Updated: 03/03/2013 11:05 PM KSTP.com By: Chris Egert
A group of Minnesotans recently returned from Tanzania, Africa after attending the graduation ceremony of a group of girls they sponsored, from a school they helped to build.
In rural Tanzania, many children don't have access to an education.
The boys work and girls start having children, while they are still children themselves.
A group of a dozen young women were about to do something that hundreds of generations have never done, graduate -- from what is the equivalent of 11th grade.
It is reason to sing, dance, and celebrate for student Sangai Mambai.
Mambai said, "I feel very happy, and I am just giving thanks to God for giving me this time. Many of the girls in the villages are suffering, and others have been taken to their husbands when they are very young because they aren't getting an education."
The MaaSAE Lutheran Secondary School (MGLSS) is funded by a Minneapolis organization called Operation Bootstrap Africa.
Dorothy Borgstrom from Shoreview was one of a handful of Minnesota residents who attended the graduation ceremony in late January. Only 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was also there for this colorful event.
Borgstrom told us, “You just can't believe how hard these girls work, how dedicated they are. They have come from such humble beginnings, their whole life and dedication is about education."
The Minnesota contributors to the MaaSAE School were honored by the families of those they helped to educate by receiving gifts of native clothing.
“We love you, we like you,” the host of the event said enthusiastically into the microphone.
It was a festive afternoon of songs, speeches, and other expressions of gratitude; made possible by Minnesota.
Diane Jacoby, with Operation Bootstrap Africa says she’s not exactly sure what it is, but that Minnesotans really have a heart for Tanzania.
Minnesotans in attendance agreed that one of the more moving parts of the graduation ceremony was when the girls stood up and said a poem. What they were saying, loosely translated was: “God is good, God has provided for us, may more people learn about what's happening at this school, may they continue to give money and help us."
How important was this moment?
Look no further than the doors and windows of the school’s auditorium, outside of Tanzanian city of Monduli.
There were dozens of other students crowded outside hoping to catch a glimpse. Few of these children have even *seen a graduation, let alone participated in one.
Click here to donate to their efforts, and learn more about Operation Bootstrap Africa:
Related 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reports from Tanzania:
Minn. Docs on High Tech Humanitarian Mission
U of M Offers Snapshot of Serengeti
Minn. Doctor Earns Top Honor for 30 years of Humanitarian work in Africa