Girls In Science.

These are two girls among the big group of girls who are in science field. How did they get where they are now?!
Get to hear their stories.

My names are Hellen Kidatu, a 23 year old Tanzanian. I am a botanical science graduate (botanist) from UDSM and a STEM education enthusiast. I currently work as the founder and team leader of the scienceforwomen initiative, a movement that influences young people’s engagement especially young girls to STEM fields of education and careers. Being a botanist, I love agriculture and on my journey to become an Agripreneur in horticultural field. I love writing poems, reading and singing as my hobbies.
I was born in Arusha and it’s where I spent most of my time as a young girl but currently living in Dar es Salaam. Being bright and outstanding, made me encounter blows that for one reason or the other I know for sure if I was a man it couldn’t have been the same.

 “How is it possible while you are just a girl”, “Ooh wow! For a girl this is really smart of you”, “hey,men! How can a girl just outsmart you”, Don’t try that, unless you were a man, these were just few of  the compliments and views that bothered me hearing all the time as I grew up. At some point I felt as if there were things just not meant for me because I was born a girl. There were times I allowed others to take compliments for my wins just to skip the awkward feeling. I know many girls have/are facing more or less of these situations. But you know what? After sometime I decided to choose the tough paths, always went for the difficulties so that I’d prove they can be done and done by a girl. 

I remember choosing a science class at my secondary while deep down I loved arts subjects more than I did the science ones and even performed them best than the others. But just because I knew I could do them both and still do best I chose that path. Again the blows were even stronger, I passed well, went for my PCB and finally UDSM. At this point I wanted to be a doctor (it was again the toughest I could think of) unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to be enrolled at the universities I dreamt of studying it and since my roots weren’t entangled to that career I went for another, botanical science. My decision was just based on the fact that it’s a STEM career and at one of my dream universities, at this point I really didn’t know what I wanted as a profession just that it had to be a STEM one. This again made me eager to find myself and the purpose I was created for. It’s not easy, and if you are at this point in life just invest in yourself more and seek God. It was clear to me and I knew for sure I can’t stand seeing any girl out there who can’t live their dream just because of some stereotypes; harassment or bullying they face for any reason, but again my love for science was even much stronger as it built an innovative and creative self in me as each day passed. I realized the world was a body at its development pace with large room for stem professionals to take part in leading that hasn’t been filled and again girls are mostly left out. That was when scienceforwomen came in to make that change that happen.
Corona experience

This pandemic has surely come as a devastating and stressful concern to all, not to speak of nations down to single individuals. Personally, it has ruined most of my agendas and plans for the year including projects on stem promotion, and clearly my career goals. But again a coin has two sides, and I find the other side of this pandemic interesting and clearly leading to my growth. 

It’s actually a turning point for my life because I’ve been using this time reflecting and gaining clarity on my vision and long term goals. I have refocused my role in influencing for STEM education and even got better ideas to go about. I normally write poems on my alone time, each week I’d do one or two but this period I got so much time to reflect and even write a poem each day and I find it really relieving. I also prepare podcasts about stem and share them on my social media platforms and read a book each day. I am also learning a lot through different online platforms from cooking new things I never had before, to online classes on different productive topics and even came up with a business idea that I plan to implement as everything is nearly back to normal. Adding to that, I got a privilege to volunteer with UNICEF as a Covid-19 champion strategizing on safety and peace for the vulnerable at this period. So it’s all worth it. Above all I use this time to strengthen my relationship with God, expressing my daily gratitude even for the little things I have and praying even more.

My advice to young girls.
Today go for that dream, that productive desire you have in heart. If you don’t have an idea about it or how to go for it, seek God! He knows and has the best plans for us more than what we desire for ourselves. I believe a woman’s beauty is in her strength, her courage, braveness, optimism, her clearly defined purpose and goal in life, her outstanding personality and confidence. With all that nothing and no one can shake you. You can live your dream and be all that you want to be, have all that you love having. The path is never easy, don’t compromise with your current situation, there are no favors from people unless it’s God. You have to work hard for your space and show that you deserve the stage. No one is ever going to give you space on the table unless you fight hard for it and prove you are worth it. They say “you either choose to influence or be influenced”, there’s no being in the middle. Just have what it takes! And that’s your beauty! Carry it and execute it everywhere and in everything you do. Again it’s my dream to see more young girls pursuing STEM field careers and professions, because it’s possible. And you can go for it at any point of your life, it is never late! You don’t need a STEM bachelor to do it. That innovative idea you have is all it takes, keep learning each day as much as you can about it and before you know it you are right there.

Let me leave you with one of my beautiful poems called “A SHE” it’s a poem that speaks of the power and beauty that comes with you after you realize your energy and the power of change that lies in you as a woman/lady/girl.
Thank you!

From Helena Sailas,

"Since I was young my Father really wanted me to be a doctor so he always brought me science books for studying, he was very strict in my science studies at school. So from their science subjects become my first priority ,on the other hand what motivate me the most my father health was not stable he were always complain about his health that make me eager to be in medical field so I can able to cure him but bad luck he died before I became In medical scientist".

 "I am  well determined and vigorous individual, yet pleasantly calm. I encourage fighting for what you desire and believe in, and doing it through God because nothing great comes easy and with God everything is possible. Through what I’m doing and what I’ve achieved I think its inspirational to many girls out there" 

HELLENA M SAILAS was born in Mbeya City Tanzania, 24 years old ,Holder Diploma in Medical laboratory science , She is the second born out of three children, her parent were ordinary businessmen, his father strongly encouraged the children to  go to school /study hard since they were illiterate, her parents were to strict for their children concerning school issues  in 2011 her father died when Hellena was 15 years old, After her Father  death Helena started chased out of the school because of the school fees, the situation hurt her so much because she never experienced that situation, her Dad was very responsible father on the Earth, despite he has an ordinary life but he was always make sure his children never missed out to school because of school , life continued to be difficult and that time she started to feeling that the full responsibility of her life depend on herself  ,she finished  O- level secondary school but she decide to take certificate course at collage in order to get Job so she can help her mom and her young sister ,she studied Medical laboratory technology for two years at Mbalizi Health Institute (MBEYA).While she was in collage she started multiple  small business so she can accommodate herself in collage life ,she was selling beauty product like soaps ,clothes to her fellow student ,during the early 2014, Hellena became involved with exposing social works by joining different NGO’s .she learnt a lot from different field ,in 2015 she finished her collage certificate  and got a job in Dar Es Salaam at CLINCHEK LABORATORY and that time she was Just 19 years old ,she started dependent life at that age while she help her Mom financially and help paying her young sister school fees apart from being employed Hellena but business for her was in her vein she was still do some business in part time in order to increase her income ,she also like to interact with positive minded people so she was still continue to attend some seminars and conferences for improving and enhancing her skills ,she tried many business like tailoring ,selling school bag, selling kids stuffs  but in 2016 she got chance to volunteer in one of the organization called PHEDES TANZANIA (Psychosocial Health and Entrepreneurship Skills).she was working in the entrepreneurship department whereby they used to sew clothes for brides and grooms and then help them find a location for a photo shoot which was mostly in the beach. Always when they go to the beach they found many trash including plastic ,Hellena was feeling bad and that make her eager to find solution in plastic waste ,she started doing research on plastic waste in different website in the internet and that’s is when she found about recycling business so she started collecting plastic waste for the fact of start selling them to the companies  that do recycling  but as long as she was doing she gain new experience in plastic waste and she found that you can recycle plastic waste into different product like fuel, Petroleum ,and building materials ,she started doing practice on how to recycle plastic waste into building materials ,she failed many time making formula for manufacturing Eco-bricks made from recycled plastic waste her friends and family wasn’t support her idea at the beginning they were said what your doing is impossible you can’t turn plastic waste into building materials but that’s doesn’t make her to give up she was still finding a formula by trying different method ,one day she success to make a first prototype of brick .The brick was in bad quality but she was happy because the success make something tangible ,few weeks later she continue in prototyping making bricks in different  formula and finally she was able to bake seven bricks that was good in appearance she decided to take those bricks to the laboratory at UNIVERSITY OF DAR ES SALAAM where she tested all necessary test for bricks ,the results came out of 7 bricks only three bricks was approved to be used according to engineering requirements so because she was recording every steps she makes for bricks production she return and look for the formula she used for those three bricks that is how she become with right formula for making bricks , she continued to produce bricks by also collecting plastic waste around the street and beaches areas by organizing beach cleanup with environmental volunteers ,she establish her company of recycling called ARENA RECYCLING COMPANY where she has been able to employ  5 people working full time for her company and employ more than 30 people who are working part time at her company .while she was doing all of things. Her company bring so many changes in the community on the other hand she achieved to receive some recognitions and award in and outside the country.

 Hellena continued on her studies where she finished her Diploma at KAM COLLAGE OF HEALTH ALLIED and now she is about to enroll her Degree course Medical Laboratory Science at Ontario Tech University in Canada.

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  1. Inspiring stories from hustling ladies, am kids will also have their own world, these girls are making the world a better place to live through their initiatives.

  2. Woow this is amazing, interesting and inspiring. God bless you on your way