We are home from a wonderful and successful trip to Tanzania. We visited with our Project Manager, Ayubu Gadiye, the Serengeti Scholars, the Women’s Business Start Ups, and the Scholars’ parents. Each day of meetings was exciting compared to our last visit, when the Serengeti Scholars Project was first starting, 18 months ago. What has changed? There is an easiness, a sense of security, and pride in the lives of these 50 students and families that did not exist when we first met. Even more remarkable is the academic success of the Scholars, who have worked against all odds to get grades they never had achieved before. We are the demanding ones. We are the ones who listen to heartbreaking stories, each more wrenching than the one told before it. For every terrible story of of lives in dire situations, resulting in bad grades – there was another student with the same living situations, whose GPA was straight A’s. Entrance into the Serengeti Scholars Project looks first at Grade Point Average, and then family circumstance. When this Project was just a blink on our radar, we thought, “How would it be to pick really smart kids in Government Schools, and give them an opportunity to change their lives?” It (almost) makes no sense. Especially in Government Schools where the teacher ratio to pupil is 80-100 students to one teacher. It was the Wild West. Even the name Scholar makes no sense. Who would go to the poorest places on the face of the Earth, and find kids we could lift out of poverty? Who would expect to find Scholars in these Villages that God seemed to forget? We did. And it’s working. Just because there is not a school, and we have students in 16 schools, does not mean that we have not become a family. And I, who get to see these wonderful Scholars once a year, do not have a day go by that I am not thinking of the kids, and their families, and the potential we have for greatness. For every challenge, there is an answer. For every day wondering where our fees will come from, there is faith. Our sponsors and donors have made a miracle come true. You can be part of this miracle, too. If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in people’s lives for the better, please visit our Donate Page.
Written by Barbara Poole, Founder