The daughter of a farmer and a school teacher, Sioni, for six years, had walked 90 minutes each way to attend the nearest grade school in the region she lived in Tanzania. She went to high school at the Orkeeswa School, a rare, tuition free school in a part of the country where less than one percent of girls go on to secondary education.
At Orkeeswa, Sioni was one of two students asked to participate in the making of a documentary film exploring the tensions between education for girls and the cultural Maasai tradition of arranged marriages while girls are still adolescents. The school’s founder, Peter Luis, is a friend of Brewster’s Head of School, Craig Gemmell. Luis recognized Sioni’s leadership and intelligence and the limited opportunities she had ahead of her in Tanzania. With Gemmell’s help, a postgraduate year at Brewster was arranged.
Sioni’s year at Brewster was mind-expanding and life-changing for her—and her impact on the community went beyond the diverse perspective and life experience she brought to her classmates. Her year-end research project on girls’ empowerment in Tanzania helped earn her an invitation to speak on the subject of child marriages at a United Nations-sponsored panel in New York City.
A second Orkeeswa student, Memusi Saibulu Mollel ’19, has since followed Sioni to Brewster. Recognizing the power of having diverse thinkers who expand the range of dialogue in class and across campus, the Campaign for Brewster aims to increase support for boarding students from across the United States and around the globe.
Investing in Global Scholars is an extension of the Academy’s commitment to bring Brewster to the world — and bring the world to Brewster.