Fall is here and, while I am still in Kilimanjaro for the next two weeks and far from any freshly fallen leaves or crisp cool air, I can almost taste it!  I will be headed back to New York City for two months, returning to Tanzania in time for Christmas and New Year’s, for my usual fundraising/doctor-seeing/family-QT-having/boot-and-sweater-donning season in the States.  Meantime, Hyasinta, Gasto, Allison, and the new team members (more on that to come!) will hold it down here in Moshi.

As most of you know, our fundraising season actually already kicked off last month with an accelerator on Global Giving, a global crowdfunding platform for grassroots charitable projects, and we are about halfway towards meeting our goal of $10,000 via that campaign.

We also set ourselves another goal this Giving Season with the 5x5x5x5 challenge whereby we aim to raise funds for our proposed expansion from four participating public primary school sites in 2018 to nine in 2019.  Our goal is to raise $25,000 to reach students in 5 additional schools in 5 additional wards in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania in 5 months.

To that end, we are sending out friendly reminders to our current donor community and beyond to join in our cause and help support The Project.  And just so you remember some of the folks that Toa helps, we’re here to tell you who they are!

This blog’s title is a play on “Mr. October,” Reggie Jackson’s nickname during the Yankees’ stellar 1977 post-season, modified for our own superstars with The Toa Nafasi Project.  I speak of course of the local women with whom we work, who seek steady and gainful employment opportunities, receive training as tutors or teaching assistants, and support both children struggling with learning difficulties as well as their teachers in the government school system.

In 2013, when The Project was initiated, there was only one “Sister October.”  That was Vumi.  Vumi and I worked together for a year and a half and then she brought on Hyasinta, Dorin, Dorcas, and Clara.  Four sisters became thirteen in 2016 with the hiring of Rose Assey, Rose Chaki, Sia, Imelda, Leah, Sarah, Marietha, Glory, and Nelly.  Next year, Toa’s Sisters October will total 28 as we launch our proposed expansion.

Thus, this post is dedicated to them, the “Sisters October” who this month will be celebrated twice with UNESCO days of recognition.

First, on October 5th, we will commemorate World Teachers’ Day which focuses on “appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world, and providing an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.”

Then, on October 15th, we recognize the International Day of Rural Women, and “the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall well-being.”

Quite a month ahead for the Teachers Toa/Sisters October.  Join us in celebrating them by helping us to reach our Global Giving goal this week.  To donate, please visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/the-toa-nafasi-project/