I am delighted to say that Frank Sakalani has just graduated from university having completed his studies in Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering. It is a remarkable achievement for a young man from humble origins. It shows that with a lot of hard work and dedication, mixed with a healthy dose of good fortune, giant obstacles can be overcome.
I have recounted the tale of how I met Frank before, but I’ll recap. In 2012 I was in Buigiri and I would often receive notes on scraps of paper from people in the village. These would detail the various issues their families faced – requests were often for food, medication or occasionally for something completely outlandish. Frank wrote on behalf of his aunt who had a broken leg and she needed a splint and medication to help it heal. The letter was extremely eloquent and it was a surprise to hear it had been written by a young schoolboy. We met up and it became apparent that in spite of the lack of good quality education, Frank had spent his free time studying to try and better himself. After our conversation I decided to help him with his continuing education.
I supported Frank through his GCSEs and A-levels and he was offered a scholarship to university. This meant he did not have to pay tuition, but he was still liable for food, rent, school books, uniforms, a laptop etc which are prohibitively expensive for a young man with just pennies in his pocket. I shared his story with a number of friends back in Bristol and several have kindly provided the support over the four years he has spent at university.
Throughout the whole process, Frank has been a superb communicator, sharing his progress with me and keeping me informed of his successes and setbacks. He has also become involved in a locally run NGO called Builders of Future Africa which is concerned with supporting the youth and searching out those who have real potential at improving Tanzania if they are themselves given the opportunity. I am extremely proud of Frank and the success he has become.