Student Spotlight: Mary Okeyo to help lives of Tanzanian women

By Jon Lindley

Mary Okeyo hopes to return to her home town of Mwanza, Tanzania, after graduate school to educate young women.

Okeyo, who studies counseling and higher education, has been working to better the lives of Tanzanian women through fundraising events that raise money to build a library in Tanzania.

Okeyo received a bachelor’s degree in sociology at St. Augustine University of Tanzania.

Northern Star: What do you hope to do once you’re done at NIU?

Mary Okeyo: Return to Tanzania and educate women and girls. Due to tradition and social norms, girls are the people who take care of domestic issues around the home, such as collecting water and taking care of children. Because of this, girls are often not able to attend school.

NS: What are the schools in Tanzania like?

MO: The schools don’t have much and are lacking in some aspects, such as sexual and health education.

NS: How does that impact the women there?

MO: This lack of education makes it easy for young girls, who are sometimes married as young as 14, to end up pregnant or become victims of domestic violence, and end up being unable to return to school.