Bigger Dreams

Date posted: Thursday 06 September 2018

On August 29th and 30th the Bega Kwa Bega team - Frank, Pastor Msigwa, Ambassador Russ Hilliard, and myself - and four members of the DIRA staff - the Rev. Ambrose Mwakikoti (Director of Youth and Music), the Rev. Upendo Koko (Director of Women and Family Nurture), the Rev. Elisande Mhanga (DIRA Training Officer), and Hanael Gandwe (St. Paul Partners) - interviewed 53 applicants for scholarships from the BKB post-secondary education fund. A few of the candidates had applied for these same scholarships last year (the first year that they were offered) but were turned down. This year, with a larger number of applicants and a smaller pool of funds, we will have to turn down many more.


Most of the students who applied had managed to pay for their first year of school (in some cases two years of school) but are out of options for how to fund their education going forward. Several students had worked before starting school to earn enough money initially, but now cannot work enough while in school to pay the entirety of their school fees. Some students borrowed money from family and friends and, although unsure how to pay it back, are determined that they will. Some told us their families had borrowed money for their education but could not borrow any more. Many students told stories of being without one or both parents due to disability, death, or abandonment.


We spoke to students who are studying to be teachers, pharmacists, journalists, engineers, nurses, community development workers, livestock managers, laboratory technicians, medical officers, surveyors, accountants, and doctors. Every student was asked how he or she thinks they will contribute to the church when they complete their education. Here is some of what we heard:


  • "I want to teach others to be leaders."
  • "I have a spirit of caring."
  • "As a pharmacist I can treat people with medicine but also with prayer."
  • "I want to stand for the rights of Tanzanian people who cannot get what they need."
  • "I want to provide knowledge to the community. I can help to prevent disease by building good toilets."
  • "I want to help people with their health."
  • "Education is everything. I want others to know that without education, there is nothing."
  • "I was funded by Bega Kwa Bega [scholarship] since Form I. I want to pay back for all that I received."


All of these students passed either Form IV or Form VI in secondary school in order to be accepted into a diploma or bachelor's degree program. Even with many big obstacles in their way, including a limited number of spots available in secondary schools, they have even bigger dreams.


Deacon April Trout

BKB Program Coordinator