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IRIS YES Alum Starts Tutoring Program in Tanzania

November 8, 2013

Kibacha Students

While in Iowa, IRIS YES students learn, connect, and participate in their host family’s community.  They build leadership skills and engage in educational opportunities. We believe the experience and knowledge our students gain in Iowa should be applied when they return to their home countries.


Hassani Msanga (Right)

From starting internet cafes to being featured speakers in webinars, our YES alumni have gone on to influence their communities in innovative and unique ways.  YES Alum Hassani Msanga is no different

Msanga was an IRIS YES student in 2008-2009.  While living with his host family in Cedar Rapids, Msanga was very active in the Jefferson High School service club. He participated in various community projects, learning the importance of volunteering while developing a heart for it. At the end of the program, Hasanni was voted YES Student of the Year by YES staff.  The award is given to the student who not only excels academically, but also goes above and beyond by engaging in community and host family activities by educating others about his or her culture and country.

When Msanga returned home, he did not hesitate when he had the opportunity to give back to his village in Same, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

“I saw how Americans help each other in many things. I was inspired by the American Spirit of Volunteerism. From that I learned that many people in my societies have so many problems that I can actively help,” Msanga explained.

Msanga noticed his community’s lack of math and science teachers caused students to perform poorly.


Kibacha Students

Coupled with this observation and what he learned during his stay in Iowa, Msanga created a tutoring program for his village in August 2013.

Kibachi students faced limited resource, few teachers, and no access to libraries or laboratories. Msanga started the program at Kibacha Secondary School, providing free tutoring in math and science for Kibacha students.

Msanga felt it was his responsibility to share the knowledge he acquired while in Iowa to provide opportunities for his village.

“One of the main objectives of YES program is to enable us [to] pick good experiences and knowledge so that we use it to provide positive changes in our countries,” said Msanga.

The program’s goal was to prepare students for success in the classroom.  Realizing its importance, Msanga made reading central to the program so students would develop reading habits and obtain even greater access to education.  Msanga focused on student participation to enhance the learning experience, and emphasized societal issues like gender issues the and the AIDS crisis.

A total of 580 students participated in the program.

The program made an impact, increasing math performance at the secondary school.


Kibacha Students

Because of Msanga’s hard work, many of the students in the tutoring project passed their final exams and are in their first year at University.  Msanga himself is studying medicine at the University of Dar Es Salaam.

Msanga is incredibly happy to see students who believed they couldn’t enroll in higher education, attending University.  He credits the tutoring program.

Many of the students Msanga tutored dreamed of becoming mathematicians, teachers, and doctors.  But their access to the resources required to achieve those dreams was limited.

“Due to the condition of their schools, [the students] started to lose their hopes. My tutoring project was a special tool to bring their hope and dreams to become true,” Msanga stated.

Msanga’s program was made possible in part by funding from IRIS Youth Exchange and Study alumni program fund.  The YES program is funded through the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Experiences such as Msanga’s cannot thrive without the team that steps up to support our YES students. Want to join the team?  We would love to have you volunteer, donate or become a host family!

Call 515-292-7103 or email at let us know!

Donations can be made online at to IRIS at
or mailed to:
IRIS, Inc.
600 Fifth Street, Suite 301
Ames, IA  50010


Kibacha Students

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