Our Stories

Msomi scholarships support families earning less than $31 a month in Tanzania

When 15-year old Ezra’s parents separated, his elderly grandparents became his caregivers. Despite Ezra love for learning and school, his grandfather tried to persuade him to fail his Grade 7 Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) because they did not have enough money for him to go on to secondary school.

Many parents and caregivers face the same predicament as Ezra’s grandfather, and encourage their children to leave school to work and support the family. The cost of uniforms, books, transport, and mandatory contributions to school feeding programs, makes secondary education beyond the reach of many families.

A recent household assessment of So They Can’s Msomi Secondary Scholars showed that:

91% of parents/guardians earn less than AUD $31 a month
93% of parents/guardians are responsible for 4-10 dependents
73% live in a basic 3-room home
59% of families only eat 1 or 2 meals a day
41% of children walk more than 5 km one-way to school

​​So They Can’s annual Msomi Scholarship, provided over 3-5 years, covers the costs of academic materials like books, pencils, uniforms, shoes, school lunches, washable sanitary products for girls and boarding accommodation when necessary. It is a measure that addresses students’ immediate educational needs and it is implemented alongside our other Education and Community Development projects that support parents’ long-term economic empowerment through improved livelihoods to increase household income. Now, as a Msomi Scholar, Ezra’s dreams are coming true:

‘I am in my first year at Gallapo Secondary School. In the recent term exam my score put me in Division 1.  I want to become a doctor’.

Reginald is also a Msomi Scholar with a promising future. ‘My dream is to become a teacher, to liberate my community from ignorance and poverty through education.’  Reginald is from a local pastoralist family and his mum lives with a disability. With So They Can’s support, he has been attending Endakiso Secondary School since 2021 — his parents have been contributing to his boarding fees so that he can live near his school.

 I am thankful that my parents support and encourage me to fulfil my dreams. We didn’t have electricity or light at home, so I couldn’t study at night. Now, I live near my school with my classmates, and we study together in the evenings. My results have improved. After my recent midterm exam result I moved from Division II to Division I.

So They Can supports 27 Msomi Secondary School Scholars (52% girls) in Tanzania.


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