In January 2014 four of the oldest Orphan Education Foundation (OEF) members in Mgeta – Bosco, Happy, Mary and Prisca – , got the opportunity to continue with their education outside of Mgeta, after completing secondary school. Now they are happily in their second and final year at Kibaha vocational school. This is in no way something which happens often for young people in Mgeta, and it is the result of a joint effort by many people.
First, the generous donation to cover school fees was given, and then time was spent searching for a suitable school and relevant courses. A good relationship with the school management was also sought to make sure they would help the students adapt to the new environment. But not least, it took a huge effort from the four students themselves. First and foremost completing Form 4 (the final level of secondary school available in Mgeta) is an achievement in its own right, and unfortunately many students do not manage that. I also remember how devastated they were after failing the entrance exam for the first vocational school they applied to, thinking their opportunity of further education had passed. Yet they didn’t give up and when they applied to Kibaha vocational college they got in.
Leaving Mgeta and everyone they know must have been quite daunting. When I visited the school they told me the beginning had been difficult, especially since students at the school tended to group together and speak their local languages. Now though they all know each other and get on well. The four of them have also grown quite close, finding extra support in each other.
Bosco and Prisca are studying Animal husbandry and agriculture while Happy and Mary are studying Tailoring and design. Speaking to their teachers we are happy to hear they are performing well and seem to be fitting in nicely at the school. The students themselves echo this. Although they are honest and say at times it is difficult, they seem to motivate each other to keep trying. A main focus of the school is on practical learning so much of their days are spent in the sewing room and out in the agricultural fields which is a great way for them to learn.
Already we have witnessed the benefits from their experience so far. During their school vacations when they are back in Mgeta they are eager to show and teach others what they have learnt. Happy and Mary have already tried the sewing machines from the sewing group in Mgeta, and we hope they will be able to join the group when they finish their studies. Also Bosco and Prisca now have much valuable information which can benefit both their own lives and the lives of fellow Mgeta residents.
We area also happy to announce that in January 2015 four more OEF members from Mgeta were able to start their two-year vocational education at Kibaha. With additional support of 5.000 NOK per year per student we could make sure four new students had the ability, and our aim is that we will be able to send a new group each year. This, though, all depends on the generosity of friends and donors. If you want to contribute to this work please go to («Ønser du å bidra») and read more about the recently established Education fund and how you can contribute.