About Us

 
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Our Story

SEGA Co-Founders Polly Dolan and Blastus Mwizarubi at SEGA in March 2019

SEGA Co-Founders Polly Dolan and Blastus Mwizarubi at SEGA in March 2019

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.
 

 

Our Team

Thank you to our committed staff and volunteers who give their time and efforts to help these girls’ dreams become a reality! 

 

Julie Bourgoin

Program Officer
julie@nurturingmindsinafrica.org

Laura DeDominicis

Executive Director
laura@nurturingmindsinafrica.org

Matthew Plourde

Operations Director
matt@nurturingmindsinafrica.org

Samantha Wechsler

Operations Assistant
matt@nurturingmindsinafrica.org


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.

Marion Ballard

My whole life has been oriented around improving the lives of women and girls.

Clarke Blynn

I have applied my construction background to the construction of the campus at the SEGA Girls' School.

Betsy Crawford

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 Forsyth, 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.

Polly Dolan, Co-Founder

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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.

 

Nancy Ebb

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. 

Catherine Flint

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. 

Sherri Floros

My CFO experience helps us create transparent, reliable financials so donors can give to NM/SEGA with confidence.

Susan Hannah

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.

 

Rod Kirsch

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.

Jane Nyamunga

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.

Amanda Opinsky

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..

 

Clare Reilly

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.

Eben Russell

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.

Susan Schneider

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.

Jean Suliteanu

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.

Sherley Young

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.

 
 

Advisors

  • Kirsten Barton

  • Kristin Bloom

  • Shanna Keown Calcei

  • Clare Rand Davenport

  • April Gilbert

  • Nataly Kogan

  • Mackenzie Laudel

  • Rukia Marijani Mchumo

  • Brooke McInnes

  • Charlie Richards

  • Leigh Stewart

  • Anna Temu

  • Marsha Wallace

  • Nina Weisbord

  • Maame Afon Yelbert-Sai

 


SEGA’s Board of Directors

 
  • Lascelles Chen

  • Polly Dolan

  • Demetrius Mathias Malopola

  • Oscar Mlowe

  • Laina John Mwandoloma

  • Blastus K. Mwizarubi

  • Hellen Nkalang’ango

 

Friends

 

Volunteers

Thank you to the more than 120 volunteers who have supported Nurturing Minds and the SEGA Girls’ School through administrative support, event coordination, and short placements at SEGA!

 
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Generous Support

 

“My dream to visit SEGA finally came to fruition. I was so thrilled and honored to attend the very colourful and entertaining graduation ceremony. The high standards of the school facilities are unmatched in the country. I was so impressed by the girls outstanding and unprecedented academic achievements especially given their very poor backgrounds…"
- Ambassador. Liberata Mulamula

 
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Media and Publications

SEGA Resources

 

Photos courtesy of Sarah Bones Photography