Hello, dear readers, and hope you are well wherever you may be.  I write to you ensconced in the lobby of one of Moshi’s finer hotels as power has been out at mine for the past five days.  The first 24-48 hours were the worst, not knowing if and when I’d get my next shower, cup of coffee, etc.  But now I am making do with my electricity-less life; the fridge has long since puddled out and dried up, I no longer click on lights hopefully upon entering a room, even Drogo seems to have contented himself with the new (dark) status quo.  I’m told it’s just a glitch with the electric company, simple to fix, and yet….

Any(boohoo)hoo, I am alive and well and The Toa Nafasi Project thrives, so I can’t complain too much (more).  🙂

Speaking of all things Toa, we have some very exciting news regarding our 2019 expansion coming up and I hope to be able to post in short course.  We have finished our interviews and made our hires and now the new employees are finding their sea-legs on Team Toa.  It’s all very exciting to watch and it makes me proud as I start to separate myself a bit: Mama Toa leaving her little Toa-lings to fend for themselves.  More on all that in the coming weeks and months.

For now, I leave you with this news about the 16th biennial conference of the International Association of Special Education or IASE.  As you know from past blogs and quarterly reports, The Toa Nafasi Project is both a member and partner of IASE and has been so for many years.

This small but mighty organization was founded in 1985, with IASE members residing more than in 50 countries.  Members include teachers, teacher trainers, professors, speech clinicians, psychologists, health care providers, social workers, counselors, family members, and those associated with related disciplines.  The vision of IASE is to improve the quality of life and service delivery for all individuals with special needs.

Every two years, IASE holds a conference in different cities all over the world.  In 2017, I attended the 15th biennial conference in Perth, Australia and gave a paper titled “Gaining from Training: Cultivating a Professional Persona in a Rural Setting.”  My talk was about how Toa Nafasi not only supports students with perceived learning difficulties in public primary schools, but that we do so by hiring and training formerly unemployed local women to work with them and be their tutors.  In this way, Toa Nafasi has two beneficiary communities: the children who need support to complete their lessons and move successfully to the next grade; and the women we provide employment opportunities to for their own personal and financial empowerment.

The next IASE conference is to be held in July 2019 in Magamba, Tanzania, which is about five hours south of us here in Moshi.  Toa has dedicated itself to helping raise the conference profile in Tanzania and do all we can to make the event a resounding success.  To that end, I am posting – on every social media platform available to me! – the final Call for Proposals which is due in one week’s time, Monday, October 1st, 2018.  Registration will still be open for a while as we have about ten months left before the conference is to take place, but if anyone out there is interested in being a speaker, now is the time to “break the IASE”!  Please check out www.iase.org for more details!!