Response to our donations.
4 March 2014
Dear Friends at St. Catherine’s Newman Center,
Greetings from Emusoi. I am writing to thank you for the donations for Emusoi which you sent in January. They are very appreciated. January was a busy month with all our students returning to secondary school and the new students beginning school. As everyone was finally going off to school, we welcomed 43 new pre-secondary girls. They have been working hard this month of February and getting used to the new environment.
In January, these girls were taught by 3 groups of Australian volunteers who were with us for 3-4 days at a time. These new girls don’t begin classes until the end of January and meanwhile they are just around because we are so busy with the older students. But these volunteers keep them busy and begin rudimentary English with them, play games, do art work and other activities with them. It is a great way for these students to widen their horizons and begin to learn about the world outside of their own remote home villages.
Then in mid-February, we had our annual visit from the students from the Yew Chung International Schools from China. Each year a group of about 30 students come to visit Tanzania on a study tour. Emusoi is always on their itinerary and they come and spend a few hours with us. The students interact and share cultures, dance together and play together. I am always amazed how well they communicate even with our girls hardly knowing English and the students not knowing any Swahili! We all had a wonderful time and look forward to next year.
After the new students settled in, the results of last year’s Form IV national exams were released. Our students’ results were much better than last year. We have 23 girls out of 83 who have qualified for further studies. We now await their selections into various government secondary schools. We are hoping that 4 of these girls will be able to continue with their scholarships as they go to advanced level studies. We are also asking 3 girls who passed well in all the science subjects to apply for technical school. The government is encouraging girls to join technical studies and even offers sponsorship to them. We have a few good prospects for those studies.
Some of the other students have probably qualified to apply for teacher training but this year the making system for the exams were changed and we are not yet sure of the qualifying marks for these studies. Hopefully, we will have a few who can apply for teaching. Unfortunately, we are unable to help the girls who have failed completely or have a very minimum pass. If we had funds some could be trained as nursery school teachers and others even study accounts. But unfortunately, these studies are quite expensive and we can only help girls who qualify for government-sponsored studies which are subsidized.
We also have a few girls with us who finished Form IV last year and had trouble at home while they were waiting for the exam results. One actually ran away from home as she was told that she was to be married in a few days. We have a volunteer teacher, Marcia, with us for 2 weeks and she is working with them on English. Most of them attended government secondary schools so there was not much emphasis on English. They are happy to get this chance and they are also being taught computer by Sr. Jareen.
We thank you so much for your generosity and for remembering us. A few of our new students are sponsored, but most are not. We have a few girls whom we accepted as special cases and we knew they need extra help. One girl has had a brain operation when she was in primary school and she lost a lot of school. Her father is quite concerned about her, but he has no means to send her to school. She can’t do heavy work and is on medication. Her father knows if she gets an education, she will get a profession and be able to take care of herself in the future. Another girl only went to Grade 3 and then she was married off. She ran away from her husband and begged her brother to help her go to school. She is not quite literate at the moment, but she is determined to learn. She will probably not be able to go to secondary school in the future, but she can join vocational school. Your donations are helping these young women to get a chance for a better life than that of their parents. They thank you and I thank you.
You are all remembered in our prayers everyday. Please pray for us.
Sr. Mary Vertucci