Have you ever been inspired by another person’s action thus prompting your own passion and reaction?
The story of Boniphace Mgaya is simply that—his passion for youth development in a small farming village located in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania has made a lasting impression on his community and prompted a lifelong goal in me to help when the time is right. That time is now.
Many of you reading this (friends and family) know the story of Mgaya and his Electrical Training Institute. For those who are new, enjoy…
My husband and I knew Mgaya for two years while serving in his rural community as Peace Corps volunteers. He was the village’s only educated and trained electrician—sort of an odd profession for a community with zero electricity (besides several personal solar panels). Regardless, he utilized his skills and found work in neighboring communities all while being a full time subsistence farmer as well.
Mgaya is the sort of person who finds purpose within every second of every day and because of that he crossed our paths many times. He attended every training we ever hosted and we soon saw in Mgaya a passion and inquiry beyond the normal. One day he shared with us his personal dream to start an electrical apprentice program. His dream was prompted by a development project which projected to bring electricity to our community within 12 months. He knew once electricity arrived there would be a need for skilled electricians beyond what he could personally supply. We were hooked; his goal was realistic, sustainable (because of his drive) and would offer priceless education and work for an undereducated and underutilized youth population.
We got to work immediately and within 5 months we had organized and funded not only an apprenticeship program but an Electrical Training Institute for the community. Mgaya was (still is) the only teacher and principal of the institute. He employs a cook for the students and has a development board of 4 community members. In May of 2014 the Institute opened with its first 11 pupils (5 girls, 6 boys). Those students, one year into their education now, are already going out into the field doing real work with Mgaya and receiving payment for their work (half goes to the students the rest to the school for development). He keeps me updated regularly, via email, with pictures and reports (I skill he was very eager to learn!)What is the new need?
When the school commenced, we needed community by-in, so instead of finding funding for a brand new building, Mgaya garnered the support of the local primary school and they donated three classrooms for the project. This was a great choice and Mgaya benefited from being so close to other teachers and school resources.
BUT, it has been a year since his institute kicked-off and he is quickly running out of space for new students. This is great news, new students! But he is very concerned that if he cannot begin construction for his own building soon, the project will stall and new students will stop enrolling.
We are seeking $2,500 to help Mgaya and the students build a new school. They have already begun making their own bricks (a common practice in TZ) and the additional $2,500 will be for resources which they cannot afford like wood, cement, paint and washroom facilities.