The Mission of Nurturing Minds is to provide financial and technical support to improve access to quality education and life skills for girls in Tanzania, with a particular emphasis on girls who are poor, marginalized, and at-risk of becoming involved in exploitative forms of child labor. Currently, Nurturing Minds achieves this through the development and support of the SEGA Girls School.
The purpose of the SEGA Girls Secondary School is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable Tanzanian girls. The majority of SEGA Students were forced to drop-out of school due to extreme poverty, or were deemed at high risk of dropping out, but are bright and motivated. They have been selected from over 20 different communities from throughout the country, half of the girls are orphans and all come from families who are too poor to pay the school fees necessary for them to enter secondary school. Due to their inability to pay for school many girls are forced to become child laborers, “house girls” or sell ice cream or fruit in the market to help support their family’s income. Thanks to SEGA these girls are now able to continue their studies. SEGA also provides girls with a single gender education, the benefits of which have been well documented and show girls’ academic performance, class participation and self-esteem all improve tremendously in this environment. In addition, girls with a secondary education have half as many children and earn four times more income than girls with a primary education alone.
The school uses a holistic approach including an academic program that follows the required Tanzanian government curriculum; entrepreneurship skills development; and a comprehensive personal development, life skills and leadership program called “Education for Life”, specially designed to address the needs of economically disadvantaged girls. Part of the Education for Life program addresses sexual reproductive health, HIV AIDs awareness and family planning. This program is designed to help girls avoid early pregnancy and early marriage, which are two of the main reasons that poor girls drop out of school. The school also emphasizes environmental stewardship and is run completely on solar power, has a rainwater catchment system, organic gardens and an anti-ivory club. Having a strong, holistic education will help girls escape exploitation and have the communication and leadership skills to stand up for themselves. SEGA aims to empower girls and give them the skills they need to become self-sufficient and break the cycle of poverty. Overtime, SEGA’s goal is to improve education standards in Tanzania by becoming a model center for excellence for teaching, learning and leadership development. SEGA was recently recognized as an Ashoka Changemaker School, which recognizes the quality of our programs and positive outcomes for our students.
· Academic Program: SEGA follows the Tanzanian national curriculum providing “ordinary level secondary education” from Form I-Form IV
· Entrepreneurship Program: Students learn business planning and management skills through running their own on-campus business (a canteen and shop) and participating in school profit-making units such as poultry, feed production and hospitality.
· Environmental Stewardship: Students learn organic gardening which is useful not only for future food security but also helps sustain the students: most of the school’s produce needs are met through the gardening program. The school is run completely on solar power and has a rainwater catchment system. In addition, through on-campus clubs like the “Environment and Science Club” and the “Anti-elephant Ivory Club” the students are learning about conservation and pollution.
· Education for Life Program: Students develop self-awareness, communication and leadership skills through individual counseling, classroom based learning in sexual reproductive health and community outreach activities. The diagram below depicts the program’s main elements. One key component of the Education for Life Program is career counseling, to prepare students for transition from secondary school to either continued education, employment or self-employment through business.
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