Photo Credit: Educating Africa
'I'm Sending African And Caribbean Girls To School Through My Educating Africa Fund'
Budget traveler Tessy Mosindi started the Educating Africa charity in January 2020 to aid disadvantaged African and Caribbean girls by providing them with access to a free quality education. Originally from Nigeria, she resides in Brimingham, UK, where she works as the head of computer science and business at a secondary school.
As a teacher and mother, children and education are near and dear to Tessy’s heart, especially when it comes to young Black girls. Educating Africa was born out of a real need to send underprivileged girls to school.
“According to UNESCO, 67% of girls of secondary school age in sub-Saharan Africa do not complete their schooling,” she told Travel Noire. “Being someone who is very passionate about my continent, I really wanted to work to change this and have a positive impact, even if by only helping one girl at a time.”
Though the organization’s main project is providing school fees, it also covers the costs of any extra provisions, including uniforms, books, and extracurricular activities. With the support of various donors from all over the world, Educating Africa is able to provide its own community workshops, as well as personal hygiene care packages.
Community workshops range in topics from personal hygiene and teen pregnancy to online safety and career development. These workshops are put together by collaborative efforts of the Educating Africa project manager, partner schools, and volunteer mentors.
“Our dedicated volunteers bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help our girls achieve success. Our programs cover aspirations, growth mindset, leadership, career focus, STEM, creative arts, vocational courses, and other empowering skills.”
“We believe investing in skills development is important because education alone may not be sufficient to propel young women to achieve their full potential. From computer programming and auto engineering to fashion design, we believe that all girls should be empowered to pursue a career in any field they desire.”
Tessy’s charity previously raised enough money to send girls to school for the entirety of their secondary school journey. Partnering with a school in Mpape, Nigeria, four girls were selected.
“We also just recently created a computing hub with our partner school in Mpape. Our next goal is to ensure we train teachers and at least 55 girls in the Mpape community over the next few months.”
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Educating Africa has continued to provide support for the girls it is sponsoring throughout the pandemic. The organization distributed COVID relief food packages and COVID care packages containing a variety of products and resources.
For the past two years, Educating Africa has also delivered Christmas care packages to bring joy to children who otherwise may not have received any gifts. The organization welcomes donations of items, such as used clothing and footwear, electronics, books, and any unwanted gifts that can be used in care packages for young children.
As an African-British woman who was raised on the continent, Tessy is happy to be able to give back to the place where she can always feel at home and at her most comfortable.
“I definitely feel more welcome in Africa than anywhere else. For example, when visiting Mauritius it was like being in Lagos but with more beaches. There is a feeling of pride being there, and I feel this whenever I am anywhere in West Africa. I love visiting the Gambia, where I grew up, for this reason. It’s a beautiful feeling knowing that I am understood and embraced there.”
One thing she realized, however, is that many of her African counterparts are not afforded the same travel advantages as she is with her British passport.
“I have come to understand how privileged I am to not have as many visa restrictions as say, my husband, who is Nigerian.”
Her travel experiences beyond Africa have ranged from eye-opening to downright offensive; from people lining up to take her picture, to a person asking if they could call her the N word. It is these experiences which led her to start the No Visa Required travel podcast to showcase the experiences of Black travelers.
“When you visit some countries, especially in Eastern Europe or Asia, there is this sense of awe like they don’t see enough Black travelers going on holiday and enjoying a life of relaxation. They tend to see us more as economic migrants who travel for work or study. And while there is nothing wrong with this, we have a right to be perceived by more than just one identity. So what I’m seeking now as I continue to travel, is to encourage more black millennial travelers to explore the world.”
Tessy is excited for what the travel industry has in store once COVID-19 restrictions start to ease. “I definitely think there will be more visible Black travelers as more of us come to appreciate travel after being restricted from it throughout the pandemic.”
She is currently planning trips to Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania. For more information on Educating Africa, or to make monetary or supplies donations, visit educatingafricafund.org and follow @educatingafricafund. You can also listen to the No Visa Required podcast and follow Tessy at @astoldbymansa.