Ashley Shuyler, the founder of AfricAid and its interactive sponsorship program called the Kisa Project, wrote us a detailed progress report on each of the three Tanzanian students we sponsor with profits from GIRLS WHO ROCK in New York City. As we previously blogged, the girls finished a 10-day leadership training summit in July, where they not only learned to launch a business and write a children’s book, but they also created these three videos in which they narrate their lives and dreams!
We proudly present to you each girl’s assessment from Ashley and her digital story — this is your chance to know her better than ever before. Please take a moment to leave a comment back to any or all of the girls, as we will be forwarding them along!
“Elizabeth is one of the smartest girls in the group, usually keeping her opinion quiet, but speaking up at critical moments of a discussion, at which point the other girls really pay attention. As you’ll see in her story, she is committed to becoming a businesswoman so that she can prove to men that girls are capable of doing great things as well. She’s also quite the fashionista of the group, and spent a lot of time looking at the photos of you all and commenting on how beautiful everyone is. She truly couldn’t believe that Kat Deluna had performed for her, and she loved watching the video as well and seeing the other performers. She picked up using the computers really quickly and was soon doing Google searches for “Disney movies,” which made me smile. She’s a truly special young lady.”
“I wrote the following about Grace in a dispatch home to friends and family: ‘I wish I could share with you the stories of each of these extraordinarily special young women. But I firmly believe that you’ll be hearing about them in the years ahead – they are determined to make big changes for their families, communities, and nation. One student, Grace, approached me early on in the workshop. Although she was the athlete and jokester of the group, I realized immediately that she had a big vision that she demanded to be taken seriously. She told me that, ever since she was young, she had felt an irresistible need to help orphans and street children – but that her brothers and family had simply laughed at her when she expressed this goal to them. She told me that she had given up hope – both for her dream and for herself – but that everything changed when she was selected for the Kisa Project. She asked me one evening not long before the end of our time together, “Do you really think I can do it? Can I really help street kids?” When I told her that every person in Kisa was behind her, she revealed that she had already begun making plans to start a small business, through which she would donate a portion of her profits to support street children, and she was beginning to research how to adopt orphans – so that she could adopt two of them in later life. I hugged her with the deepest of admiration.’ You can see that she truly tugged at my hearstrings. Even though she presents herself as a tough, athletic and cool young lady on the outside (and, by the way, has an unbelievably sophisticated sense of humor), she has the most well-defined and serious vision out of all of our Kisa Scholars, and is absolutely determined to bring it to life.”
“Happiness is quiet and unassuming in a group, but when talking one-on-one with her, she comes to life and is really one of the smartest in the group, right up there with Elizabeth. She is very community-minded and would always be watching out for the group and generously helping her fellow students, even when she, herself, came down with a cold. As you’ll see in her digital story, she’s also quite the artist and has had a challenging childhood. She, along with the others, was so excited to hear about the concert!”