Smart Girls Tanzania was established in 2011 as a Donor Advised Fund within the High Point Community Foundation by Doug and Margaret Clark and their family to provide financial support for students at Kongei Secondary School in Tanzania.
This girls’ boarding school near Lushoto is operated by the Catholic Diocese of Tanga. Its 500 students study math, science, English and other subjects in Forms I through IV.
Doug and Margaret’s son, Andrew, taught math at Kongei Secondary School as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2005 to 2007. Doug traveled with Andrew on a return visit in 2009 and was impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and determination of the students he met. Later, the Clark family decided to create a lasting connection with this school.
Smart Girls Tanzania provides full financial support for deserving students who are selected by the school’s manager, Father Damian Milliken, and headmistress, Sister Christa Kimashi. The annual cost for each student is $1,000, which includes tuition, room, board, books, uniforms and other expenses. In 2015, SGT is assisting six students, with plans to continue growing.
The fund is supported by the Clark family, friends, the Mission Fund of First Presbyterian Church in High Point, the PenWel Fund of Richmond, Va., and other donors.
Although SGT is small, its scholarships can have a life-changing effect on the girls who are chosen on the basis of academic promise and financial need. The first recipient, Zuhra, graduated from Kongei last year and has continued her studies at a higher-level school. She recently wrote to Andrew: “You’re the greatest gift ever to my life from God. I am sincerely grateful for all you are doing and I promise to study my best so that I will pass my exams and fulfill my dreams. Pass my love to your family. I love you all!”
Few children in Tanzania have the opportunity to go to school beyond the primary grades. Opportunities are even more limited for girls. Yet girls’ education is critically important. For girls, an education means later marriage, fewer but healthier children and the chance to launch professional careers that will help them achieve better lives and contribute to the economic development and stability of their country.
The Clark family is delighted to have this relationship with Kongei Secondary School and grateful for all contributions to the cause of educating Smart Girls in Tanzania.