Tariro is a grassroots non-profit organization working in Zimbabwe to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by educating young women and girls. Founded in 2003, Tariro is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, and in Zimbabwe as a trust.
Tariro’s work with Zimbabwean girls emphasizes the importance of women’s education as an effective response to the AIDS epidemic. Young women in communities affected HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe are in jeopardy of dropping out of school due to a lack of financial resources, putting them at high risk of contracting HIV. Education can reverse this negative cycle, since attending school dramatically reduces the risk that a young Zimbabwean women will become infected with HIV/AIDS. By educating young women, Tariro empowers them to build a future free from poverty and disease.
Tariro was founded in 2003 by two Mount Holyoke College alumnae, Memory Bandera and Jennifer Kyker, to address the particular needs of Zimbabwean teenaged girls. Young women are at highest risk for contracting HIV, yet many non-profits operating in Zimbabwe focus on younger children, leaving teenaged girls without the critical resources they need to obtain an education. In founding Tariro, Memory and Jennifer sought to redress this disparity by providing comprehensive educational support for teenaged girls, in order to enable them to finish a secondary school education.
Since it was founded, Tariro has expanded from a dozen students initially served by the organization to sixty students in 2009. All of our sponsored students have lost one or both parents to illness and poverty. They live with extended family members who serve as their guardians, keeping with traditional practices of caring for orphaned children in Zimbabwean communities. Students in need of sponsorship through Tariro are identified through consultation with community leaders including headmasters at local schools, church elders, and traditional leaders.
For each of our sponsored students, Tariro provides a comprehensive range of services which include: paying each student’s school fees; purchasing uniforms and supplies; making textbooks available through a lending library; providing academic support services such as tutoring; offering extra-curricular activities including an annual conference on HIV prevention.