Hello readers, and happy new year to one and all.

The new academic year has just started in Tanzania and staff on the ground are busy as bees preparing our activities for the new cohorts of Standard One students in the 11 schools in which Toa Nafasi will be providing services in 2020.

From my side, in Washington D.C., I am working on shoring up funding so that the activities in Moshi can continue unhindered.  We continue to grow and undergo changes of various sorts, but the one thing that will never change is the need for money!  😉

To that end, I am sharing a donor letter that went out in early December to a select number of friends and family in the hopes that any passing readers out there might be moved to give.  Actually, it’s a darn good letter anyway, so even if you’re not spurred to contribute, you can enjoy my plucky wordsmithing!  🙂

Enjoy, my friends, and be well.  We shall have more news for you from the ground very shortly!!

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“People thought this is kind of a loony agenda.”  So said Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, recipient, along with two colleagues, of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.  The agenda in question was to improve outcomes in child education and health as a tool for alleviating poverty in developing countries.  What made them loony was that they were operating at levels deemed “too small, too local” to have much impact.

Time and a prize have proved them right, however.  One of the researchers’ too small, too local programs was an educational intervention in Indian schools.  Recognizing that current teaching methods were inadequate to meet student needs, they recruited tutors for low-performing students resulting in measurable and lasting achievement (The New York Times, 10/14/2019).

Sound familiar?  Undoubtedly, since this is The Toa Nafasi Project’s agenda as well.

Over the last seven years, we have consistently implemented this agenda, thanks to your ongoing commitment and support.  As of 2020, our program will be in 11 public primary schools in 10 wards in Moshi Municipal District, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania.  We will employ 29 local women as tutors in order to reach approximately 1200 Grade One students.

Some people might think that this outreach is too small and too local, but we believe that impact should be measured by factors other than numbers.  Strengthening the existing system is an important part of what Toa Nafasi does, but so is introducing new concepts to ameliorate it.  Our work, in partnership with local education officers, has brought about: a greater understanding of learning disabilities and different learning styles; a bridge between school administrations and parents/caregivers; the professional development of formerly underemployed and marginalized local women; and improved learning outcomes for hundreds of first graders.  For Toa Nafasi, there is no level too small nor too local to have value.

But 2020 also charts a new path forward, namely a change in Toa Nafasi leadership as I return to live full-time in the United States.  As founder, I will always remain committed and involved in The Project, but the day-to-day operations are now under local leadership, a transition we spent the year preparing for.  I like to think of this as “development in action,” or the process by which change occurs as a result of efforts made by those who will be positively affected.  It’s an exciting time for Toa Nafasi.  Stick around; you won’t want to miss what happens next….

We recognize—with gratitude—that this important work depends on you.  If you have already given this year – thank you!  Your gift has helped to further our small and local agenda and is appreciated by staff and students alike.  If you have not yet given, or wish to give again, here are some ways in which you can help:

  • Professional development for one tutor –> $ 210 a year
  • Support for one student (including school supplies, medical care, psychosocial services) –> $550 a year
  • Special needs boarding for one student –> $1070 a year
  • Support for the work of one tutor in a Toa classroom –> $1530 a year

Or simply contribute any amount with which you feel comfortable.  There is no gift that is too small.

Please donate by making checks payable to: The Toa Nafasi Project, P.O. Box 20086, New York, NY 10014.  You can also donate online at: www.toanafasi.org.

Thanking you again for your generous support, we send you our very best wishes for this holiday season!

Sincerely,

Sarah Rosenbloom, Founder, The Toa Nafasi Project