Back to School

January 24, 2014 11:14 pm Published by

January is a special month all across Tanzania- schools open for the year, students, some for the first time, dress in red, blue, green,  yellow, orange, or white uniforms with polished black shoes and head off to their first day. Textbooks are assigned, though paper-back, are covered by students in newspaper or paper-bags and doodled on just  as they are in the states. Parents, at least those who can afford it, send their children off to school with new clothes, new supplies, and a bit of pride (and maybe a tear!) just as mothers and fathers across America do.

On Monday we opened school for the year at JBFC’s Joseph and Mary Schools. As JBFC administrators, Chris, Melinda, and I all got to spend a moment as proud parents as we sent the JBFC girls, gleaming in their uniforms and sporting new back-packs, off to their first day of school. This is a special moment for students and parents alike- my mother still (jokingly) sends me messages saying “I hope you get the teacher you wanted!” (she did this on Monday).

This year it hit hard. It is one of those moments that JBFC’s impact on our girls is most noticeable. If
it wasn’t for JBFC, these girls would never get to experience this day- the excitement of a new teacher, their own notebook, and the hope for the future that comes with education. I hope, and am confident, that the JBFC girls will remember this day in the future as something a bit special.

We ended last year on an exciting note. In Tanzania, 4th graders, 7th graders, and Form 2 students (9th grade), all take national standardized tests to determine if they are eligible to move on to the next grade.  Passing is not a guarantee- in fact, in most of Tanzania, the majority of students fail. At Joseph and Mary, 100% of our students (many of them JBFC residential girls) passed in 4th grade, 7th grade, and Form 2, an amazing feat. Proud we are.

 This year brings plenty of excitement of its own. Those amazing Form 2 students have now moved on and become our first ever form three class and are well on their way to graduating. Last year’s 7th graders have now moved on to form one, becoming our newest batch of high-schoolers.

Eight adorable children have come to school for the very first time as pre-schoolers (pictured napping, all except for Esther). After two weeks of intensive professional development, our teachers (some new, some old), are more prepared and eager than ever to train the next generation of leaders.

 We are confident that come December, as we close another year at Joseph and Mary, we will have many more exciting announcements in our fight to provide and improve education in the places where education is needed the most.

Blogger Seth Diemond is JBFC’s Campus Director.

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This post was written by Mainsprings