One of the most rewarding parts of having a blog, besides getting all the crazy thoughts out of my head, is the amazing people I get to meet through it both in person and virtually.
I featured Adele Miller in this space back in 2012. We met in a local coffee shop and talked about The Jitegemee Project, a secondary school she and her late sister were aiming to build in Tanzania. It is a wonderful story of sisters giving back to a place where they taught in the past and is still in so much need.
I featured The Jitegemee Project in my book, Simple Giving, in the chapter on taking action on your passion. We met for coffee this week to catch up and had a wonderful conversation. She is quite an interesting person who travels a lot, lives off the grid and gives back in so many ways. She has been doing a lot of fundraising for The Jitegemee Project and was happy to report that the roof recently went up at the school and that it would hold both elementary and secondary classes.
To celebrate the new roof and honor Adele, the following is an excerpt from Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day:
After finishing her master’s degree in education at Stanford University, Adele Miller felt the need to give back to the third world. She and her sister taught in East Africa in the late 1960s, shortly after Tanzania had gained its independence and started to allow girls into the classroom.
Forty years later, some of the students they taught had become qualified and experienced teachers. Adele and her sister developed a strong bond with these women over the years and shared a vision of creating a primary school complex.
The Jitegemee Project was born when Adele and her sister realized that not much had changed since they had taught in Tanzania decades before. While women and girls were more common in the classroom, the schools had just as many needs.
Jitegemee is a Swahili word that signifies the energy, spirit, and commitment that one individual or a community has deep within that brings about growth in themselves and others. “Education is the key to life” is the Jitegemee Project’s motto. Their specific goal is to contribute to the much-needed education facilities in Tanzania by building a fully equipped primary school complex in Buyuni, a newly developing residential area outside the capital of Tanzania.
There are seven phases to the Jitegemee Project, from the initial buying of the land to the completion of the interior finishings. All of the workers are locally hired, and two Catholic Tanzanian Sisters provide guidance on the development of the project on-site. The complex is coming together piece by piece, and classes are added gradually. While the complex is still under construction, classrooms are also used to house teachers and students. As of 2015, a second floor has been built. Next on the agenda, once the money is raised, is the roof and glass for the windows. As money comes in, construction continues.
The Jitegemee Project has truly been a global grassroots project, with Adele, in the United States, and her sister and a group of trustees, in England, leading the way. They’ve held various fundraising events and worked to spread the word about their project however they can. They’ve never been paid for their efforts, and they’ve done the work on their own time. Though Adele’s sister passed away in 2012, the group she had formed in the UK is still raising money toward the completion of the Jitegemee School.
When the project is complete, the school will educate more than five hundred students every day. And those students will be taught by hardworking women who are committed to a lifetime of social service just like Adele and her sister.
You can find out more about The Jitegemee Project on their website.
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.