In his first application to HYTES in 2007, young Edward Nobo clearly stated that he aspired to be an engineer. In the fall of 2012, we were delighted when Edward became a full-time student in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Dar es Salaam!!
Edward’s story of personal loss and difficulties in pursuing an education is similar to a great many young people in sub-Saharan Africa today. Edward was a child in rural Tanzania, happy in a farming household with his parents and 6 siblings. Primary schooling was attainable in government schools that were free, and simple food was supplied by the farm.
In 2001, when Edward was nine, all that changed when his mother died of snakebite.
“Life became more difficult for us because I myself loved my mother a lot more than anything in this world. My mother was the only one who new my problems… but my father used to give me courage.”
Serious difficulties developed three years later when his father also died.
“We started living a very hard life, walking on bear legs, lack of food and basic needs…I never gave up, I continued with my studies although more difficulties were increasing.”
The family was split; Edward and two sisters, Martina and Esther, were taken in by a kind aunt in Dar es Salaam. Edward completed his primary education, but his aunt could not even feed her extended family, let alone pay secondary school fees for any of them. (Secondary fees are equal to the average annual income in Tanzania). So Edward stayed home for a year. When Martina and Esther also needed secondary fees, the three of them luckily found Mawengi School which generously allowed some students to stay in class, even if the hope of fee payment was slim.
However, when the school was no longer able to pay its teachers, the Nobo children were chased away. Two recent U of Alberta grads, Carol Frost and Glenna McGregor, were volunteer teachers at Mawengi school when they were surprised to see their classes reduced to only a few students as the non-paying ones were literally chased away for not paying their fees. When Carol and Glenna returned to Edmonton, they found donors to support the school, the teachers were paid, the Nobos returned to class, and in 2008, all three, Edward, Martina and Esther, became HYTES students until they all graduated. Now Edward is in university, and Martina and Esther hope to be admitted soon.
These students exemplify our HYTES students. They have the ability, the energy and the determination. We just give them a chance.