HAVE you ever philosophically asked yourself the meaning of life? Seriously, what is the purpose of life?.
Well for some to create a life filled with its deep sense and purpose, or precisely attain sustainable happiness, and make a meaningful impact, they are driven by ideas and dreams to realize the passion.
In the course, they let go off the fear to fail, and block any dissenting voice, which may suggest ‘impossibility’ as they forge and push forward looking for solutions and alternatives on how to penetrate ahead, with the sole aim of realizing their dreams without ‘if and buts.’
That in a nutshell summarizes exactly, who Miss Frida Tomito and the late Professor Sumiko Iwao experienced in 2016. With Ms Tomito’s piece of land and the late Iwao’s financial support, young girls who would not have realized their dreams are now full of hope and live to be living testimonies of the earlier set dreams.
“It all started in January 2008 when we first met,” narrates Ms Tomito who is the Director of Sakura Girls Secondary school located in Bangata Arusha, as she went on explaining from the first time how they met and made the project a reality.
The idea of having a school that will help the new generation of women to acquire education promising in life started in 2016, and initiated by Professor Iwao, who believed that these women could be better leaders for their generations.
After attending a seminar in Arusha where she (Iwao) witnessed how women work hard and in odd jobs, just to educate and take care of their families, she asked if there was a possibility to start a School that helped young girls.
“This has been her (Iwao) passion since she was growing up, and she wanted to help women and viewed equipping them with good education as the best way to go about it.”
Professor Iwao was a Psychologist, Professor Emeritus at Keio University, who also served on the Editorial Board of Japan Echo magazine, and after her retirement, she decided to become active in children’s education in Africa as the chairperson of Group Kilimanjaro and the joint operator of Sakura Girls Secondary School.
“So I said yes to her question, and I offered the piece of land that belonged to my parents as it was idle. And that is when the ball began rolling,” she explained.
She contacted Japanese embassy, which readily constructed and renovated the school’s buildings in 2015, where all needed facilities of a school and dormitory were supplied for by the embassy.
The construction of the school was aided by Japanese Embassy under Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects (GGHSP).
Dubbed Sakura (meaning cherry Blossoms in Japanese) the school officially opened its gates to students in 2016 and kicked off with 30 students, who are now in Form Four.
“Most of the Form Four students are sponsored by the embassy (25), despite starting off a little dull in class, but now they are doing better, because their first Form Two exams had a pass rate of 100 percent, and also they did very good in their Form Four mock exams,” she added.
The mission of the school was to nurture young girls in Science and Mathematics subjects so that they don’t shy away in professions of Engineering or doctors, noted Ms Tomito.
The Head Master of Sakura Mr Thomas Reuben said that the focus of the school has been on science subjects to balance the field mostly dominated by males.
“And as the country is moving towards the middle economy and embracing industrialisation, there is a need for people who are highly trained in science subjects, who can come up with innovative solutions without excluding women in the equation,” he remarked.
Being fully equipped including laboratory and library, the school has an added advantage of having a student centered learning method, which engages every student to participate when learning, he elaborated.
He explained that before Sakura, the area had only one public school, adding: “The coming of Sakura with specific mission to help a girl child get education, focusing on science subjects, has been received positively as the community and parents are now excited to bring their children.” “Sakura has also added value to the economy of Bangata, where we get some of the services from the surrounding society,” he said.
Equally, he pointed out that some students do not want to join them because of a formed opinion that science subjects are hard, and that forms the major problem they face.
“The weather has also caused a challenge in the school operations as the roads cannot be used during the rainy season.
Even heating water during the cold season is hard as the school uses solar panels to heat water,” he noted. But unfortunately, the passing away of Professor Iwao has brought constraints on the funding, making most of the sponsors to drop.
Mr Reuben finally revealed that after the Form Four examinations, two of the top best students got scholarships for further studies in Japan. Miss Lightness Hance (Form Four), who is one of the students got the Japanese scholarship and has now become a neurosurgeon and later Tanzanian president.
Ms Hance revealed that the method employed by the teachers motivates them to study hard, adding: “We get to fully engage and participate in class; Something that keeps me focused and gives me the urge to study even more.
I now can see my dreams being realized.” “I work even harder as I now have this great opportunity to further my studies. I wouldn’t want to let myself down and my teachers or parents,” she stated.
Another student, Ms Sharon Tom, revealed that she wanted to be an oncologist as she sees a lot people suffering and dying from cancer.
However, the school’s administration commended all the efforts put by the Japanese embassy to the Ambassador of Japan to Tanzania Shinichi Goto, who visited the school recently as part of a three day press tour that was organised by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and focusing towards the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7).
The embassy provided approximately US Dollars 570,000 for the construction of the school, and JICA has also contributed to the school by dispatching Science and Mathematics teachers.