Nothing can stop a creative mind – absolutely nothing – not even the coronavirus.
(Note that students in Tanzania returned to school on Monday, June 29, 2020.)
Kisa Scholars at each of GLAMI’s 25 Partner Schools for the leadership program demonstrate tremendous creativity. The girls’ excitement for learning new concepts and sharing it with others at their schools make the Kisa Mentors’ jobs very gratifying. Each individual classroom seems to set its own tone which guides their Kisa sessions. It is not surprising that when the Scholars sheltered at home due to the pandemic, their creativity did not subside. If anything, they were more innovative and resourceful than ever before.
At Arusha Girls’ High School, Year One Kisa Scholars set the tone for their Kisa Class days by creating a motto: “Girls bright future for a brighter generation.” This leads them as a unified group, keeping them cheerful and their spirits high. They believe it has been a driver for them to be creative during Kisa class and to be role models outside of class. Not only does it stand for their own bright futures, but also for the future of all others.
A perfect example of the creativity of this particular class of Kisa Scholars is their Kisa magazine, called “Kisa News.” They came up with this clever idea in order to share the useful things they are learning in Kisa with the non-Kisa students at their school and to keep a record for themselves of the different activities that happen during Kisa class. The magazine includes fun and interesting Kisa lessons, games, stories, and other updates. It is an opportunity for the girls to pour out their talents such as drawing, poems, songs, and comedy.
A recent issue included:
- Kisa Social News
- Kisa Talent: Songs and Poems
- On Trend – The Big Story
- Lesson on Status Quo
- Kisa Girls’ Views
- True Story about Fataki (i.e. a “Sugar Daddy” who promises money and gifts in exchange for sex)
While three Scholars were selected by fellow classmates to be the main journalists and produce the monthly news magazine, all the Scholars contribute to its success. The magazine is something that this class (and their Mentor) is very proud of and it also serves as an excellent recruiting tool for the Kisa Project within their school.
In the times of COVID-19, we were together in spirit, yet physically so far apart from each other. Every Kisa Mentor missed her Scholars and the Scholars likewise missed the camaraderie of creating new memories in their after-school class. The Mentors were happy to be in touch by phone with their Scholars and hear how they continued to be creative at home. They were even happier when they received photos and videos from their Scholars. “Pastor T. D. Jakes (author and filmmaker) has a saying about creative experiences not requiring transportation, or even leaving your location. This saying has been so true right now as our Kisa Scholars continued to show their creativity while staying safe at home,” says Einoth Justine.
One Kisa Scholar’s parent shared how impressed she is by the growth of her daughter and how she made an appreciable contribution to the family at this stressful time. Anna decided to establish a small garden at home and used her creativity to make sure that the area was not wasted. There was previously a problem with the land as cows grazed there, but Anna put trees and thorns to protect her garden from being trampled by the cows. She watered it every morning and evening if it hadn’t rained.
Anna’s mom says, “I have never known that my daughter could hold a hoe, but I am even more surprised to see her decide by herself to make a garden on a piece of land we have left uncultivated for almost ten years. I am really flabbergasted. We are so happy and have started eating some greens from the garden.”
Another Scholar, Zena, who studies with Anna cultivated a garden at her home too. Zena also planted trees, including guava, mango, and pawpaw, for the fruits, as well as to block the wind.
Both Scholars say they got the idea from their 2 Day Challenge project they did right before schools were closed due to the pandemic and they decided to bring this knowledge home with them. It has been an economical way to provide health benefits to their families as vegetables are now available with all their meals at no cost at all.
The ingenuity that the Kisa Scholars have shown both at school and at home during the coronavirus pandemic is proof that nothing can stop a creative mind! They are an enterprising group of young women and the Kisa lessons have helped them to hone their skills.
Einoth Justine was hired by AfricAid TZ (now Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative, or GLAMI) in July, 2018 as a Kisa Mentor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, project planning, and management from Mzumbe University. Einoth is one of GLAMI’s strongest writers, and often helps her colleagues edit their blogs and reports. She promotes youth literacy in Tanzania through a program she founded called “Help Them Write.” Get to know Einoth.