A Second Chance To Education

On the third and final part of the journey that brought us to discover the inspiring and powerful stories of young Tanzanian women that were socially and financially empowered through education, we meet Peace and Esther.  

Peace always wanted to be a traffic police officer. However, when Peace found out about her pregnancy, she had to drop out of school and she was met with rejection by her community and felt bad that everyone was talking behind her back. Despite this, she registered for the Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme at Katumba Folk Development College (FDC).  

The Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme was a three-year project implemented by our local partner Karibu Tanzania Organisation in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Tanzania and funded by the Mastercard Foundation. It was created so that young women that had dropped out of school for various reasons could resume their education 

Every citizen has a chance for self-development. This programme was introduced to give young women a chance to achieve their dreams — Osimunda Kilasi, Principal at Karumo FDC

Through the Elimu Haina Mwisho programme, Peace was able to follow practical courses such as computer and tailoring, and theoretical classes such as chemistry, biology, English, mathematics, Kiswahili, history and geography. As Ms Kilasi, the principal at Karumo FDC explained, the programme is structured as follows: 50% Secondary Education, 30% Vocational Training and 20% Life Skills. Moreover, the FDC helped Peace when she couldn’t stay with her daughter Blessing by having her child stay at the daycare in the FDC.  

Studying at the FDC gave Peace the feeling that she was gaining her reputation back and that she had been given a second chance in life. She knows people in her village are amazed that she resumed her studies, which made her feel empowered and gave her joy and pride. That is why she advises other young girls that had to drop out of school early, to join the programme and continue their education.  

Now, thanks to the social and financial education that she received during the Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme, Peace has opened her own second-hand clothing shop, which allows her to rent a room for herself and her child, and to be financially independent.  

(Young women) can still stand and rise again, because education has no limit — Peace Exavery

The Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme is an opportunity for young women who dropped out of school to take back control of their lives and study in order to follow their dreams and build the best possible future for themselves and their families. At the FDCs, young women explore different fields and have the opportunity to find the job they would like to pursue. In addition, they are taught Life Skills and social education, which provides them with the necessary tools to be confident in choosing a career path, and not being afraid to work towards it. The Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme empowered 1,200 young women. 

One outstanding example of this is the story of Esther. When she joined the Malya FDC to follow the Elimu Haina Mwisho programme, Esther was registered for the main secondary education courses. However, she showed her enterprising character when she decided to take masonry as an extra course, even though she was the only woman in it. 

I chose masonry because I loved it and I don't feel bad as a girl doing it — Esther Mwikwabe

Esther’s journey is an inspiring example for other young women that were in the same situation. She encourages them to start the course because “sometimes women undermine themselves, but young women can do any kind of job that men do.” 

Esther became really good at masonry while studying at Malya FDC, and when she returned home for the holidays, she asked for part-time jobs in this field. Initially, she was met with doubt by the employers over the fact that she was a girl, but she never lost her confidence and showed them that if given a chance to try, she would be able to do the work.  

After the break, Esther went back to the FDC and continued her studies. However, employers from her hometown kept calling her for masonry gigs. Whilst very proud of this, she didn’t accept small jobs, as her focus remained on her education to further improve her skills and knowledge.  

Now, Esther is conscious of her excellent masonry skills, and she knows she will work in this field after her studies. She was able to resume her education, find out about her passion, and acquire the necessary skills to pursue her career without thinking about the judgement of others.