Well, Christmas is now over, Hanukkah is now over, and only the New Year’s holiday remains between us and getting back to work in a brand-new, and hopefully much better, year.

We hope you all have had wonderful holidays, celebrating in whatever religions and whichever traditions you hold dear, and with whoever you chose to stay safe and smiling.  At Toa Nafasi, we celebrate inclusion all year round, but at the end of each year, it always seems to be valuable to underscore this sentiment and to drive home the point that, despite our differences, we really are all the same, trying to live our lives to the fullest and get the most out of each day.  And for that chance, we should be thankful, especially as 2020 draws to a close.

At the start of this year, I had an idea to hold an Appreciation Day to coincide with Thanksgiving in the United States, knowing I would not be in Tanzania to give thanks for all that our partners and stakeholders have done for us over the year.  I did not know then just how important this event would turn out to be given the hardships we endured: school closures, job insecurity, political upheaval, staff changes, and all the rest.

Augustino and crew ended up putting together quite the shindig in Moshi and it exceeded my expectations.  Please read the report below and enjoy the photos and videos.

And, have a very happy new year, from all of us at The Toa Nafasi Project.

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“The Toa Nafasi Project Appreciation Day was held on Friday, November 27th, the day after American Thanksgiving, at Kili Hub in Moshi.

It involved staff from Toa Nafasi such as all the tutors, Augustino, Hyasinta, Belina, Navo, and Margot; government teachers and headmasters/mistresses from the 11 schools we work with; partners such as Building a Caring Community, Kipepeo Community Foundation, Songambele Initiative, Pamoja Tunaweza Boys and Girls Club, MOTO and Wazo Pevu Organization, Linda Community Project, and Madam Dorah from KCMC Hospital.

Also, there were guests from the government who represented the Regional Commissioner’s office and the District Education Office.

It was a day for Toa Nafasi to give thanks to all the different stakeholders who show support and provide a direct and/or indirect impact towards The Toa Nafasi Project’s achievements in supporting schoolchildren with learning difficulties.

Guests started to arrive at 10am in the morning and it was a pleasure for the Toa Nafasi staff to welcome all the guests.

The ceremony started immediately at 12pm after the arrival of the guest of honor, Mr. Yusuph Munishi, a representative from the Regional Commissioner’s office. The emcee was Madam Leah Mboya, one of Toa’s head tutors, and she opened the proceedings with a prayer and welcomed all the guests.  After that, she welcomed the deputy director, Mr. Augustino Valerian, who introduced all the guests who had arrived.

Next, there was various entertainment and games from tutors of Toa Nafasi.  The first group began singing a poem appreciating all the activities done by Toa Nafasi founder Sarah Rosenbloom, also appreciating partners and all people who cooperate in making Toa Nafasi grow and fulfill its mission.

After that, there was a group showing different teaching tools used in teaching children especially those with learning difficulties.  This group had prepared very attractive tools for the students to use in learning and they explained well to the guest of honor and other guests on how those tools are being used during teaching.

Mr. Augustino then explained well about the project: how it works, the challenges we face, and recommendations of what is needed to be done.

As he finished presenting, there was a drama from tutors of Toa Nafasi, who acted showing on how they teach slow learners and how they work with government teachers and parents; it was good fun!

Then there was a word from the guest of honor, Mr. Munishi, who said he will help The Toa Nafasi Project to be getting new work permissions quickly.  Also, he insisted that the headmasters/mistresses from government schools should help Toa to get classrooms in the schools in which they work.

After that, there was a distribution of certificates of appreciation to the partners of The Toa Nafasi Project which were handed over by the guest of honor.

In the end, food and drinks were served to all people who attended the ceremony and a networking session ensued.

In short, what was prepared as a small event turned out to be a very big event with lots of friends and stakeholders who celebrated with us as our way of saying thank you for what they have done for us, enabling Toa Nafasi to grow and fulfill its mission.”