Table Magazine, Fall 2021

A Place for Dreams and Dreamers

In rural Tanzania, a school becomes a sanctuary

In many places around the globe, the equity and assistance needed to enable young women to achieve their educational goals seems unattainable. But in Kitenga, Tanzania, a different story is unfolding.

It is in Kitenga that the Girls Education Collaborative (GEC) has partnered with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (IHSA) to open a secondary school for the young women of the community. Originally obtaining the land for the proposed school in 1986, the project languished for more than three decades without the necessary infrastructure to support it. Kitenga is a remote place. For many of its residents, daily life is filled with challenges such as a lack of running water and electricity. This scarcity of resources has made access to essentials like healthcare and education difficult.

That changed in 2017. With the support of the Rich Family Foundation and many others, Kitenga Secondary School for Girls finally opened its doors. Now, four years later, the school continues to flourish, successfully addressing the obstacles these young women face. 

GEC founder, Anne Wadsworth, knows full well just how important it is to engage young women around the globe and give them a foundation for success. According to UN Women, a United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality, women make up approximately two-thirds of the illiterate population worldwide. What’s more, in rural areas like Kitenga, only 39 percent of girls will attend secondary school. But though the challenges are considerable, so too is the reward. 

“When you educate a girl…you have this incredible ripple effect of breaking the chains of generational poverty. You also have more women emerging into positions of leadership. And when that girl becomes a woman, her children will be healthier and better-educated,” says Wadsworth. 

The Kitenga Secondary School for Girls is an example of the transformational power of girls’ education. In 2020, owing to the aid provided by the GEC and its donors, the school saw its first graduating class. And while challenges remain a reality, the school continues to welcome new dreamers—providing them with the education that will transform them into the leaders of tomorrow.

To hear more about these young women’s dreams, watch Sugar in the Tea: