Binti Shupavu is about learning, enjoying, and making friends. It is a creative program that is a great support for young girls in lower secondary school (Form One to Form Four) in Tanzania. These after school sessions shape young girls who need to complete their education and achieve their goals to be proactive, confident and know their values. In this way, they better their entire communities.
Another way of describing Binti Shupavu is a group of friends that come together with a purpose and a participant enjoys it to the fullest while she learns become a “courageous daughter.” University educated Mentors teach skills that make girls resilient, strong, capable, imaginative, and happy. Scholars enjoy being in the Binti Shupavu program for a variety of reasons. For this blog I have interviewed some of our Scholars and asked them what they like most about Binti Shupavu.
Silvia, a Year Four Scholar from TPC Secondary School (a school outside Moshi associated with TPC Sugar Company) said “Binti Shupavu changed my life, as before joining the program I did not have the courage to speak in front of people, but right now I have that courage of giving out my views. Also, now I can manage my time properly and I became proactive and responsible with my own actions.”
Different lessons from Binti Shupavu make Scholars enjoy the program as they teach things that are happening in their lives and are relevant to their circumstances. Two topical areas of discussion which are popular sessions include study skills for upcoming exams and body changes as young girls enter puberty.
Angela, a Year One Scholar from Mbokomu said “the lesson I enjoyed the most in Binti Shupavu was identifying body changes and puberty because I was able to understand body changes in both boys and girls. That made me feel normal and comfortable when I face changes in my own body.” She also explained that she sees herself one step ahead as she knows how to face challenges both inside and outside of school.
Learning through watching videos, drawing, different games, and assignments makes Scholars engaged and look forward to their weekly Binti session. A Year Two Scholar from Mabogini said “what I enjoy the most in the Binti Shupavu program is doing practical assignments that make me more creative and I also enjoy watching videos as part of learning in the classes.” Binti Shupavu introduces Scholars to creative ideas where they can “think out of the box,” which is not often seen in the mainstream Tanzanian secondary school curriculum. The girls are given opportunities to reflect on their inner world. For instance, the session about creating their own “Dream Trees” (an assignment from Year 1) is one that is enjoyed by many students. (To learn more about the Binti Shupavu Curriculum and see some photos of Dream Trees, click here.)
Mentors are like mirrors to their Scholars and when successful relationships have been formed, they admire them and wish to be like them. Melania a Year Three Scholar from TPC School said “what I like the most in the Binti Shupavu program are the Mentors. They are knowledgeable and confident. I also enjoy the way they deliver the lessons. They treat us as friends and sisters. They advise us and give us hope that we can do something better for our life. For sure Binti Shupavu is the best program ever, and I never regret joining this program.”
For me, the success of the program and what I really like about it is that it is a two-sided coin. While Mentors and Scholars can learn practical things for our lives, we enjoy ourselves too. The lessons, activities and experiences are fun and interesting and that is why they stay in our minds. As a teacher I know you learn well if you are having fun.