Not all blog readers are subscribers to our quarterly newsletter and vice versa, so I am taking the opportunity to post our most recent report from the third quarter of 2020 here. We’ll be mailing out Q4 shortly after the new year, and should you wish to subscribe, you may do so right here!
Dear Friends of The Toa Nafasi Project,
What a year so far…. Writing to you now from my hometown of Washington DC where I relocated since leaving Tanzania just over a year ago, it is near impossible to fully comprehend the events of the last nine months. From Coronavirus to racial injustice and brutal violence, from an 8% unemployment rate to 1 in 8 households without enough to eat, from raging wildfires to whirling hurricanes, 2020 America is an unrecognizable mess.
At times, it has been hard for me to continue to work on Toa Nafasi matters when such pressing concerns are being discussed just blocks away from me on Capitol Hill or in the White House. Yet, in fact, Toa has been a salve as the project perseveres, the African continent mostly weathering the Covid storm though greatly suffering the economic consequences. We have all of us at Toa soldiered on because of these smiling faces.
As you know, the Giving Season will soon be upon us and I wanted to take a moment not only to share with you some news from Kilimanjaro in this letter, but also to remind you to that, even with all that is going on here at home, we still need your help in Tanzania.
Nicholas Kristof recently wrote in The New York Times:
“A pandemic of disease, illiteracy, and extreme poverty is following on the heels of this coronavirus pandemic — and it is hitting children hardest. The greatest impact of Covid-19 may be not on those whom the virus directly infects, but on those shattered by the collapse of economies and health and education systems in developing countries.”
Therefore, I strongly urge you not to forego a donation this year but to remember us at Toa Nafasi, 10,000 miles across the world, our 30 hardworking tutors who have elevated themselves from simply mother, daughter, sister, and wife to professional woman with a legitimate career trajectory, our 4 local leaders who have taken over for me and made Toa a Tanzanian-run sustainable organization, and the 1,200 schoolchildren in 11 public primary schools who we support by providing safe learning environments where all learning styles are not only tolerated but celebrated.
Now to let you know what we’ve been up to this past quarter and why you should indeed continue to give to our worthy project!
First off, we became a little famous!! The Toa Nafasi Project was the subject of a lengthy feature on the Tanzania Daily News digital edition in which not only were our tutors and local leadership interviewed, but also government school teachers, headmasters, and even the District Education Officer of Moshi Municipality. You can find the video on YouTube or watch it below.
Check out our feature on the Tanzania Daily News digital edition.
Local directors Augustino Valerian (operations, L) and Emmanuel Mnubi (administration, R) were interviewed on Moshi FM Radio.
Ema’s picture for the 2020 GlobalGiving Photo Contest was chosen as a finalist, and we’re betting he’s going to win it all next time!
Our work on a classroom and toilet refurbishment project in some of the schools in which Toa has a presence and funded by Friends of Tanzania was recognized in their video showcase. After all, a proper physical learning environment is just as important as the social-emotional one we already address.
We are featured at the 4:31 mark in the Friends of Tanzania video.
Yours truly was interviewed for the website IdeaMensch.com in a fun piece about how I came to be the founder of Toa.
A fellow Segal Family Foundation grantee, Tai Tanzania made a stunning short PSA video for us to show parents in order to explain what we do and why we ask for familial cooperation when it comes to helping children with learning difficulties.
Tai Tanzania’s video will help parents to understand what we do and how they can support their children with learning difficulties.
We’ve also continued to strengthen our partnerships with local NGOs on the ground in Moshi such as The Songambele Initiative, another Segal grantee that works with physical disability advocacy and awareness and Pamoja Tunaweza Boys and Girls Club which supports out-of-school youth to develop life skills primarily through the arts.
In addition, we have formalized our professional development workshops with the tutoring staff by bringing on volunteer Belina Modest who, together with Ema, has created an outstanding program of weekly seminars both expert- and peer-led.
Saying goodbye is always hard, but we had to bid farewell to Susan Goodwillie who was our autonomous Strategic Consultant from January through July. Good news though as we welcomed Margot Hinchey to fill the role! Margot spent several years in Moshi where she both co-founded and serves on the boards of the community-based organizations, Simba’s Footprints and Asali. She has a background in international development and grant-writing and has been working with both the local leaders on strategic planning as well as the western team on fundraising.
Finally, even though this year has been pretty messy, we’ve managed to salvage our testing, referral, and tutoring schedules and have continued to communicate with parents and caregivers about their children’s needs. Remember that Tier 1 students are the most typically developed, Tier 2 are flagging slightly behind their peers, and Tier 3 are in need of the most serious intervention.
So, if you’ve managed to make it all the way down here and are still up for reading one more line, once again I strongly urge you to consider a donation this Giving Season. You can donate now or on #GivingTuesday which falls on December 1st this year, coincidentally also World AIDS Day and two days before International Day of People With Disabilities: lots of good reasons to give in 2020! No gift is too small. With very little, you can help The Toa Nafasi Project keep our 30 tutors employed and nearly 1,200 Grade One students reading and smiling. I promise, it’ll be worth it.
As always, our sincerest appreciation goes out to all our friends and donors around the world who make this important work possible. We look forward to reporting back again in early January regarding our 4th quarter activities.
With all best wishes and our many thanks,