I recently posted to social media about all the new toys and educational games that we have acquired at Toa, but I also wanted to share the news on the blog.

Every year, we are granted an in-kind donation from the International Association of Special Education, usually in the form of things we need for the project as IASE does not like to pay for services or salaries.  In the past, we have bought computers, printers, and office furniture; teaching materials like gradebooks, notebooks, and writing tools; and locally sourced materials like balls, jumpropes, and art supplies.

This year, we decided to do something different and ship some special items from the U.S. to Tanzania.  We did some research on the best educational toys and play-based learning games and came up with a hodgepodge of memory games, counting cards, floor puzzles, and musical instruments.  You can check out the photos below!  And, as always, we are grateful for our longtime partner, IASE, for making this donation happen!

We also started a new initiative at Toa called the Kitabu Project.  Kitabu means “book” in Swahili and we thought it would be cool to have some classic American children’s books translated into Swahili in order to start to inculcate a culture of reading amongst our students.  The first book to be translated is probably my favorite: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.  Ferdinand is a young calf who has no desire to partake in Spain’s famed bullfighting pastime.  No one can understand why not as, after being stung by a bee, he displays the might of a champion.  The moral is one of accepting differences and embracing individuality which, after all, is what Toa is all about.

Up next for the Kitabu Project are The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen and Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus, both with similar messages for kids as Ferdinand.