Q. What does Emusoi mean?
A. Emusoi is a Maasai word that means discovery, awareness and realization.
Q. Does Emusoi only help Pastoralists communities, specifically young women from the Maasai tribe?
A. The Center has evolved from the original concept of providing a hostel for only Maasai girls to one which is more all-embracing wherein it now provides a transitional space for young women coming from traditional lifestyles which include the Ndorobo, the Hadzabe and the Barbaig.
Q. Why does Emusoi Centre only help young women?
A. According to a research conducted by the Ministry of Education, the pastoralist tribes are among the most disadvantaged groups in Tanzania with regards to access to secondary education. Within such group, the women are the most marginalized. Girls are not valued the same as boys therefore they do not get the same attention from their parents or teachers. Without the intervention of Emusoi and other NGOs, there will be very few pastoralist girls who are educated.
Q. What is your selection process in accepting young women into your center?
A. Many girls ask for places at Emusoi and we are unable to accept them all. We look for the girls who are the most needy and who have no other options in their lives and who seem to have a potential to benefit from secondary education.
Q. Since Emusoi Centre is an on-going project under the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic Congregation, do you only accept young Catholic women?
A. No, religion is not one of the deciding factors in selections. Each girl’s religious beliefs are respected and no one is required to change their belief system. That being said, we have found that almost 99% of the girls profess to be Christian-Assemblies of God, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Catholics, Anglicans and a few Baptists.
Q. Who are your partners in the community?
A. We are proud to get the support of the following state and local authorities such as Members of Parliament, Regional Education Office, District Commissioners District Development Officers, Village Officials/Leaders, Police, the Social Work Officers and the Ministry of Education. We also collaborate with the different heads of secondary schools where our girls are enrolled.
Q. What are the funding needs of the Center?
A. There the two funding needs of the center:(1) Scholarship fund, which pays the school fees, school supplies, clothing and personal needs of the students; and (2) Running expenses for the Center, including food and household costs for the hostel, salaries, utilities, fuel and maintenance for the Center vehicle.
Q. Where does Emusoi get its funds to support the education of the girls?
A. The Center receives its funds from local contributions: parents’ contributions and sponsorship from some local NGOs; private donations mainly from donors in the U.S.A.; fund-raising of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation; Norwegian Church Aid, Sir. Harold Hood Charitable Trust, DFID and royalties from our book-Emusoi. It had also received funding from USAID.
Q. Do parents contribute anything for their daughters’ education?
A. A small monetary contribution is being asked from the parents. They are also asked to provide some of the personal needs of their daughters like shoe polish, toothpaste and soap. Aside from asking them for contributions, we try and encourage them to be involve in the educational progress of their daughters from the passing of exams to disciplinary issues.
Q. What are the programs that the Centre offers to the young women?
A. The programs of the center are divided into two parts: (1) for the pre-secondary students and (2) for students who are already in secondary schools. For the pre-secondary students, we offer remedial classes to prepare them for secondary school for the following year. As for the secondary students, we offer workshops, seminars, one-on-one/group counseling and psychosocial training whenever they are at center during school holidays. We also monitor their academic and behavioral-social progress and act as a liaison between the school and the parents.
Q. What are the day-to-day activities of the Centre?
A. Our pre-secondary students have a scheduled activity for their different subjects (English, Math, Science, Swahili, Oral English, Reading & Vocabulary, History, Geography and Civics) from Monday to Friday. They also have a scheduled DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read) for the week. Striving for wholistic development, they also have enrichment classes that focuses on the psychosocial needs (e.g. self-awareness, different coping skills and the likes) twice a week. They also have daily, weekly and monthly charges/chores around the center. Come every evening, the girls also have organized themselves a period of prayer which they lead. Much of their prayer consists of singing songs in their own language and dancing and intercessions. They pray for us all! They also prepare and lead their own Sunday services or sometimes religious leaders come to offer the services.