The Greer Foundation recently announced their continued commitment to Unite by providing university/college scholarships for seven children from the St. Joseph's Orphanage, each of whom is now referred to as a “Greer Scholar.” These lucky Greer Scholars are studying Engineering, Tax & Customs, Education & Teaching, Wildlife Tourism Management, and Medicine & Surgery.
Why is this so important?
Tanzania is one of our world’s poorest countries (ranked 156 out of 174 in the UN’s Human Development Index) with 68% of the population living below the international poverty line earning $1.25 or less a day. Nearly half of Tanzania’s 51,000,000 population is age 14 or younger; more than half of all girls have given birth by age 19; and 70% of women are married by age 20.
The country’s formal education system comprises of two years of pre-primary, seven years of primary (Standards 1-7), four years of junior secondary (Forms 1-4), two years of senior secondary (“A-levels,” Forms 5 & 6), and three or more years of tertiary (university/college). However, attaining access to any amount of schooling continues to be a great challenge for the vast majority of Tanzanians. In fact, the average school life expectancy (primary to tertiary) remains just eight years.
Those who are lucky enough to enroll in and complete primary and secondary school and then go on to attend university know that theirs is an extraordinary, precious and rare privilege. The slogan “Education is liberation” can be seen painted on buildings, printed on T-shirts and heard chanted over and over again in classrooms and as one walks through towns and villages.
~Net enrollment in senior secondary school in Tanzania is just 1.9%
and less than ½ of 1% (.27%) go on to university/college.
The good news for the orphans of St. Joseph’s is that they have already overcome many of the core barriers to education that face most impoverished families across East Africa. Thanks to the remarkable dedication of Unite's partner St. Joseph’s founder & director Sister Crispina Mnate, these orphans have avoided the widespread challenges of gender bias, physical threats of violence and abuse, child labor, lack of access to quality schools, pregnancy (for the girls), lack of adequate nutrition and healthcare, and/or a safe home to which to live/return. While each of these children experienced some kind of early childhood trauma and/or loss, their lives at St. Joseph’s have been built upon a powerful foundation of faith, love and hope.
We are so thankful for this powerful partnership with The Greer Foundation. Over the years they have helped us complete the build out of the Heaven Pre & Primary School to provide a top-quality English-speaking education to the youngest orphans from St. Joseph's as well as more than 200 at-risk children from surrounding villages; install comprehensive rain-water harvesting systems to secure water; bring power to the St. Joseph's and Heaven campus; and send many of our oldest orphans to university. Today, their commitment continues to grow. Asante sana!