For more than ten years, Kristina Tester (far right) has been improving the lives of so many children in Africa.
By Sue Goatley, Grand Circle Foundation Project Manager and Wilderness Safaris Program Manager
Kristina Tester founded So Others May Learn in 2006 when she was 14 years old and visited Ngamo Primary School on an Overseas Adventure Travel trip to Zimbabwe. Kristina was touched and inspired by the students she met and shocked that many of them could not continue to secondary school because of funding. She decided then to start her organization to give these brilliant young minds a chance at a brighter future.
Since 2007, So Others May Learn has been funding scholarships for motivated students who do not have the means to continue their education beyond primary school. The scholarships are supported by Grand Circle Foundation and Wilderness Safaris in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Many of these students walk miles every day, barefoot and without breakfast, to attend and complete primary school. They are role models for their younger siblings and other children in their communities who now also hope to earn a scholarship and continue their educations. Several of the students who have now graduated from secondary school are volunteer teaching in their primary schools.
The sustainability of education in the communities where the students reside comes from within, and relies on the support and investment from the scholarship students. Therefore, each student is asked upon completion of their scholarship to commit to either sponsoring or mentoring a young, promising student in their community.
So Others May Learn believes that countries that are politically and economically unstable have the greatest need for an educated populace. This is why they do not hesitate to work in Zimbabwe and countries that other organizations might shy away from; they have the resources and Grand Circle Foundation personnel on the ground to operate safely and effectively.
In 2008, So Others May Learn started off sponsoring two girls in Zimbabwe, and soon this number grew to eight students in secondary boarding schools at Tsholotsho High and Sipepa High, and the following year, ten more day scholars at Ngamo Secondary School were sponsored. Several of these first students sponsored are now at university in Zimbabwe. In 2015, So Others May Learn included students in Zambia in their program, and currently sponsors eight students there, one of which is about to start at the local Teachers Training College.
Melusi is an orphan from Kapane Village in the Tsholotsho area of Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, and lives with his grandparents who are both subsistence farmers—he joined the scholarship program while in primary school. He caught the attention of the MD for Wilderness Safaris, Zambezi Region who was assisting his wife with a delivery of textbooks to schools sponsored by Grand Circle Foundation. Despite his size, Melusi was first in line to help with offloading the boxes of books. He was immediately identified as a worthy soul who needed support in order to guarantee him a brighter future and so funding was pledged for Melusi through his primary school education.
In his final year of primary school, Melusi met the dynamic, young American girl, Kristina Tester, who was with her parents on an O.A.T. school and village trip. She took it upon herself to sponsor him through his secondary schooling, which he just completed in June 2017 at the age of nineteen.
Melusi has a passion for agriculture and currently runs a small poultry project at home which helps to subsidize his and his grandparents’ living expenses. Because of this, Grand Circle Foundation and Kristina have enrolled him at Sizinda Agricultural College where he will be studying and broadening his knowledge in all aspects of agriculture, thus equipping him to fulfill his dream of becoming a farmer.
Grand Circle Foundation and So Others May Learn sponsor 36 students in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Thank you to Kristina, O.A.T., Grand Circle Foundation, and So Others May Learn for giving so many young Zimbabwean and Zambian students the greatest gift: an education.
Witness the impact being made by Grand Circle Foundation and So Others May Learn when you join O.A.T. for Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe Safari.