Songea (Agenzia Fides) - From misery to degree. That of Upendo, a girl from Songea, Tanzania, is a story of determination, solidarity and social redemption. One of those stories made possible thanks to the commitment of the missionaries. In this case, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery, a small female congregation for years active in East Africa.
Upendo's destiny seemed to be marked. She was orphaned and was adopted by her aunt. Another aunt took care of the two younger sisters instead. The African family network is still solid and manages to take care of the remaining children. However, family solidarity has its limits especially at an economic level. She meets the nuns of Saint joseph who host her in Saint Joseph Hostel. The costs of hospitality are supported by the nuns who can count on help from Italy. Thus, from 2009 to 2012, Upendo attends secondary school and proves to be an excellent student. In 2015 she applied to enter the University of Kampala in Tanzania to study medicine and surgery, and is admitted.
Since 2005, the Tanzanian Government has taken steps to increase access to secondary education by committing itself to building new secondary schools. However, according to a report by Human Rights Watch, over 40% of Tanzanian teenagers cannot attend secondary school. Among the problems that limit access there is undoubtedly that of the scarcity, if not the total absence, of schools in the rural areas of the country. The students have to travel up to 25 km to reach the school, not to mention those who do not continue their studies due to high costs, transport, uniforms and books. According to World Bank data, less than a third of girls reach lower secondary school education.
"Thanks to the help of the Sisters and Csj Missioni, the NGO that supports them - observes Upendo - I had the opportunity to study and I owe everything to the religious". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 06/10/2018)