Written by Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten and edited by Amy Pitman. Art In Tanzania volunteers. (Originally Published on: Oct 15, 2013)
In a place where education is hard to come by, sponsorship can help give a young person an education and eventually a chance to a better life.
This is the story of 22 year-old Joseph Wilson, whose life changed when he got a sponsor.
Originally from Mwanza, near Lake Victoria, Joseph moved to Dar es Salaam because his family couldn’t afford his education fees as he has two other brothers who were also depending on them.
He was eager to learn and after moving to Dar es Salaam he took up evening classes taught by volunteers at Art In Tanzania. It was then that he realized that if he wanted a good education, he would need to find a sponsor.
Sponsors provide money for an individual’s education including school fees, transportation, exam fees, books and other materials. Food is not covered so Joseph has to pay for this himself. He was able to find a sponsor in one of the team leaders at Art in Tanzania. This all started four years ago.
However, his sponsor got a family of her own and was unable to afford the sponsorship anymore. But as fate would have it, he soon found himself another sponsor in a Dutch couple.
He now attends a military established and sponsored school called Makongo High School. His lessons are taught by soldiers.
The sponsors maintain contact with the individual to ensure both are satisfied. The money can be given directly to the individual, to the school or to Art in Tanzania but Joseph always provides his sponsors with receipts to prove that the money is going into the intended use.
Joseph’s life has changed for the better thanks to a sponsor paying for his education and he is very thankful for this. When he is not in school taking his studies, Joseph works part time at Art in Tanzania in order to pay for his food and says he can’t complain because he’s not walking around hungry.
His average days schedule includes school, scouting, football and work, and his goal is to become a high school teacher. He has a dream that one day he will establish a school which would have a focus on different teaching techniques. He also adds that his school will not allow corporal punishment, which is a common practice in Tanzania, but rather a different approach to correct wrong doers without humiliating them.
Joseph believes that without the sponsorship, his life would be miserable. He says he would probably be a street child because “without an education, you can’t do anything.” Joseph will be sitting his form four national exams in a few weeks and hopes to pursue his education further.