Jenipher Mpondela, now a freshman at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, is the Tanzanian representative in Ashinaga’s class of 2015. Ashinaga Foundation aims to send one student from each sub-Saharan African country to university on a scholarship each year.
Originally from the Mwanza region of Tanzania, Jenipher is one of three siblings cared for by a hard-working single mother. The loss of Jenipher’s father took a serious emotional and financial toll on her family. Jenipher’s mother struggled very hard to send all her children to school. Jenipher and her family did their best to adapt to changes and overcome life’s obstacles. Education was most important, and Jenipher believed if she studied hard, she would have a greater chance to succeed in life.
Jenipher remained diligent and motivated, excelling in math and science subjects. Her academic prowess, intellectual aptitude, and social focus made her a good match for Ashinaga’s Africa Initiative.
Jenipher’s “kokorozashi” — a Japanese word that translates roughly to “life mission”— is to bring advanced technological development to Tanzania. She plans to major in Computer Engineering at University of Michigan so she will be equipped to help make the country’s mechanical and computer systems run more effectively and efficiently. Imagining new ways to foster collaboration among local technocrats, she also plans to study psychology so that she can better understand the intersection between human behavior and technology.
Ashinaga looks forward to journeying with Jenipher as she begins the next chapter in an already successful life.