“When I began working at TST” Rehema told me over a hot cup of Chai, “I faced a lot of discrimination because of my limited schooling and qualifications. I had to prove to many, many people that I was capable of performing my role adequately as I grew within this organization. Several Tanzanians believe that elders, males or those who possess higher certificates of education are more deserving of power in the work space and that belief made my daily interactions with people in the community very difficult at times! I almost gave up hope. I wasn’t used to conflict. You know, I nearly quit twice when people challenged me and said I wasn’t capable because I was a young woman! Haha! But TST pushed me to keep trying-- to keep growing--and that’s why I know I need to push other people on my team and in the community of Nkoaranga in the same way.
When I was first approached me about a role on the outreach team I thought: I can’t learn anything. I can’t do this. I’m not qualified. I don’t have the education! But TST kept saying “You can.” And gave me opportunities. More importantly, TST believed. Bekka said over and over “You can do it! You can climb yourself! And now I realize that that is true-- if you just trust in who you are and what you can do, you really can climb yourself. TST empowers people who are driven and who are passionate. They don’t care about who you know, where you are from, or what connections you may have in the village. I love that.“
“You know—Rehema reflected—“the other day I was speaking to a gardener that works here at TST. He told me that everyone assumes he is uneducated and unable to progress and better his circumstances just because he is a gardener. If he is a gardener, he must be dumb—they all say and they neglect him and dismiss his situation as hopeless. But I know from my own experience and from working with TST that all people need are a chance. TST believed in me. Bekka believed in me. She looked at passion, potential and education equally, and that meant everything. So I will do the same. And I will believe in him.”- Rehema
Everywhere in the world we are asked to use external factors to measure our potential and our worth. And too often, the commercial enterprise conditions us to think that we are merely the sum of how people perceive us -- our value is suddenly defined by a rough sketch of our current circumstance, instead of by the tremendous potential that we all hold inside, just waiting to emerge with a bit of kindness and encouragement. TST’s role in the community -- through our various outreach programmes is-- as EB White said, “to lift people up, not lower them down” and to break apart the damaging belief that anything is fixed in life—our dreams, the place we’ve rendered for ourselves in this world and even who we might dare to be—everything exists in a rich expanse of possibility and promise and constant change. To empower the community, we must continue to approach the world with a large heart, to say yes instead of no, to stand behind the amazing individuals we work with, and to let them know that we see their potential, that we care for them, and that we believe in all that they do.
HOW YOU CAN HELP INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS:
Kili4Kids is a virtual running, walking and/or biking campaign that will take place over the duration of the summer. Our staff here in Meru have decided to sign up for a 70 mile virtual hike "up the slopes" of Mt Meru/Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in order to get fit, have fun and support the community in which they live, work and grow.
Local problems require local solutions and our emerging group of leaders work hard to strengthen Meru and to positively inspire the families and children we work with by providing the guidance, support, and gentle encouragement necessary to help individuals realize their potential, and achieve their goals.
If you’d like to support Rehema and the TST team, monitor our progress or even connect with us direct, please click here! We appreciate your support!