For young, disadvantaged girls in Tanzania who had no hope of a better life, Nurturing Minds represents a beacon of light in their oftentimes bleak existences.

Nurturing Minds is an organization that seeks to improve the lives of young girls in Tanzania through financial support of educational programs. Tracey Dolan, a board member of Nurturing Minds, says it was her "adventuresome" sister, Polly, who founded the organization and inspired her to get involved. Polly's passion for education and helping disadvantaged girls, along with her love of Africa, spurred her to action.

According to the Nurturing Minds Web site, many girls drop out of school before they even finish primary (elementary) school. In some cases they lose their parents to malaria, HIV/AIDS or other diseases. Others are just too poor to afford uniforms, books or transport to school. Some have such a high burden of household chores at home, or in someone else's home, working to support themselves, that there is no time for school.

Through financial support and technical advice, Nurturing Minds is helping the Secondary Education for Girls' Advancement (SEGA) develop a girls' secondary boarding school in Morogoro, Tanzania. SEGA is made up of a core group of four Tanzanian citizens and one American who are committed to improving the lives of Tanzanian girls. The Sega Girls School will provide a quality academic education emphasizing leadership skills, social responsibility and environmental care. To support the attendance of economically disadvantaged girls, SEGA will provide scholarships to at least 50% of the student body.

You can see images of the school's development and its students at a special photo exhibit, created by photojournalist, Sarah Bones, at Penn State Brandywine's Vairo Library, Nov. 12-25. Vairo Library is open Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., and closed on Sunday.

Please visit the Nurturing Minds Web site at http://www.nurturingmindsinafrica.org/ to learn more about this organization.