A First-Hand Account of Sponsoring a Sega Student

Heidi Kane Visits Sega for the First Time and Shares Her Experienc

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A few years ago we got involved with the Sega Girls School in Morogoro, Tanzania and sponsored two Sega students, Prisca and Asha. Two years later we sponsored a third student Happyness.

We had supported sponsorship programs before, but the Sega Girls School Sponsorship Program is different. My husband, daughter and I all write to the three Tanzanian teenagers and receive regular letters and artwork back. We have been able to really get to know each other.

Last Spring we received a printed card in the mail that announced the Sega Girls School’s first ever graduation – and Prisca and Asha were in the graduating class. We were very excited, as this has been a long journey for the girls, overcoming many obstacles, and now a happy ending. We just had to go!

Arriving at the school after 4 long flights and trying to overcome jet lag left our heads in a cloud. Stepping out of the school bus in Morogoro and onto the campus was surreal. The girls were all standing in rows in their white and green uniforms. I scanned all the happy faces in front of us, but did not immediately recognize Prisca, Asha and Happyness.

The girls’ smiles and their voices were all beautiful and angelic as they sang welcoming songs. Going from still photos and pencil and pen notes to this singing, swaying choir of smiling faces was like being transported into a movie, except we were in it, and this was real.

The songs stopped and were escorted around the school by the girls, ranging from grades 8 to 11. They were very proud of their school, both the school buildings that were completed and those that were under construction.

All of a sudden standing in front of us were two girls with familiar faces, and then it dawned on me…it was Prisca and Asha.  They stood there smiling and giggling. When I realized it was them, I screamed and did the usual thing I do when I meet friends, I hugged them, forgetting the norms of politeness and introductions in Tanzanian society.    

Words can’t express what a moving experience it was to travel to Tanzania and meet these three girls, who are no longer just photos of disadvantaged girls in need. Meeting them made me realize their potential, the hope and the joy that shines in their eyes.

Prisca, Asha and Happyness are all full of gratitude for being given a chance to earn an education and the chance of future employment, and realize that they are the lucky ones. And it was us who left with more than we had given to these girls through our sponsorship dollars. We took home in our hearts the gift of knowing that these three young women who are hundreds of miles away, are praying for our family by name in Tanzania. So the question is: When do we go back?

— Heidi Kane