Professor Kurt Thurmaier will lecture March 7 on improving young women’s lives in Tanzania

Kurt Thurmaier talks with Lucy, a student at the Nyegina Secondary School.

Kurt Thurmaier talks with Lucy, a student at the Nyegina Secondary School.

NIU professor Kurt Thurmaier will deliver a talk about educating young women in Tanzania to mark International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 7.

The 45-minute presentation will begin at 12:15 p.m. in the Chandelier Room of Adams Hall.

Thurmaier serves as director of NIU’s Division of Public Administration and also is president and cofounder of Tanzania Development Support (TDS), a nonprofit organization headquartered in DeKalb.

TDS has been actively working with grassroots NGOs and local organizations to empower men, women and children in Tanzania to lift themselves out of poverty through education, training and community development.

Since its inception in 2008, TDS has been partnering with the Nyegina Secondary School located in Nyegina, Tanzania, a small community near the city of Musoma in the northwestern region of the country.

To date, in cooperation with local officials and the Nyegina School administrators, TDS has funded the construction of a girls’ dormitory and has begun plans to build a library/teacher resource center for the school’s students, teachers and neighboring villagers.

The title of Thurmaier’s presentation is “Kidogo, Kidogo: Patiently Investing in Girls’ Education.”

The phrase “kidogo, kidogo,” means “little by little” in Kiswahili and represents the slow and steady improvement in the lives of people living in extreme poverty when girls are given the opportunity to receive an education.

Thurmaier will explain how education expands the students’ perspectives, raises their lifetime incomes, provides greater job opportunities and impacts the lives of the people in their families and communities.

Other planned speakers at the event include Mary Nehring and Elizabeth Rodriguez, students who studied in Nyegina with Thurmaier in a summer 2011 study abroad course.

Amy Lowe

Amy Lowe

The presentation will premiere a new video about the work of TDS that features a recent composition by singer/songwriter Amy Lowe of Chicago. She and fellow artists collaborated with Delmark Studies to produce the song titled, “Kidogo, kidogo, A Little Bit Goes a Long, Long Way.” The song describes the daily hardship that families face as they survive in a world that is sparse and harsh.

Entwined with descriptions of hardships is the hope embraced by boys and girls attending school because they know that education offers an opportunity for a better future and “the change for the families, community, country and the world.”The message also reflects the journey of TDS to be instrumental in improving life for the Nyegina community.

For more information on the presentation, contact Pamela Rosenberg at prosenberg@niu.edu or (815) 753-9530.

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