Honoring Teachers’ Contributions on World Teachers’ Day 2023
Think back through your education. Your favorite teacher made the greatest impact on your confidence, perseverance, and future success. You might not remember what they taught you, but you remember how they made you feel safe and accepted. The warmth of a supportive teacher can take students away from their troubles, and open a new world of possibilities.
On October 5th we celebrate World Teachers’ Day. We recognize teachers everywhere for their contributions to education, and for working to overcome the unique challenges they face in their profession due to limited resources. In the face of adversity, these incredible teachers don’t give up. In rural East Africa, teachers offer more than academic education. These teachers are feeding their students, raising funds for their school fees, and even housing their students to make sure they can attend school. They are helping their students with their whole hearts, and every resource they can obtain.
Teachers Overcome Financial Obstacles to Student Learning
In Kenya, Simon is a 9th grader who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Simon’s teachers were quick to recognize his academic talent, but they also saw that Simon would need more than education to reach his goals. Simon and his younger siblings are being raised by their grandmother who lacks money for food and necessities, and wishes she could contribute to the school fees required for Simon to attend school. Simon’s head teacher, David Epur, stepped in to change Simon’s life. He went to the local government, the community, and also to Asante Africa’s Scholarship Program to raise the funds necessary for Simon’s education. This teacher believes so strongly in Simon, that he even allows Simon to stay with him in his home when school is on breaks. The commitment and dedication of Simon’s head teacher is paving his way forward towards achieving his goals.
Teachers Promote Societal Change
Girls in rural, east Africa face unique obstacles that prevent them from living healthy lives and obtaining education. Common occurrences that negatively impact girls include food insecurity, hygiene issues, unsanitary living conditions, FGM (female genitale mutilation), child marriage, early pregnancy, Asante Africa’s Wezesha Vijana Program serves to reach these students, particularly through trusted teachers.
Naomi is a teacher who grew up in a small, pastoral village in Kenya. Through her own powerful determination, Naomi avoided early marriage and completed her education. She knew it was her destiny to become a teacher and empower young women to overcome societal pressures and pursue their education. Speaking openly about the dangers of FGM and early marriage has made Naomi a target for hate from village elders, but Naomi says, “Nothing can stop the passion I have for the education of the young girls around me.”
Teachers Inspire Future Generations to Become Teachers and Mentors
Khadija is 11 years old and a student in rural Lushoto, Tanzania. Her favorite subject is geography, and she has been so inspired by her teachers that her dream is to become a geography teacher. Khadija’s teachers admire her determination and perseverance so much that they connected her with Asante Africa in order to fund her education. This unique level of emotional and academic support that Khadija is receiving from her teachers motivates her to do her best in school so she can grow up to pay-it-forward by teaching the future students of her community.
In 2022, Monica attended the Leadership Entrepreneurial Incubator Summit through the Youth Livelihood Program in Kenya. At this event, teachers helped her learn skills to become an effective leader and mentor. Excited about her new knowledge, Monica quickly began working with her peers to teach them about mental health and other human rights issues. Outstanding teachers have influenced Monica to educate others. “I’m working smart in my studies in order to be a role model to the girls in my community.” – Monica
Teachers Partner with Asante Africa
Asante Africa’s staff comes directly from the communities we serve. This staff best understands the needs of local schools and the teachers who work there. Together, we are able to reach more children and further their education.
Teachers in east Africa appreciate Asante Africa’s inclusive education philosophies. Madam Blandia, a teacher in Tanzania, says, “I would like to congratulate Asante Africa for including a program that helps all teachers and students in schools, thus making us resilient towards solving problems in the community.”
Madam Malima, also a teacher in Tanzania, is proud to offer digital education to her students thanks to the support of Asante Africa. Throughout the worst of the pandemic, Madam Malima utilized digital technology to ensure that her students continued in their studies. She states, “At Horombo School we are grateful for Asante Africa Foundation for being the pioneer that has helped bridge the gap by aiding our school with tools for the digital world of 21st century skills.” Upon their return to school, Madam Malima worked her hardest to help each student catch up on studies that they missed.
In Uganda, teacher mentor Immanual, attributes Asante Africa’s Wezesha Vijana Program for making a great change in the Buyonge DEB Primary school. Through the Wezesha Vijana Program, Immanuel has been able to educate girl students about personal, social, economic, and health skills development. “Some of the changes have impacted people’s lives starting with the school staff, the management, the community, and the whole world at large, so we are so happy with Asante Africa Foundation.” – Immanuel
Continuing to Support Teachers
Teachers provide so much more than an academic education, they are committed to creating and implementing a safe and inclusive learning environment for their students. Students in east Africa face many obstacles to continuing their education, and according to UNESCO by age 15, approximately 60 percent of youth are not in school. Determined teachers are exhausting every resource they have to see their students complete school, but they can’t achieve their goals alone. UNESCO states, “[World Teachers’ Day] is a day to celebrate how teachers are transforming education but also to reflect on the support they need to fully deploy their talent and vocation, and to rethink the way ahead for the profession globally.” Support for Asante Africa’s programs offers teachers in east Africa the extra help they need so they can educate and encourage underprivileged students.
WRITTEN BY: Shauna White