Nurturing Minds and the SEGA Girls’ Secondary School started in 2007 as the dream of two colleagues, one American, Polly Dolan, and one Tanzanian, Blastus Mwizarubi. They wanted to provide an opportunity for highly vulnerable Tanzanian girls to escape poverty and exploitation, and receive a quality education; to empower girls with skills and credentials needed to thrive in Tanzanian society.
Polly had been living and working in Tanzania for 10 years on girls’ empowerment and education issues. Similarly Blastus had many years of experience working in the field of girls’ education, designing and implementing large-scale programs that strengthened teacher capacity; bolstered the role of parents and communities for quality education advocacy; and designing interventions to improve access and quality for girls.
Together they decided that a girls’ boarding school, which provided scholarships to highly vulnerable girls, would help them achieve their goals. The two worked with local stakeholders to form Secondary Education for Girls’ Advancement (SEGA) in 2007.
During that time, Polly also reached out to her sister Tracey, and close friends in the US, asking them to help form Nurturing Minds, Inc., a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit to conduct fundraising and provide technical support to the endeavor. Nurturing Minds was founded in 2008 and Tracey devoted herself full-time to developing the organization.
SEGA soon obtained 23 acres of land in Morogoro, and a local Tanzanian family donated an additional 7 acres so that today the school sits on a 30 acre plot. They then launched their first program in a borrowed classroom at a local primary school for 30 girls in July 2008.
Over the past 10 years SEGA and Nurturing Minds have successfully developed the SEGA Girls’ Secondary School which today reaches 270+ girls on its beautiful campus with 85% on full scholarship. The campus infrastructure has been funded with extensive financial support from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA).
For a full timeline of the history of Nurturing Minds and SEGA click here.
Thank you to our committed staff and volunteers who give their time and efforts to help these girls’ dreams become a reality!
Board of Directors
Juma Said Ally
Working with humanitarian and development projects in Africa, has played a vital role for me. Knowledge is power; to make positive decisions in life, to be active, self-reliant, a productive member in society and educating girls is a crucial component to this.
My whole life has been oriented around improving the lives of women and girls.
I have applied my construction background to the construction of the campus at the SEGA Girls' School.
As a PAN American flight attendant traveling to Africa, or a teacher of students with learning differences and as a school-based physical therapist have all contributed to my commitment to the mission of Nurturing Minds.
Annie de Cossy, Vice Chair
My experience in the nonprofit sector over the past three decades has informed our Board and fund development efforts in support of our goals to expand resources available to SEGA.
Tracey Dolan, Co-Founder
In 2008 this grassroots initiative drew upon my administrative, marketing and educational skills; however, over the years my work with NM has had a deepening impact on me personally as it has become a privilege to support and witness the gift of SEGA to vulnerable girls in Tanzania.
Brenda Shay Duska, Treasurer
Education and the search for knowledge are the keys to success. I am honored to have a role in advancing education for girls. As a CPA, co-author of Accounting Ethics, and a former CFO, I am so pleased to bring my expertise to Nurturing Minds to maintain the quality of financial reporting and donor confidence in the organization.
Forty years of advocating for at-risk women and children gives me a profound appreciation of SEGA's role as a pathway to independence for young girls.
My belief in the importance of girls education paired with a career in Communications has enabled me to help Nurturing Minds/SEGA effectively communicate their mission and progress to our supporters and followers.
My CFO experience helps us create transparent, reliable financials so donors can give to NM/SEGA with confidence.
My background in sustainable development and conservation has afforded me an appreciation for how thoughtful the planning and execution has been for SEGA's programs and evolution.
My career in educational fundraising provides me with the opportunity to help NM/SEGA maintain a strong financial foundation and help ensure SEGA’s long-term future through Nurturing Minds endowment campaign.
Angela McManus, Secretary
Wanting to provide inclusive education combining the academic, business and health aspects; NM/ SEGA gave me the opportunity to put my overseas teaching experience, corporate training and organizational skills to work.
As a native born Tanzanian woman who attended an all-girls secondary school similar to SEGA, I can appreciate the impact of a holistic education in empowering future generations of female leaders.
Having been educated at an all-girls school in London, I appreciate everything I gained from that experience and truly want to help open doors for the girls at SEGA to have much wider and diversified opportunities in life..
Working on behalf of vulnerable women and children in the US for over 25 years in has given me the passion to focus on girls' issues globally where the impact can be profound.
Founder and President of Russell Pacific, a solar electric distribution business and RPCS, a solar tracker design build construction company. Born in Massachusetts, Eben is a lifelong sailboat racer.
Teaching English at SEGA as a Peace Corps volunteer, I experienced first-hand the significant difference Nurturing Minds is making in the lives of very vulnerable girls. I am committed to focusing my heart and skills on the advancement of SEGA students.
My passion for serving children through education, combined with my experiences traveling extensively in Africa, has led to my focused commitment to educating and empowering the vulnerable girls at the SEGA School.
Kendall Webb, Chair
Working with over 1 million charities as ED of JustGive, NM stands out as one of the most personally meaningful ways to make worldwide change in many cause areas (i.e. poverty, hunger, health, education, etc.) starting with one girl.
Having led 14 builds for Habitat for Humanity, 6 of them in sub Sahara Africa, and taught in 3 girls high schools, I recognize the power of educating girls.
Shanna Keown Calcei
Clare Rand Davenport
Rukia Marijani Mchumo
Maame Afon Yelbert-Sai
SEGA’s Board of Directors
Demetrius Mathias Malopola
Laina John Mwandoloma
Blastus K. Mwizarubi