Since 2009, The School Fund has been supporting students in Iringa, Tanzania. TSF’s relationship with Iringa began when our Founder & President Matt Severson visited the area on a volunteer trip. There, he became familiar with Lugalo Secondary School, a government school with many under resourced students, who, while academically bright, were unable to pay their school fees. After launching TSF, Matt developed a partnership with the school to help support students there. TSF’s support in Iringa has expanded to support 33 students at three additional secondary schools including Ummu Salama, Miyomboni, and Highland Secondary School. TSF TZ, managed by Judy Severson, seeks out students at the top of their class, who are unable to pay their school fees and provides them with financial support as well as computer fluency tutorials.
TSF is fortunate to be supported by an Advisory Board in Iringa comprised of established stakeholders in the community and lead by Chairman Fuad Jaffar, a major industrial leader in the region and owner of Asas Dairies Ltd.
Last month, on April 11, 2014, Fuad convened a TSF TZ Iringa Advisory Meeting at the Ummu Salama Secondary School. Below are minutes from the meeting:
- OPENING THE MEETING
- PARENTS RESPONSIBILITIES FOR TSF SPONSORED STUDENTS
- TSF US TRIP TO IRINGA
- STUDENTS/TEACHERS WORKSHOP
- SELECTION OF NEW STUDENTS FOR TSF 2015 SPONSORSHIP
- CLOSE OF BUSINESS
The meeting was opened officially by Mama Swai the Headmistress of Miyomboni Secondary School. She welcomed all parents and informed them all about TSF. The chairman welcomed all members allowing each member in attendance to introduce themself.
After introductions, the chairman asked Mr. Amos Maroa, [the TSF TZ Iringa Representative and the Director of the MMM Center], to state the agenda for the meeting. Mr. Amos informed all the members present that there would be two sessions. The first session involves parents and the TSF Iringa Advisory Committee members and the second session would only involve the TSF Iringa Advisory Committee members.
The chairman informed the members present that the meeting was aimed at uniting all parents and people with TSF TZ responsibilities. He requested that Mr. Amos make sure that there was a clear record of parents, who attended and all those who did not attend should give reasons for their absence during the next meeting.
He also commented on Mama Swai’s opening speech that there should be transparency in everything that is done by TSF. Parents should receive clear information from schools that their children are studying.
Parents were informed by the chairman that they should be ready to help their children improve their academic performance including by visiting their children’s schools to get their children’s academic reports. He also emphasized that all parents should unite to develop the students sponsored by TSF. He requested that there be an Iringa TSF Parent Committee to meet and discuss how to help their children’s careers. The chairman requested that each school appoint one parent, who will then represent all parents during Iringa Advisory Committee meetings.
Mr. Amos was requested to explain to the parents what was expected of them by TSF. Mr. Amos explained in detail all activities carried out by TSF TZ including payment of school fees, school supplies, uniforms, and food. Mr. Amos also explained to the parents all that is done at the MMM Center at Ummu Salama [where students are provided English language lessons and computer fluency tutorials]. It was realized that most parents didn’t know what their children do at the MMM Center, but after the information, they promised to remind their children not to miss any day at the MMM Center. Mr. Amos will make sure that parents receive a form with written conditions for students to maintain their TSF sponsorships.
The Headmistress of Miyomboni S.S. encouraged all parents to value the help they’re getting from TSF. She also encouraged parents to support their children including insisting that they work hard and attend the MMM Center.
Mr. Abdul Madauda, the TSF representative from Highlands S.S thanked the TSF TZ leadership for everything they are doing. He encouraged parents to keep up communication between parents and teachers and between teachers and students. He insisted that there be a strong link between parents, teachers, and students. In addition, Mr. Abdul encouraged parents to occasionally visit the schools where their children are studying.
Mr. Abdul Nchahaga, Deputy Headmaster at Ummusalama Secondary School, requested that there should be a close communication between parents and TSF leadership. He mentioned an incident concerning a TSF TZ sponsored student named Innocent, who was very sick but the parent had not informed TSF TZ leadership. He requested that parents communicate with TSF TZ so that any issues affecting a TSF TZ sponsored student’s academic performance could be tackled in a timely manner.
Before the chairman welcomed comments and questions, he requested that all parents should follow up with their children’s schools and also that they should know where MMM Center is and what their children do there.
A parent wanted to know why TSF TZ Iringa students stopped learning different subjects at the MMM Center. The chairman responded by informing all parents that students do not learn different subjects at MMM Center because the program was interfering with students’ remedial classes especially the candidate classes [those preparing for Form Two and Form Four exams]. This issue was discussed by the Iringa Advisory Committee last year, who resolved that students should only attend the MMM Center to update their journals on Fridays for Form Ones and Form Threes and Saturdays 3:00pm to 5:30pm for Form Twos and Form Fours.
The chairman closed the meeting by asking one parent whether she knows what students gain from TSF. The parent clearly stated each and everything that TSF does for students in Iringa.