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Student Profile

Maria (Nasikoi) Papaa Kingi

Maria (Nasikoi) Papaa Kingi Maria was born in 2008 in the village of Engaresero, Ngorongoro, Arusha, Tanzania. Maria’s family is poor and uneducated. Maria was initially very fortunate and obtained a scholarship to  enroll in a private primary boarding school in Loliondo through the efforts of Sister Angelica of Germany. After she started school, she was withdrawn by her father who objected to her education and wanted her at home to work with her mother.
Among many tasks assigned to Maria, she was very good at selling the handicrafts that her mother produced for tourists. Since selling handicrafts was the family’s main source of income, Maria worked very hard day and night. She would walk from one tourist campsite to another, visit the waterfalls, Lake Natron, and other tourist sites to meet tourists and sell handicrafts. She was respected as one of the best sellers of handicrafts in the area. At the age of eight, Maria had already been sold for marriage to an older man by her father for three cows and was to be married in three years. During the summer of 2016, Maria met Daphne, a 7-year-old from the US, who was traveling with a group of tourists. Maria and Daphne spent the next 24-hours together and became quick friends despite the lack of a common language. Upon returning to the US, the American group decided to see if they could support Maria’s education. The group contacted Martha Ole Misiko/ENCO and together they arranged for Maria to start primary school in September 2016 at the Arusha Meru International School. Because Arusha Meru school is an English language-based school and because Maria did not speak English, Maria attends pre-school in the mornings and is tutored in English in the afternoon. Maria did well during her first semester and is quickly learning Swahili and English. She is also reported to be quite good in math. Maria now lives with Martha and her family in Arusha.