots development.  During her visit, she has been visiting classes to speak to students about Tariro’s work, as well as meeting with development scholars to think through issues of post-secondary education for girls enrolled in Tariro’s programs.  In addition, she has been discussing the potential to create opportunities for Mount Holyoke students to intern with Tariro on an ongoing basis.

A bit about Fadzie…

After graduating from Mount Holyoke in 2005, Fadzie was inspired to journey to Nepal, the home of her college roommate, where she volunteered in rural libraries for several months before resettling in Zimbabwe.  Shortly after her return, she began working for Tariro as our first full-time employee.  Fadzie’s presence marked an important shift in the growth of our organization, enabling us to administer educational sponsorship for greater numbers of students, in addition to working more intensively with the girls enrolled in our program, producing better outcomes among our students.

In 2007, Fadzie left Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom, where she completed a Masters degree in development at the University of Reading.  After returning to Zimbabwe, she worked for several months for a large development organization.  Tariro was absolutely thrilled when Fadzie told us that she felt our small-scale approach to transforming girls’ lives was more effective than the work being conducted by many bigger organizations, and expressed a desire to resume her work with us as program coordinator.  We invited her back immediately, and she’s been with us ever since.

Creating bridges between Zimbabwe and the US

With Tariro’s focus on educating girls, Mount Holyoke College is a natural ally for us in the United States. We’ve already hosted one Mount Holyoke student who traveled to Zimbabwe this past year to conduct research on sexual health education for teenaged girls in Zimbabwe as part of a senior thesis, with funding from Mount Holyoke’s history department.  We’re happy to have the chance to strengthen our relationship with the college through Fadzie’s visit!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting many new stories and photos that Fadzie has shared with us.  Stay tuned!

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