His green light came shortly after contacting the Global Education Link (GEL) Agency, a student recruitment agency. Now in a university in Canada, he says the lessons he got are invaluable. From the word go, he did not even know what he really wanted to study. At the agency the professionals guided him through the steps on how to wisely select a course of study.
Mcharo’s experience is an inspiration as much as many other Tanzanian students dreams of joining higher learning institutes in Europe, USA, India, and South Asia. The GEL’s Director, Abdul Mallik Mollel, his aim was to assist the government through combined efforts with embassies, private investors, professional agencies, international education institutes by providing opportunities for Tanzanians to study abroad since there are imited education opportunities in the country.
“Tanzanian students can take advantage of gaining experiences from developed countries,” says Mollel. He says that by helping students in Tanzania achieve this goal, he felt it was vital to offer them career guidance as they sought studies overseas. He adds, “The team assists students in every possible aspect and ensures that from the time they start searching to when they land at the university of their choice abroad, they are provided with all the assistance that they require, enabling smooth and hassle-free
process for them.”
Listening to accounts of different Tanzanian students who have gone abroad through their programme, Mollel says: “Career selection and proper guidance is easier when these young people interact with experienced counsellors,” he says. Growing up, Mollel is the second born child in his family. Brought up in the Arusha suburbs, life was not always a bed of roses for him, but his parents ensured that he was brought up in a strict Masai/Muslim background. He was quite a bright and aggressive kid since early age and thus able to relate well with his teachers, agemates and his community.
During his years in high school, he says a friend came up with information about studying abroad , something that caught his attention and set his mind on going and pursuing his studies abroad despite the hard economic times . After clearing his ‘A’ levels, he came to Dar es Salaam to research on what was needed of him to be able to go abroad, he was given all the requirements necessary and was never tempted to give up. for The fact that he had reached this far, there was no looking back.
However, at the back of his mind, he knew what was required of him was an uphill task.He went back to his father and explained
what was on his mind. He says the father offered to help despite the high expenses involved.. During his flight to UK, he made a new friend who was also going to study in U.K They bonded immediately and luckily the new friend was going to live with a sister who had been there for a long time.
The friend invited him He to stay together at the sister’s place. He was relieved and silently thanked God for helping him, “things were finally looking up for him.” Arriving in the U.K he was hosted at his friend’s siater’s place for two weeks during which time she also gave him a ride to the university every day and helped him settle down.
He made friends with his fellow Tanzanians. He heard different tales of everyone’s encounter in U.K. Life became very difficult, as he had left home with only enough mey for one semester and very little for upkeep. As an international student he was lucky he was allowed to work outside college.
Since his university was quite expensive, he opted for another college and moved to North London, at the end of the first semester. He was able to work to sustain himself at the college cafeteria and in the college grounds during vacation. He took on assistantship jobs on campus,working in restaurants and distributing posters in order to support himself.
He advises students going abroad for the first time to seek comprehensive information about the countries, the universities and culture of the people. “Students need to be furnished with the correct has information. Many people leave their home countries with certain expectations only to be disappointed because they did not get sufficient information, ”he says Mollel adds, “Culture was a shock to me. It took me time to appreciate the way people dressed in the UK. In retrospect, when he went to the United Kingdom for his degree, he saw what Tanzanian students went through to get to higher learning institutes of learning abroad.
Many of his friends and tutors supported him, their generosity gave him a deep desire to give back to society, as so much had selflessly been given to him. From his own experience, he knew that most new students from foreign countries faced a nightmare finding their way into the United Kingdom. “From locating the college, finding cheap accommodation, the supermarket, thrift stores for affordable clothes, to simply getting a bus pass to travel from one point to another are almost impossible without a friend to
help,” he notes. It is then that he decided to play host and guide to Tanzanian students who were joining universitiesin the UK.
He would accommodate up to five of them in his two bedroomed apartments as he helped them shop around for housing. To help his guests travel to and from college with ease, he bought a car from a fellow student and subsequently repaid in instalments over a year. At the time, he hosted more than 30 students for the four years he was in college, and never asked any of them to pay a fee. He was happy and realised early enough that one does not lose anything by helping others.
“Helping is a very enriching experience. At some point the organisation that had helped him to go to UK appointed him the contact person for students coming to the UK from Tanzania,” he says. Throughout his stay in the UK, his mind was constantly on his family
and Tanzanian youth back home. And although most of the friends he had made in the UK urged him to stay on and work there, he had his heart fixed on a big dream, which culminated into him heading back home after his degree in Business Management.
In a bid to offer an opportunity for students to study in UK and other parts of the world, he started the agency. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, he concludes, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’.