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The Faces of Orkeeswa- Bertha

Meet Bertha, a Form Five Orkeeswa student, and listen to her tell her story.

As a young child, Bertha's father died, leaving Bertha and her 33 siblings and step-siblings with their mothers. A very traditional man, he did not wish for any of his children--especially not his daughters-- to go to school. Indeed, in Maasai culture, typically women are married off very young, with the groom's family paying the bride's family handsome sums--usually in cows--for the daughter. This was all Bertha could see in her future before her dad died.

Bertha wanted a different life. However, after she passed Standard Seven, the last grade of public education available under the current Tanzanian school system, she didn't see where else she could turn. Her mother, while very strong and determined to get her daughter an education, could not afford to send her to school on the paltry artisan's salary that she needed to feed her family.

But then Bertha found out about Orkeeswa Secondary School, and learned about the amazing opportunities that were being offered. Today, Bertha looks back at the time just before her discovery of Orkeeswa and smiles. "I didn't believe in my life that I would be a secondary school student."

Since coming to Orkeeswa, Bertha has been studying hard to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. She says that the amazing students, good teachers, and great environment all foster a learning environment in which she can pursue her dream with confidence.

As Bertha says, at Orkeeswa "everyone is given a chance."

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