Shukuru helps girls invest in their own education.

High school is the road less traveled for a girl in Africa.

Shukuru Girls: A Chance to Be Somebody


Empowering Girls through Education & Entrepreneurship

“I just want to be somebody.” -Maria Jems, 11

Shukuru’s first-ever group of Shukuru Girls seems at first to be a quiet bunch, shy and reserved around adults. They lightly shake my hand and bid a barely audible ‘good morning’ when I greet them.

But don’t let their quiet voices fool you into thinking they have nothing to say. These girls are so full of desire to be somebody that surely they must be ready to burst. For most kids in countries like America, going to school is taken for granted – something they get to do or have to do at least until they’re eighteen. It will set them up for college or a job. But Shukuru Girls, until recently, weren’t able to make any of these assumptions. They couldn’t expect to have any control over their lives or any outlet for their ambitions or individuality. They know all too well what happens to girls who don’t go to secondary school: early marriage, pregnancy, and the temptations of drug use. Even more than these specific dangers, they know that they will have little control or direction in their own lives.

“I want to discover things, like why HIV/AIDS is killing people.” -Norini Adriani, 11

But ask them what do they plan to do if they do get an education. Buy a big house and car? Move to America or Europe? No. They’ll take care of their family. They’ll become teachers, doctors, and nurses to help people. They’ll search for answers to the problems their communities face.

Did I mention that these girls are eleven years old?

We live in a world where millions of girls like these know the importance of education but don’t have access to it. Where their ambition and altruism will be wasted.


But this won’t be the fate of Shukuru Girls. At the end of this month, the girls will receive their first batch of chicks that they’ll learn to raise and, with Shukuru’s support, sell to earn all the money they’ll need to get through secondary school. They and their parents or guardians have been trained in how to build a low-cost chicken coop from local materials. Soon, they’ll be attending a second training, an intensive two-day training that will cover all aspects of poultry raising, including feeding, vaccinations and disease identification. Their communities have risen up to support them in this too: local government officers and livestock experts have been visiting the girls at home to help them prepare for the arrival of the chicks. New coops are being built and existing structures modified.

“We want an education so we will have a direction in life.” – Shukuru Girls, Siha District, Tanzania

These girls are ready to take grab this opportunity to live a better life. They and families are eager to know how to do this project because they want to succeed. They know the stakes.

So, in this season of giving and receiving, remember these girls – remember that they simply want the chance to be individuals, people who can accomplish their goals and who live their lives according to their own vision.


Because under the shy, downcast eyes, there is something burning. A flame I know is there. I know it because of the hand suddenly squeezing mine and the whispered ‘thank you’; the direct look into my eyes when the other students aren’t looking; the sudden torrent of words released to a Tanzanian volunteer asking a girl about her life.

These Shukuru Girls have what it takes to change the world.

Give the Gift of Hope. Donate. Share.

By: Jamie Holbrook, Shukuru Project Manager, Tanzania

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Twitter Updates

A statement from our founder regarding the next step forward for Shukuru…
R friend, Dr. Trent inspires our dreams. Her new bk- a must read, The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in A Can. Buy now:
Thanks @Redwoods1 for your donation and your support. Its always nice to meet more people that believe in what we are trying to do...
It was an amazing two day workshop. The girls learnt so much. Go to our Facebook to see more photos of the two days.
Our girls just completed a Sexual & Reproductive Health workshop with NAFGEM. Go to Facebook to see more photos.
Another sale for 3 of our girls and another happy customer. They manage the sale and the paperwork. A great day.
A new flock of chicks have been delivered to some of our Shukuru girls. Look at those smiling faces..

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