How one of AfricAid’s Kisa Mentors is building a tradition of reading and writing.
Einoth Justine joined the staff of AfricAid as a Kisa Mentor in July, 2018, bringing with her a passion for reading and writing. It is not uncommon for Kisa and Binti Shupavu Mentors to have started their own businesses and organizations. These are an outlet for their interests and help them continue to serve their communities and build practical experience. “Passion projects” add to their strengths as role models and enable them to pass on enhanced knowledge and skills to their Scholars. Esther Piniel, who has been with the Kisa Project since its inception in 2010, introduces Einoth (pronounced A-Not), and explains how her newer colleague spends her free time.
Einoth appreciates her job at AfricAid as it is a place to grow her leadership skills and impact both individuals and communities. You’ll see why her Scholars find her inspiring and wish to be like her!
“Even though Einoth is not a Kisa alumna, her dedication to the Scholars and the programs from day one has been incredible. She goes above and beyond to make sure her Scholars are getting the best of everything AfricAid can offer. She is funny, loving, thoughtful, and very passionate, not only about girls’ empowerment but children’s welfare in general. She is humble, yet so confident and strong. Don’t let her small appearance fool you – Einoth is a force!” Monica Swai, AfricAid Director of Operations
Einoth is a creative and self-motivated leader who makes the most out of every opportunity that comes her way. She has used her schooling effectively to become who she is now. Her strengths when she was a student have driven her interests and the “giveback” activities she now participates in.
At all levels of her schooling, Einoth received various appreciations and awards. In 2008 as a student at UMOJA Secondary School in Tabora, she took part in the school reading program. She was recognized as “Best Reader of the Year” for consuming more books than any other student that year. The following year, she was the stand out student in cultural activities, which included English oral fluency competitions.
When Einoth was growing up, she found she liked to put her ideas and feelings down on paper. She had many questions and issues she was grappling with in her mind, and would write her thoughts down in a journal. This is how she started to fall in love with writing. She participated in writing competitions at school and beyond. As an A-Level student at Weruweru Secondary School, Einoth participated in the National Essay Writing Competition, which was open to both teachers and students. She won and the grand prize was a personal computer. She has put this treasured reward to excellent use as it has helped her to write more and with assignments at university. (Note that Einoth graduated from Weruweru in May, 2014 and the Kisa Project was introduced at that Moshi District school in July that same year. Einoth says “I would have loved to be a Kisa Scholar!”)
Einoth became one of just 3% of Tanzanian women to earn a college degree. (All of AfricAid’s Mentors are college educated.) She held church leadership positions while pursuing her BS in economics, project planning, and management from Mzumbe University in Morongo. She continues to display those leadership qualities in her classroom and in the organization she founded, Help them Write.
Knowing the enthusiasm she had for writing, and the value of it, Einoth did not want to enjoy it alone. She believes there is so much treasure hidden within the younger generation. From her own experience being rewarded for her writing, she knows that there is a lot left unsaid in the minds of youth. This is how the idea of Help them Write was born.
“In 2017, I realized that the young generation has great potential and I was moved to help them pour out their minds and ideas through writing. Help them Write aims at unfolding talents among young writers and spreading knowledge. It is dedicated to building a reading and writing society. Help them Write makes sure that children access quality learning materials in order to give them the best possible education.”
The project is currently working with an orphanage, which also has a primary school. Einoth and other volunteers visit the children every Saturday and have classes with them which focus on reading and writing. Here are some of the activities Help them Write conducts with the children:
- Reading to them and giving them chances to read.
- Assisting them in writing down any thoughts the child would like to record (a special folder is kept for each child).
- Playing simple games to help them gain confidence in speaking English.
- Providing learning materials for those who don’t have access (exercise books, bags, uniforms, teaching aids such as writing boards).
Einoth and Help them Write would like to expand to provide support and resources to secondary school students as well. For the time being, they are finding true need among the littlest students. For example, they recently visited an informal village school. Einoth explains, “A woman there had volunteered to start a class. In their culture, if children are not in school, boys as young as age four will be sent to the fields to graze cows and girls as young as age eight are receiving marriage proposals. She is doing her best to protect these kids from this fate. “ Help them Write brought the community learning materials, including a writing board, matching t-shirts (because they had no uniforms), and bags. They spent time learning and having fun with these youngsters. Einoth continues, “We were very happy that some of the children’s mothers also attended. These moms themselves are very young, younger than me. They carry a lot of sorrow being married to people they did not choose. They are seeking entrepreneurial skills in order to earn an income so that their children will not experience the same life. They want financial independence so they can at least send their kids to school.”
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Help Them Write has a long-term goal of creating an African Youth Library. This would be a network of community libraries that would give children easy and quick access to books so as to improve their performance in school. Her big vision is to see a society where children have a tradition of reading and writing, and invites people to support this important change she is bringing to her community.
Einoth is a very determined person and she believes that all her dreams will become a reality. Her colleagues have no doubt this will be the case and wish her all the best with her endeavor!