Hi all, and welcome to another installment of The Toa Nafasi Project’s “Teacher Features.”  In the past, we’ve highlighted Walimu Rose Assey, Glory Mongi, and Terewiael Mshiu.  Now we bring you Mwalimu Sia Mtenga’s brief autobiography.

Please remember that these short bios of our tutoring staff in their own words are a bit outdated – 2016! – so some of the information, mostly the personal stuff, has changed a bit.  Lots of our tutors have gone from being slight, single girls to grown women and have married and/or had babies, expanding our extended Toa family!

We are working on putting together new portraits of both our longer tenured tutors as well as the newer members of staff and we’ll get those up on this blog in due course.

In the meantime, please meet Mwalimu Sia who this year became Head Tutor at Msandaka Primary School as well as a new mother to a beautiful healthy baby…. 🙂

(As always, my English translations are in italics below the original Swahili.)

Naitwa Sia Maxmini Mtenga.

I am called Sia Maxmini Mtenga.

Nina miaka 28, nimezaliwa katika wilaya ya Monduli mkoani Arusha.

I am 28 years old, I was born in the district of Monduli in the region of Arusha.

Nilianza elimu yangu ya msingi mwaka 1996 huko Rombo na kuhitimu darasa la saba katika shule ya msingi huko Kiseeni, Rombo 2002.  Baada ya hapo nilibahatika kuchaguliwa kujiunga na elimu ya secondary katika shule ya Makalima iliyoko Rombo mwaka 2003-2006 na kuhitimu kidato cha nne.

I started my primary education in the year 1996 there in Rombo and graduated Standard Seven in primary school there at Kiseeni, Rombo in 2002.  After that I was lucky to be chosen to join Makalima Secondary School which is in Rombo from the years 2003-2006 and graduated from Form Four.

Mimi ni binti bado sijaolewa.  Ninaishi na wazazi wangu na ndugu wengine.  Mimi nina mzazi mmoja ambaye ni mama mzazi aliyebaki anaishi mkoani Rombo.  Mimi ni mtoto wa sita kati ya watoto saba katika familia yangu.

I am a daughter and am still not married.  I live with my parents and other relatives.  I have one parent who is my birth mother who remains living in Rombo region.  I am the sixth child of seven children in my family.

Mimi nimeifahamu Toa Nafasi kupitia Mwalimu Temba ambaye ninaishi naye na alinishauri nijiunge na huo mradi sababu aliuona unasaidia.  Tangu nilipojiunga katika Mradi wa Toa Nafasi nimepata mafanikio makubwa sana.  Nimeweza kupata ajira, nimeweza kujitegemea kwa kutimiza mahitaji yangu muhimu ambayo awali nilikua siwezi kuyapata bila kumtegemea mama yangu.

I became familiar with Toa Nafasi through Teacher Temba who I live with and she advised me to join the project because she saw it was helpful.  Since joining The Toa Nafasi Project, I have had great success.  I have been able to find employment, I have been able to support myself by fulfilling my most basic needs that initially I could not do without depending on my mother.

Sia was awarded Teacher of the Month in February 2017!

Watoto wa Toa Nafasi wanafaidika na huu mradi kwa sababu kwanza afya zao zinaimarishwa.  Na pia wanasadika kwenye mambo ya masomo yao kupitia hatua, mfano tunaanza na mwanafunzi ambaye alikuwa hawezi kusoma au hawezi hata kuhesabu na kadri tunavyokaa nao kwa muda mchache tunaona wanavyobadilika na kujitambua.  Pia Toa Nafasi inawasaidia watoto wapende shule kwa sababu tunafundisha kama walimu marafiki zao wanapata upendo ambao unawafanya wawe na tabasamu mara zote wanapokua maeneo ya shuleni.

Children in Toa Nafasi are benefited by this project because first their health is strengthened.  And also they benefit from things in their lessons through steps, for example we start with a student who cannot read or write or even count and as we stay with them a short time we see them as they change and become self-aware.  Also Toa Nafasi helps children to love school because we teach like teachers who are their friends and they get love which makes them smile all the time they grow up in the areas of the schools.

And in 2019, as Head Tutor at Msandaka, Sia led the general parents meeting at the start of the year!!

Hivyo basi kwa kupitia mradi huu wa Toa Nafasi unasaidia sana watoto, mimi mwenyewe, pamoja na jamii inayotuzunguka kwa kutoa ajira, na kujali afya ya watoto wetu.

So through this project of Toa Nafasi you help the children, myself, and the community around us for providing employment, and caring for the health of our children.