At the end of 2020, we gave an update on alumnae from the first ever class of Kisa Scholars. We called them the Kisa Pioneers! AfricAid supporters found their accomplishments in the last ten years to be inspiring and loved seeing the young women’s sophisticated photos. That blog was such a hit that we decided to do it again to close out 2021!
In 2011, 75 girls joined the fledging Kisa Project at several secondary schools in Northern Tanzania. They put their faith in this two-year leadership program, believing that it would help set them on a path to achieve their potential. Since then, over 4,000 young women from 25 schools have graduated from Kisa, gaining the life changing benefits of the program.
Meet four of these dynamic women – all four say that Kisa gave them the confidence to live the life they are living today.
Where are they now? Kisa Class of 2011-13
Jackline Joshua Kitangalala
Edmund Rice Secondary School
St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Mwanza (BA in Sociology), 2016
Fashion Entrepreneur, Dar es Salaam
I am self-employed and have a passion for fashion and design. In 2017, I opened a shop where I sell ready to wear clothes, bags, and other accessories in African prints (kitenge, batik, and kanga). I also sell home décor such as pillow covers and storage ottomans in these same fabrics.
Since graduating from Kisa, I have become more confident, ambitious, and daring. Through Kisa, I met so many girls who inspired me in so many ways. The Mentors that I had through Kisa were my role models and I wished to be like them. They made me believe that I could accomplish whatever I wished in life.
From Kisa, I got an idea of starting something that would be beneficial to both me and my society. I started a tire recycling project where I turned old tires into beautiful African print ottomans for people’s homes. This was an example of the win-win solutions we learned about in the program – I preserved the environment, earned money, and also provided employment to others.
To a young girl who is considering joining Kisa, I assure you that you won’t regret the decision. Kisa will change your mindset, your thinking, and it will make you grow into a more productive and responsible woman in your community.
Arusha Secondary School
University Dar es Salaam (BS in Actuarial Science), 2016
Digital Product Development Manager, Vodacom Tanzania, Dar es Salaam
Kisa improved my confidence and expanded my knowledge about gender diversity and empowerment. It offered me a platform to exercise a leadership role, thereby sharpening my leadership skills. It expanded my problem-solving abilities.
Being part of the program accelerated my interest in working and volunteering in my community. I established a youth charitable group called Friend of Friends, which focuses on cultivating a spirit of volunteerism amount Tanzanian youth. They can be part of the solution to their communities’ challenges! For my outreach, I was recognized with the Best Volunteer Award by the Vodacom Group CEO in 2019 and was among the 100 Tanzania Sheroes in 2020.
Dear girl child, the sky is the limit! Be bold and don’t wait for opportunities to come your way. Go out there, keep pushing, and make your own opportunities. Start now, don’t wait for tomorrow. Kisa is the right platform for nurturing all the skills you need.
Laura Sylvester Matunda
Edmund Rice Secondary School
Anhui Medical University (MD), 2021
Physician, St. Francis Hospital, Dar es Salaam
Kisa gave me self-confidence and made me eager to have a career where I could help other women. It made me believe in my goals and nurtured an innovative mindset which will last forever.
All I can say about joining Kisa is DO IT! Regrets are far worse than failures, but with Kisa there are none. You will find exposure to all different sorts of women through events like your Year One Presentation, the 2 Day Challenge, Career Day, and Health Symposiums. The Mentors and your fellow Kisa Scholars form a community to help you along.
Arusha Secondary School
Institute of Finance Management (BS in Accounts and Finance), 2016
Fashion and Food Cart Entrepreneur, Washington DC
Product development and marketing comes naturally to me. However, the skills I gained from Kisa rounded me out and made me able to actually start and grow multiple businesses. These include budgeting, planning, and public speaking. My Kisa Mentors, Devotha and Anande encouraged me, which built my confidence.
My main areas of interest are fashion and nutrition and I sought out additional courses in order to succeed in these areas. I now create and sell my own clothing designs including skirts, tops, maxi dresses, and purses, as well as African style home accessories. My “Porridge Point” cart is still going strong in Tanzania and I am looking into franchising the concept here in the US.
To future Kisa Scholars I say: everything is possible when you stay focused!
Mai has stayed in close contact with GLAMI and AfricAid as a valued guest speaker.
AfricAid works to improve the standing of women in society through robust, locally-led mentorship initiatives that cultivate confidence, improve academic and health outcomes, and promote socially-responsible leadership skills. In close partnership with our sister organization, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), we support mentorship opportunities that help secondary school girls in Tanzania complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities.
Kisa Project is a two-year leadership course that prepares girls in their last two years of secondary school to attend university and create positive social change in their communities.