July has been a whirlwind, but in the best way possible. After finishing RIDETZ, I’ve stayed in Arusha for a few weeks to interview some of the TFFT Scholars in honor of TFFT’s 10th Anniversary. Getting to go to the different schools around Arusha and meeting some of the scholars who I’ve heard about, seen photos of, and communicated with sponsors about for so many years has been really cool. As we go through the interviews, I’m able to learn so much about the scholars, and I’ve been surprised with how open they have been with me. One of my favorite interviews so far was with Julieth Elyiah.
Julieth Elyiah is 17 years old and is in Form 3 at Star High School. Julieth’s mother had eight children, but two of them have passed away. Julieth shared that her mother was a victim of domestic violence. Before becoming a TFFT Scholar, Julieth attended Nkoarika Government School, where she recalls that there were not enough teachers or supplies. The class was filled with students, but there were not many teachers. Some days she was sent home from school because she could not provide the maize, beans, water, and money that were used as payments to attend school. Her mother was pregnant and had no work, which resulted in trouble finding food. Later her mom found a job selling bananas.
When she was 8 years old, her mother found out about TFFT from another mother in the village. After interviews and the selection process, Julieth was informed that she would receive a TFFT Scholarship. Julieth says her mother is still suffering, but Julieth is working hard in school to relieve her mother of some of this struggle. Julieth enjoys going home over school breaks and helping her mother around the house.
As a TFFT Scholar, Julieth began attending school at Fikira Kwanza, and then transferred to Usa River Academy. She excelled at Usa River Academy, and her grades were high enough that she was sent to Star High School, one of the top secondary schools in Tanzania. Julieth is now thriving at Star High. Her favorite subjects are Commerce and Book Keeping. She dreams of becoming an accountant and working in a bank. When I asked Julieth who her inspiration is, she responded without hesitation saying that it is her mother. Julieth loves her family and works incredibly hard to improve her mother’s situation for the future. At TFFT, Stephen guides Julieth. She feels comfortable talking with Stephen and asking him for advice.
Julieth loves her life as a TFFT Scholar. When I asked her what she likes most about being a TFFT Scholar, she thought for a moment and said she loves that TFFT is supporting and comforting. She also loves the other TFFT Scholars and she likes helping them when they need help. She mentioned many times that she loves TFFT, she loves her sponsor, Bobby Samuelson, and she loves TFFT supporters.
Julieth is an incredibly bright, sensitive, and kind young girl, and I loved the opportunity I had to talk with her. She is so thankful for the chance to receive a quality education, and she is truly making the most of this opportunity. I know that with her motivation and her intelligence, Julieth will go far, and I am very excited to see where the future takes one of Tanzania’s brightest stars!