Thank You Volunteers!
Celebrating Our Volunteers Near & Far
This week is National Volunteer Week. The theme is Celebrate Service — honoring the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through volunteer service, and who motivate others to follow their lead. Today we’re celebrating just a few of our change-makers: two living in the U.S., and two who work as full-time volunteers at SEGA in Morogoro, Tanzania.
Volunteering Within the United States
Louise Wilson, and her daughter Hannah Wilson, took a leap and became involved with SEGA when Louise heard about the English Enrichment volunteer trip at a local library meeting in New Jersey. Out of the blue, Hannah received an email from her mother — “Hannah, I’m going to go to Africa this fall with a group of women, to spend three weeks at Sega School — a girls’ school in Tanzania — helping students learn conversational English. I would so love for you to go, too!! Let’s do this!”
Visiting SEGA school together was a phenomenal experience. After their visit, both mother and daughter knew they would continue to be involved with Nurturing Minds. Hannah has kept in touch with students she met at SEGA, and has joined the volunteer Communications Committee, where she writes blog posts like this one! Both Louise and Hannah also plan to join the next English Enrichment trip in 2017. By day, Louise works in sustainable infrastructure in Trenton, NJ, and Hannah is about to begin dual master’s degree programs in business and global health in Atlanta, GA.
Volunteering Overseas at SEGA
Claire Fitzgerald, from County Tipperary, Ireland, stumbled on the Nurturing Minds website after nearly a year of searching for volunteering opportunities in Africa. She had always wanted to go to Africa and teach children; it was the main reason she became an English language teacher. Claire moved to Morogoro, Tanzania to work at SEGA in August 2015. She teaches English fluency to Standard 7 students (some of the youngest at the school, who are finishing up the pre-formal education and preparing to begin Form 1). She is also involved in other projects to get the students motivated and engaged in learning English, like debates and spelling competitions. Her favorite part of her job is getting to spend time with the girls outside the classroom, when they’re relaxed and having fun, playing puzzles or chatting while watching school sports. Claire told us, “My time at SEGA has been a wonderful life experience. I’ve loved watching the girls grow in confidence using English and see how motivated they are to improve their futures. I’m leaving seven months later than planned, this July, hoping to continue to live and teach somewhere in Africa. It’s very hard to even think about saying goodbye.”
Extended stays at SEGA are not uncommon: Dana Droller, from Ridgefield, CT, came to SEGA in July 2014 planning to stay for only five months – and she’s still here in 2016! We checked back in with Dana after we highlighted her in 2015’s Volunteer Week Newsletter. Dana’s main role at SEGA hasn’t changed – she helps SEGA with Communications and Public Relations, including grant writing and developing monitoring and evaluation tools. She has also picked up a number of new projects over the past year, including providing academic support to the girls and coordinating/chaperoning field trips and conferences. In January 2015, she set up SEGA’s library with the help of another volunteer and later took over as librarian. She says, “Now, one of the most rewarding things I do at SEGA is managing the library. It’s certainly a daunting task but it has been incredible to see students reading and enjoying storybooks [in English] – not something that is the norm for most Tanzanians!” She reflected on the impact of her time at SEGA and the value she’s gained from seeing the students’ transformations: “I went on SEGA’s student selection trip in June 2015 and saw two classes when they first arrived at SEGA, and have now been here for two graduations, and seeing how much the students grow and discover themselves throughout their time at SEGA is just extraordinary.” Before coming to SEGA, Dana studied International Affairs and Social Entrepreneurship focusing on the impact of girl empowerment and education on poverty alleviation. She plans to head home to the United States this July, which she says is “very bittersweet.” She wants to remain involved with international development and focused in Africa, and eventually may return to school for a master’s degree.
More than 100 volunteers work around the world to help SEGA educate and empower young women. Thank you all!
Do you want to volunteer? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!