We always look forward to sharing our stories from the fields of Kenya and Tanzania. Our intern Christine Tran shares her account of why she decided to join Asante Africa Foundation and her experience during the Global Strategy Meeting’2016.
“With a solid four months between graduating from Stanford University and beginning my first full-time job as a Management Consultant in San Francisco, I knew I wanted to take advantage of my last true summer before entering the “real world.” Rather than heading to Europe or Asia for the typical post-college backpacking trip, I wanted to experience a different world and challenge myself outside of my comfort zone.
(Christine graduating from Stanford University)
After spending 16 years of my life in an ethnically diverse, affluent suburb in Texas, and then leaving home at 18 to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, I knew there was something missing in my life. My parents’ story of realizing the quintessential American Dream has been a constant source of motivation for me to achieve my own personal and professional pursuits.
Though I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Minor in Modern Languages, I have spent nearly 5 years tutoring students part-time, from basic addition and subtraction up to Calculus. Mathematics has always been fun and comes naturally to me. However, I recognized this wasn’t the case for most people. During these 5 years of working with students, I realized why mathematics can be so challenging for many students. It was because they didn’t find it fun or engaging and could not see past the formulas or connect classroom lessons with real-world applications. And as our world becomes more advanced and technologically dependent, it is crucial that students develop a strong foundation in mathematics in order to obtain technical roles or to simply function in a capitalist society.
Upon graduation I wanted to leave my mark somewhere in the world and knew that it would begin with my passion for mathematics and educating youth. But how and where would I do this?
After researching a number of different education non-profits in Africa, I discovered Asante Africa Foundation and reached out to learn more. Just from the first few emails and phone calls, I was impressed with the level of leadership within the organization, how well-run it is, and its mission and vision. I knew if I joined Asante Africa Foundation, I would not only have the opportunity to give but also to learn and grow. Fortunately, I was granted the African Service Fellowship from Stanford University, which has supported me in partnering with Asante Africa Foundation to design and pilot a Participatory Math Pilot Program for rural, public schools in the Kilimanjaro region. Time and time again I have heard that “math is a national disease” in Tanzania. My mission is to plant seeds that can help towards curing this disease.
“Preliminary surveys for the Participatory Math Program reveal that students can also be teachers and teach. Students are encouraged to work in teams to discuss and solve challenging real-world math problems”
My first week in Tanzania was incredible. I arrived just a few days before the commencement of the Annual Global Strategy Meetings, with staff and board members from the United States, Kenya, and Tanzania. I am still amazed by how kind and welcoming everyone was and has been.
Though I had never worked with Asante Africa before coming to Tanzania, I truly felt like a part of this organization from the get-go. Every day I am inspired and empowered by the amount of commitment, passion, and leadership present in the office and in the field. After hearing beneficiaries recount their success stories, I know that the hard work that this organization does is truly changing lives and making a difference. And today, as a part of Asante Africa, I can confidently say that we are all driven to reach our 2020 vision of impacting 1 million lives.”