We all need a shoulder to lean on and for the financially disadvantaged parents of Uliampiti who are unable to put their children through secondary school, that shoulder to lean on has been Abdallah Henku.
Henku who is a native of Uliampiti, a small village found in central Tanzania knows too well of the struggles of people living in his village.
“Money is not easy to come by in Uliampiti and when it does, it’s not enough to cover for a family’s daily needs as well as for school fees for their children. So you’ll find that a lot of children who do well in primary school, which is free, do not go on to secondary school. Not because the parents do not want to take their children to school but because they cannot afford to, which is quite unfortunate.”
A teacher by profession, 43 year old Henku who currently works as a researcher at the University of Dar es Salaam decided to do something to help the situation in Uliampiti. At first, he started with his close relatives and members of his extended family. Later, he went on to help orphaned children who did well in their primary education.
But even with all that he was doing, he felt that he was not doing enough. There were still many capable children who were finishing primary school and not going to secondary school.
So in 2013, he decided that he was going to pay the school fees for any child that passed their primary school education and was selected to attend a government secondary school.
In the first year, 2013, 24 children passed their primary school national exams but only 22 children reported to school. Of the 22 children, 13 were boys and 9 were girls. While in their second year, 2 children dropped out of school because their parents could not afford to cater for their living expenses, something that really disappointed Henku. Unfortunately, he could not afford to cater for both their fees and their living expenses, so the children never went back to school. In 2014, 22 children passed their exams and all of them reported to school. Of the 22 children, 10 were boys and 12 were girls.
Today, Henku sponsors 42 children. He spends approximately $10 on each child’s school fees. In total, he spends about $420 a year which is roughly 10% – 15% of his monthly salary.
It may not seem like much to a middle class individual but it is a lot because of the sacrifice he is making to achieve it. The impact Henku is having on these children’s life is huge and we applaud him for that.