Dear Friends of The Toa Nafasi Project,
This newsletter has been quite difficult for me to write, hence the lateness in getting it out to you. There has been the joyful distraction of new motherhood which has made getting any work done hard, but there has also been the sting of bad news and further uncertainty on the horizon which has tamped down my mood and made it difficult to write.
I open this letter with the devastating news of the loss of one of our tutors to COVID-19. Rose Joseph Assey passed away after a fierce battle with the virus which had her in critical condition and receiving oxygen in her final days. We are all sobered by the shocking news of her death and many other tutors have reported symptoms of not feeling well. Thus, we are pausing our Friday professional development workshops for the tutoring staff and advising all Toa staff to stay home if they feel unwell, follow proper protocols regarding masking and social distancing, and receive the vaccine if they choose/are able.
It is indeed a sad and uncertain time.
Rose Assey, a Toa tutor since 2016
Her fellow tutors lay Rose to rest
In terms of programming, our Q2 letter picks up where Q1 left off. After the general parents meetings and observation and assessment of the new Grade One students conducted in the early part of the year, we were able to complete individual parent interviews of those children deemed to be in Tier 3 based on the Response to Intervention model. Talking to parents and caregivers gives us a fuller picture of the child’s background, what might be contributing to his/her poor performance in class, and how Toa can help.
Tutor Doreen M. interviews a student’s guardian
We also took part in several events this past quarter.
In April, our Education Officer, Belina Modest, and our colleague from Building a Caring Community (BCC), Suzan Ngowi, traveled to Karatu, about 250 kilometers north of Moshi to give a lecture on teaching methods for students with special needs.
Suzan giving her training in Karatu
On May 28th, we participated in Menstrual Hygiene Day which was coordinated by our partner NGO, Femme International, and held at Mwereni Primary School. The 2021 theme was No More Limits which addressed the oppressive side of the menstrual taboo.
Violet from Femme speaks in front of female students at Mwereni
And on June 16th, our tutors participated in the International Day of the African Child, where commemorations were held at Moshi Secondary School and involved various NGOs found in Moshi Municipality as well as students from different schools.
Youngsters celebrate a day for themselves
Finally, even though we are ceasing our PD workshops for the tutors for the moment, we did ave some good ones this past quarter.
Belina puts on her best public speaking face
Guest lecturer Duncan Mgati spoke to the staff about Child Rights and Protection. We have worked with Duncan for many years in his capacity as Social Welfare Officer in Moshi.
Duncan Mgati from the Social Welfare Office
Kaiza Sakafu, a Family Strengthening Consultant
As for our students, we plan to continue to work with them for as long as the pandemic permits. Should schools shut down again, we will do our best to keep in touch with their families and wait out the storm.
And lastly, in our efforts to keep Toa going through the pandemic and keep all our staff employed, our fundraising team has been hard at work writing and submitting grants. We were successful in the rollout of our third extensions with both Segal Family Foundation as well as International Foundation and are still awaiting word from: Aga Khan, African Women’s Development Fund, Feminist Review Trust, Flahive Family Foundation, US Embassy Dar Es Salaam Small Grants Program, WISE Prize for Education, and African Union.
We hope to have more – and better – news to report next quarter. Until then, we are sending out our very best to all our friends and donors. We thank YOU deeply for hanging in there with us and supporting us in whatever capacity you can. It’s because of you that we are able to do this important and impactful work.
With all best wishes,