TFFT strives to provide the opportunities, support, and guidance that will equip our scholars to reach their full potential and thrive in their communities. This means making sure all of our scholars, regardless of their skillset, receive the individualized care and encouragement they deserve. For scholars who are challenged in the academic setting, we have tutoring support in place to offer support through elementary school and the first four years of secondary (high) school.
In Tanzania, a student cannot progress to the final two years of secondary (high) school without passing the Form 4 National Exam. While the majority of TFFT Scholars carry on to the final two years, TFFT has begun a pilot project aimed to equip our Form 4 graduates who will not continue on to the final two years with vocational skills to help them earn a living that will support themselves and contribute to society. We are proud of our commitment to help each of our scholars be the best they can be.
Last month, TFFT ran a two-week long intensive course on tailoring clothing for scholars Agnes Isaya and Nancy Felix. The outcome of the two girls’ experience throughout this pilot project will help us determine the how to upscale the project as a whole. We hope that eventually, this will become a family livelihood strengthening program for TFFT scholars’ vulnerable families to generate a source of income. The project’s rationale supports TFFT’s Mission, and aligns with goals for our desired future.
The girls were given basic skills in tailoring in a thirteen day intensive tailoring course. With such skills the girls could be able to start their own small businesses and with the surplus they earn be able to make a living for themselves, their families, and their communities.
TFFT believes that while academic achievement is one very important aspect of a quality education, a thorough quality education will equip scholars with skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values to enable success outside the walls of the classroom.
Some of the Most Vulnerable Children that TFFT takes in as scholars have not received proper parental support and involvement during critical stages of development. This, coupled with the negative effects of lack of proper nutrition, means that considerable developmental obstruction has occurred. We at TFFT work to address and reverse those effects.
This vocational education project, therefore, comes as a result of negotiation between the scholars and guardians on finding alternative means of livelihoods for scholars who are not able to compete in the labour market with increased demand for academic certification. After this initial training course, the scholars will complete another three months working with a qualified tailor, where they will continue to refine their skills.
At the end of the training, the girls designed and fabricated shopping bags, iPad and computer cases, and simple dresses which they were able to sell to TFFT staff and friends. Completing this work gave the scholars feelings of encouragement and optimism for a great future.
On our part, we are committed to sourcing for the scholars seed money of 500,000 Tanzanian Shillings (approximately $200), which will contribute to the cost of the sewing machine and start-up capital for their business. The scholars will refund this cash to TFFT in installments once the business is up and running.
TFFT will further support the scholars by providing continued professional guidance on starting and managing small businesses. We hope to expand from this pilot project to a full family livelihood strengthening program so that in the future we may reach all scholars who wish to gain additional skills. This could even grow to include some care-givers interested in improving life-skills, and many more will benefit throughout entire communities.
We would like to thank Melissa Queyquep for providing space in her house where this training took place, and we wish Agnes and Nancy all the best as they move on to use their new skills to improve their livelihoods.