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Archives School helping school: IHC aids Tanzanian girls

Oct. 16, 2019

Immaculate Heart CentralIHC School

WATERTOWN – It will be three years this fall since the students at Immaculate Heart Central Junior and Senior High School decided to “adopt” an all-girls residential school located in a remote corner of Tanzania and to designate it as the on-going recipient of its annual Respect Life Initiative (RLI).

This outreach, born at the height of the genocide in Darfur, sought at first to educate our students to a specific tragedy. Now in its 12th year, our school’s annual initiative continues not only to inform but also to emphasize the continued concern of our student body toward those in need.

Fueled by funds raised through student-driven activities, it showcases both the goodwill and the energy of our young people (think Dance Marathons, five-mile walks or 10-hour fasts), as well as the overwhelming support we receive from our entire community. The IHC Class of ’79, for example, just donated over $1,700 to the girls’ school, while four local Rotaries made a collective gift of $3,950 in support of a much-needed water facility.

The lessons learned? Each one of us has the power to effect real change in the lives of those who need help.
The Kitenga Girls’ Secondary School is the result of a long collaboration between the Buffalo based not-for-profit, Girls Education Collaborative, and the Immaculate Heart Teaching Sisters of Africa. A well-known and highly respected order of nuns, the IHTSA has cherished the dream of educating young Tanzanian women who lack either the opportunity or the means to continue their schooling past sixth grade.

Now these Sisters, together with the Girls Education Collaborative, oversee the use and accountability of donated funds with a regular “boots on the ground” presence and provide continuous feedback on the school’s progress.

A member of IHC’s faculty, Patricia Minter-Powell, who helps coordinate IHC’s annual RLI, also makes regular trips to visit the girls and continues to witness first-hand the miracle of this hard-won and much appreciated education.

With such comprehensive support, we feel not only the promise of the initiative – the Form 3 girls recently placed first in their school district on their National Exams – but also its power to truly change the trajectory of these young women’s lives.

Since the fall of 2016, the IHC community has raised over $30,000 to help support the hopes and aspirations of more than 100 young Tanzanian women presently enrolled at the school. In a country where many school age girls have already succumbed to the fate of “child brides,” these young women now have a chance at a very real future.

These hard-working, ambitious young ladies are, in turn, inspiring the students at our Junior-Senior High School through the exchange of pictures, videos and postcards.

For more glimpses into life and learning at the Kitenga Girls’ Secondary School or to learn how you can support these girls, visit our Facebook Group, IHC Faith Community Service Program, or contact us through patricia.minterpowell@ihcschool.org.

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