Gladness, our education director, did an amazing job organizing the trip and served as one of the adult chaperones. She shares that about half of the Sasamani scholars did not earn high enough scores to participate in the trip. However, the trip showcased how motivated and committed Sasamani students are to their studies. Gladness mentioned that as a result of this trip, "This behavior of studying hard has been conditioned to them." Students who attended the trip were very happy to be able to enjoy a variety of activities like hiking, swimming, and tree lessons. For some students, this trip was the very first time they left the community of Bagamoyo.
Our education director shared, "Some of the students cried for joy and confessed that they didn't know how good it feels to sleep in a self-contained room with AC, swim in the swimming pool and even to see the animals like giraffes, zebras etc. They ate a lot of good food and finally they see the waterfalls and swim in the waterfalls pond." She also reflected on the lessons the trip has taught her, like how everyone is unique and we all have different experiences and expectations. Gladness also learned that students become motivated and inspired in academic settings as their worldview expands. A great take away of the trip was to respect and value each other's uniqueness because it is not easy to survive alone, for example, hiking taught students that they need one another.
Looking forward, the education initiative would like to take Sasamani scholars to other sites like the Amboni Caves in Tanga. School trips not only allow students from Bagamoyo to see the world around them and experience new things, but trips also foster community and build relationships. In the future, Gladness would like to bring all Sasamani scholars to school trips in the future if the funding allows.
In her interview, Franceine explains that her experience teaching in Bagamoyo taught her the importance of diversity and representation in education. Her internship experience was transformative in that it allowed her to see that being a scientist communicates to other black girls that it is possible for them to pursue STEM fields. Franceine believes in the importance of faculty diversity in higher education, especially at predominantly white institutions. Her college career has been shaped by supportive faculty and seeing women of color in academia who wanted to see her thrive and whom she can relate to.
Franceine's hard work and dedication in STEM has earned her acceptance to 3 Ph.D. programs. This fall she will be attending Stony Brook University where she will receive her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Structural Biology. Team Sasamani is extremely proud of Franceine and rooting for her every step of the way."
To read her full interview, click here.
Joyce is a mother of two who owns a tailoring shop in the community of Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Unfortunately, she could not always afford the necessary supplies to keep her business running. Then she joined Sasamani’s Employment Initiative.
Through this program, Joyce earns a fair wage for dignified jobs, including sewing bags for our Amani Collection and making uniforms for local school children. These extra earnings have allowed her to invest more in her tailoring business, and more importantly keep it running to support her family. In addition, she is now part of a cohort of Sasamani tailors who support one another and teach each other new techniques to enhance their skills.