Steve Pope

Year Joined MKLM: 2015
Country: Tanzania
City: Mwanza
Focus: Education and Sustainable Development
Project(s): Education For Better Living (EBLI)
People Served: Young mothers (teenage – 20 years old)
Project Goal(s): EBLI aims to help young mothers improve their lives. It seeks to give them tools to boost their socio-economic wellbeing. This is done by providing access to a high school education, business/entrepreneurial training, and computer training.

Personal Data:

Steve has been teaching and coaching at his former high school. He graduated from Boston College, where he majored in history and minored in Theology. Steve spent five months in South Africa serving at an AIDS orphanage. He volunteered in the U.S. as an ESL teacher and mentor.

Steve says, “My time during Orientation with MKLM validated my decision to come serve in mission as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. I see such wisdom, insight and authenticity from the many long-term missioners who are part of our training curriculum. As I look ahead to Tanzania, I’m looking forward to learning about how to become more loving.”

After language school, Steve taught at Father Ramon Boys’ Secondary School in Nyegezi, Mwanza. He taught History, English, and Bible Knowledge. Steve taught various sections of Freshmen. He also worked with the boys in Debate Club and taught them various things pertaining to physical wellness and exercise.

Current Ministry:
Steve recently began teaching English at Education for Better Living (EBLI), a NGO in Mwanza, that serves teen mothers who have dropped out or been chased from school. He’s teaching 20 students intensive English for three hours a day, aiming to give them a foundation in the language. After their time with Steve, they will enroll in a GED-type program. Hopefully, they will eventually earn their high school equivalency which will help them get work.

Still new at EBLI, Steve has spent some time helping his new colleagues sharpen their English as well, which will benefit their report and grant writing. Most of all, Steve enjoys EBLI’s culture and commitment to these young women. Steve is the second recent Maryknoll lay missioner to serve at EBLI, following in the footsteps of Michael Leen, who taught similar students business and entrepreneurial workshops.

Steve’s personal goal is to teach his students English as well as possible. He recognizes that almost all Tanzanian students struggle with English as they enter secondary school. Their tasked with taking subjects such as Chemistry, Physics and Biology, while simultaneously learning the basics of English. Steve is thrilled to have several months to cover the foundations of the language before they take on this herculean effort.

He hopes to teach them useful, practical English, as well as that which will be needed to write essays, read books, etc. He greatly enjoys interacting with the students, sharing elements of American culture, and learning more about Tanzanian life in the process. He hopes to instill a “love of learning” in his students. That intellectual curiosity was something absent in his first ministry. Yet he thinks it’s attainable in his new one. This is true largely because of the refreshing, progressive attitude of EBLI’s director.