Poor girls’ academic project set in motion

THE Archbishop of the Dar es Salaam Archdiocese, Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, yesterday launched the Sisters of Mary Girls Town School Project in Coast Region, worth around 25bn/- for the first phase.

The project is for supporting free education for girls from poor families; from Form One to the Advanced Level. The first batch of students is expected to embark on studies in March next year.

Preaching during a holy mass during the launch, the Cardinal said: “It is now time for girls, and the public should not misunderstand me. For many years, girls have been forgotten.

We can recall the way seminaries have been favouring male children, despite the fact that over 90 per cent of them do not get into saint-hood.”

He stressed that the project, which is run by Roman catholic sisters from The Philippines, was targeting girls, totally dismissing traditions and customs which have for a long time undermined girls in the academic sphere.

Cardinal Pengo reiterated that, existence of the project was meant to favour girls and ignore boys outright, but in the long run, the operators will shift to boys. Sisters of Mary Girls Town School’s Vicaress General, Sr. Elena Belarmino, supported the motion, saying it was time for girls to be offered chances, considering that, broadly, women play many roles in the society from family level upwards; hence, they should be nurtured at early stages.

She affirmed that apart from academic issues, the project will also involve entrepreneurship and vocational studies, to promote self- employment for graduates.

The first batch will have 150 to 200 primary school leavers, according to her, and the host region will be prioritised though the project is for any poor child across the country, regardless one’s religious affiliation.

“Definitely, we will also create jobs in various ways from these preparatory activities up to full operations of the project. “Basing on experience from other countries where we run the same projects, this one needs not less than 60 teachers.

However, it is the sector under the Ministry of Education which has the final say, we look forward to holding discussions,” she remarked.

Kisarawe District Commissioner (DC) Ms Jokate Mwegelo praised the project, saying it matched with the government’s free education initiatives.

She explained that the district had also been initiating various programmes to raise student performance, including the on-going “Tokomeza Zero” campaigns that kicked off soon she was swore in earlier this year.

The programme recorded successes since there was no division zero in last Form Six final examination results, the DC told the audience.

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