Tanzania - The story of Grace and the path to a better future for girls

14 June 2018

(ANS - Dodoma) - Grace is a young 21-year-old Tanzanian woman. Daughter of farmers, born in a large family, she would wake up every day at three in the morning to prepare simple dishes to sell in a kiosk along the street and for this reason she could not complete her high school education.

After a meeting with a nun she decided to enroll in an electro-technical course at a Salesian vocational training school. "When I resumed my studies in 2016, I felt happy again - says Grace -. Every day I learned something new and I also did a two-month internship in a company. Not everything was easy there: there were linguistic difficulties and I was also the only girl. Sometimes I did not feel comfortable, but I wanted to insist, continue. Many people think that only boys can become electricians. But I was happy to disappoint them: my tutor told me I'm the best in my class! And this encourages me to make my dream come true."

Grace's story illustrates how important Tanzania schools are for gender equality. Originally designed to provide training only for boys, Tanzanian vocational schools now count girls at 38% of the student population, while in 2015 they were only 11%!

Salesian vocational schools in Tanzania opening to girls is necessary for many reasons: for reasons of social justice, to avoid early marriages, to support the growth and development of the country, which requires a greater number of qualified people, and because to educate "a girl means educating an entire society", as a Tanzanian motto says.

Yet, this change is not so easy to achieve, especially in the context of Vocational Training, often considered a male stronghold. In Tanzania, change did not come by itself. Salesian schools have organized a series of actions to encourage girls to enroll in technical and vocational schools. The "Binti Thamani" campaign (literally "precious girl") made pupils, teachers and parents aware of equal opportunities for boys and girls in education, technical training and work.

Many of them did not know that they could attend vocational training courses. The campaign has reached 3,000 girls and still bears fruit today: the number of girls from Salesian schools continues to grow steadily year after year.

VIA Don Bosco


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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