Dare2Dream: The ‘Beds for Girls’ project
Lack of a safe bed near school leads to poor education performance and girls dropping out of school which is especially troubling as an education is often an avenue for girls in Tanzania to escape forced marriage.
To address the problem, African Initiatives got involved with CASEC to launch Dare2Dream, a project which has been implemented in two phases. The first phase took place in 2009, and involved the construction of 45 school dormitories. Since then, funding has enabled 31 of these dormitories to be furnished with beds, leaving 14 dormitories currently unfurnished. Girls are forced to sleep on the floor which comes with significant risks beyond uncomfortableness; these include contracting pneumonia in the winter or malaria in the summer given there is no bed frame on which to attach a mosquito net.
The dormitories are much securer than ghettoes: students are looked after by a matron who lives with them and there is always a guard present on duty at night. In addition, pupils are provided three meals a day and have extra time for their studies, all of these factors have led to increased concentration for learning and improved retention, academic performance and school completion, Simon commented.
Further, the building of dormitories increased community awareness of girls’ safety. It also strengthened the partnership between parents, teachers and the local government for it assured parents that their children were safe and it meant they were more willing to send them to secondary school.