STAR Programme

STAR (Steps to Academic Readiness)

Our innovative STAR Programme is a way for vulnerable young Tanzanians to have an equal chance of completing education and gaining employment. Through our centre we offer three stages of educational support:

Foundation

Disadvantaged youth (aged 15-22) join the Foundation Programme after a rigorous selection process based on need, motivation, and lack of alternative opportunities. Candidates for the programme are highly vulnerable, often at-risk, young men and women who have left the traditional school system due to reasons including low quality education, poverty and trauma.  

The Foundation youth attend the centre on a full-time basis and we provide two nutritious meals each day, to ensure our youth are fully able to make the most out of the opportunities provided.  For many, this is the only food they will have in a day.

The core curriculum consists of English, mathematics, global studies, sciences and life skills.  Extra-curricular activities include arts, sports, career and leadership workshops and after-school clubs where our youth develop new skills and knowledge while building their confidence. 

A final component of the Foundation Programme is our health and counselling services.  Each youth is assessed by one of our qualified social workers so that we can better understand the physical and emotional health of each participant.  If issues arise that require attention from external mental health or medical services, we provide support, guidance, and establish connection between the family and the appropriate external professionals.

While Umoja youth experience similar vulnerabilities similar to many of their peers, theirs is compounded by poverty and lack of social safety nets.  As a result, more interventions and targeted attention is given to youth while attending the Foundation Programme and beyond.  The Foundation Programme helps our youth to create positive change for themselves academically and emotionally, arming them with the tools needed to succeed in subsequent programmes and navigate a safe path into adulthood.  We encourage critical thinking, better decision making, and self-awareness, enabling our youth to (re)create a pathway to an independent and meaningful life. 

ISC (Intensive Secondary Certificate)

We created the ISC Programme on site at The Umoja Centre to offer consistent, high levels of pastoral support and ensure that our youth have the best chance of success in completing their education and participating in the job market. A two year intensive curriculum (rather than the standard four), also enables our youth to catch up to their more fortunate peers and enter the job market while they are still young.

 At Umoja our youth are with us full time and receive academic counselling and support.

The ISC Programme at Umoja combines two national curricula: the Qualifying Test (QT) and Private Candidate (PC), each of which takes one year to complete. After successful completion of the PC course and national examinations, an Umoja youth will be awarded a Form Four Secondary Certificate (O-Level). This will enable them to continue their education at colleges, vocational training centres, or to seek A-level qualification.

Outplacement

After successfully completing the Foundation and ISC Programmes, we continue to support the youth through our Outplacement Programme. Depending on the students’ academic performance, skills and career choice, we provide mentoring, support, and scholarships to enrol in vocational training, college, or university.

 

Umoja has established partnerships with a select number of educational institutions who offer the quality of education and pastoral care our youth need for continued growth and success.

 

We have an open-door policy for our youth to return to Umoja whilst they are studying at another institution. We encourage the Outplacement youth to return to Umoja to seek guidance and support or to use the IT lab and library. Throughout their studies our full-time Outplacement Coordinator visits each youth at their institutions to review their progress and overall well-being.

Once our youth have successfully completed their education, we provide employability skills training and mentoring until they find a job. This includes interview skills, CV writing, and job search assistance and advice. Our aim to gradually transition our youth towards independence as they move through our programmes and into employment.

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