New Student Organization Focuses on Education in Tanzania

One of the newest student organizations on campus aims to send young women in Tanzania to secondary school, while simultaneously promoting cultural awareness and educating the campus community about education and gender in Tanzania.  Established as an official U-M student organization in April 2010, AfricAid at U-M is a daughter organization of the national AfricAid organization, which supports dozens of schools in villages throughout Tanzania and has so far contributed over $1,000,000 towards the education of young Tanzanian women. 

“AfricAid club members at Michigan are part of a new special initiative, the Kisa project, which allows student organizations and community members to sponsor a female student through high school—a two-year, $1,000/year commitment,” explains Kelsey Hamrick, co-president of the club.  “With this scholarship, a girl will be able to complete her high school education and receive comprehensive weekly leadership training.  After graduating from high school, girls will go back to their communities to mentor at least ten other women and start social programs using a stipend included in the fellowship.”  Her co-president, Mia Kelly, adds, “The Kisa project has established an interactive online communication website, www.kisaproject.org, which provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange.  We began sponsoring our first student this year—a 21-year-old from Boma Ng’ombe, who hopes to someday be a lawyer.  We are all very excited to know her.”

AfricAid at U-M is also invested in teaching the U-M community about key issues in the areas of gender and education in Tanzania and other African countries.  The club’s inaugural educational event in March 2011 was “A Panel on Gender and Education in Tanzania,” which focused on the social, financial, and cultural challenges Tanzania faced in educating its youth.  A second event, on the theme of “The Ripple Effect: Educating Women and Empowering Communities,” is being planned for March 2012. 

If you would like to get involved in any of the club’s activities, please contact africaidpresidents@umich.edu or visit AfricAid.com.