SIOUX CITY – A student supervised by the Ministries of Educational Medicine of Siouxland Tanzania, or STEMM, graduated from high school with the highest academic score in the entire East African country.
“It is thanks to this support that my life has changed. STEMM has given me an opportunity and hope for my future,” Leocadia Mbukilo Kayandakamo wrote in a letter provided to the Journal.
STEMM, an interfaith Christian ministry, provides medical, educational, spiritual and humanitarian assistance to children in need. It was founded in 1996 and organized in 1997 by Dr Steve Meyer, Reverend Jon Gerdts, Mike Boose and Lazaro Nyalandu, who led a group of 10 Siouxland residents on the first trip to Tanzania in 1997.
For the past 25 years, Meyer said STEMM sponsored Tanzanian children throughout high school and college. He said STEMM provides each child with up to $ 500 to cover round-trip transportation costs to school, school uniforms, testing fees and more. He said STEMM also had mentoring and leadership clubs in 28 schools across the country. Leocadia was one of the selected students for the STEMM scholarship program.
“She is the No. 1 student in the whole country of Tanzania and the only girl in the top 10, and also the only girl who has ever been No. 1 that can be remembered,” said Meyer. “It’s just amazing.”
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Meyer said STEMM makes it a “demonstrable priority” to educate Tanzanian women, as they then take that education and use it to change their villages for the better. He said STEMM’s goal is to develop 500 young leaders every year in Tanzania who can impact generations to come.
“This is truly amazing validation and a testament to what the people of Siouxland have done to support STEMM’s educational program,” Meyer said of Leocadia’s accomplishments. “It’s not like we’re throwing money at the problem, we’re really trying to become almost like guardians and surrogate parents for these kids. A lot of them are orphans or growing kids. in a mud hut in the middle of the jungle somewhere, they don’t have much resources.
Leocadia wrote that STEMM paid her school fees and provided her with newspapers. She said she was also able to attend the STEMM club, where she said STEMM members meet weekly to “help each other on topics, behaviors and personal matters.”
“Today I’m so excited to tell myself and tell the world that I finished high school with the best performance in Tanzania. I scored the division (1.3) which is the highest score . In addition, I am the country’s first student (Tanzania One) in the national exam. I am very grateful for the support from STEMM, my parents, my teachers and my fellow Machame students, “Leocadia wrote, who will attend the University of Dar es Salaam and study law. “I want to be a lawyer so that I can help my community and the young girls of Tanzania to realize their dream.”
Meyer, an orthopedic surgeon based in Dakota Dunes and his team have made several trips to Tanzania, providing ongoing assistance to children in this African country. In addition, the ministry has also trained Tanzanian doctors, built roads and an orphanage, and provided other opportunities over the years. STEMM feeds 5,000 Tanzanian children at school every day, according to Meyer.
In 2017, 35 people were killed in a school bus crash near Karatu, Tanzania. Three children survived the crash and were airlifted to Sioux City, where CNOS doctors operated on them at MercyOne Medical Center. The children, nicknamed “Miracle Kids”, were able to return home in three months. They have since graduated from high school, according to Meyer.
STEMM is hosting its annual auction, “A Night of Hope”, on November 11 at the South Sioux City Marriott Riverfront. The proceeds will go to the children of Tanzania.
“I am so excited about what is going on with STEMM. In addition to our education program, we have 51 beautiful and wonderful orphaned children who, if they weren’t in our orphanage, would be on the streets. dead. They would be trafficked. They would have a miserable life, “Meyer said.” Now they are being raised in a beautiful family environment with moms and aunts and siblings. “