Introducing Ramon!

January 14, 2015

Hello! It is with great excitement that we introduce Ramon Richardson, TFFT’s new Director of Operations! Ray’s passion for education, extensive experience working for educational equity, and legal background make him the perfect fit for the role. Our entire team is eager to work with and learn from him. The Director of Operations is critical to TFFT’s growth and success. We hope you’ll take a moment to read below to see how lucky TFFT is to have Ray on our team. Please join us in welcoming Ray to The Foundation For Tomorrow!


My name is Ramon Richardson, and I am from San Diego, California. Throughout my life I have lived in various locations within the United States. I was born in Wichita, Kansas on May 13, 1977. As a child and as an adult I have lived in many cities – from Wichita, KS to Los Angeles, CA to San Diego, CA to Washington, DC and now Charlotte, NC. I have now been in Charlotte for the past seven months with my fiancé, Rebekah, and our son, Jeremiah. My immediate family includes my parents, sister, three nieces and nephew. My extended family includes fourteen aunts and uncles, and over two hundred cousins. Family is extremely important to me! Aside from enjoying time with family, I love reading books, watching movies, cooking, going to the gym, and taking pictures of nature.


I graduated from the University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA), in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in History. Upon graduating from UCLA, I joined a Teach For America where I committed five years teaching elementary students in the Compton Unified School District, at Ralph J, Bunche Elementary School. After teaching for five years I decided to further my education and attended Howard University School of Law where I earned my Juris Doctorate. While attending law school, I had an opportunity to go to Cape Town, South Africa for a six-week study abroad.  During this short summer experience I had an opportunity to visit and work with orphan children infected with HIV. It was a great experience.


After completing my law degree, I was a practicing attorney in Washington, DC, for two years. I realized while practicing law that working with children and giving back to my community in some capacity was my life’s mission. With a new direction in life, I was afforded the opportunity to become the Principal of Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School, where I served for five years. This past May of 2014, I decided that I need to do something more to impact the lives of children.


My goal for the year is to make the work that we do in both Charlotte and Tanzania seamless. We are in two locations yet the work that we do serves a common purpose. I hope to work with the both locations to make the physical separation of offices seem nonexistent.


I am so grateful for my life’s experiences because without them I would not have found TFFT or had this opportunity to work with staff and the amazing scholars that we serve. I am so excited to join the team and continue in the great work that the TFFT team has already begun. I truly believe in TFFT’s mission and working toward securing quality education and emotional support for underprivileged children. I believe that all children are capable of accomplishing great things, when access to resources and opportunities are provided.


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Introducing intern Mary Hill!

January 8, 2015


Jambo! My name is Mary Hill Brooks, and I am from Charlotte, NC. I graduated from Charlotte Country Day School last May, and am currently in the midst of a gap-year! Last semester, I travelled with a program called Thinking Beyond Borders to Thailand and India to study and work on development in the fields of agriculture and education.


Thailand 2014


India 2014

I am so thankful for this experience, as I feel it molded me into a more effective global agent of change. This semester, as a part of my gap-year, I am so excited to have the opportunity to intern for The Foundation for Tomorrow, both in the Charlotte, NC office, and over in Tanzania starting next month! Aside from school, I really enjoy biking, running, traveling, cooking, and, of course, spending time with my dogs :).


Usa River Academy, Tanzania 2013

A few years ago, I got in touch with TFFT’s founder, Meghann Gunderman, to see how I could become involved with her empowering organization. Both she and Kaitlin Rogers-Perez were so warm in welcoming me into the TFFT family, and in their aspirations to provide vulnerable children in the Arusha area of Tanzania with quality education and stable living environments. I quickly fell in love with TFFT’s efforts after I was a team leader for the SHARE the LOVE Challenge in February of 2013. Shortly after the campaign I applied to be an intern at the Matonyok Orphanage outside of Arusha, Tanzania in June, 2013. As cliché as it sounds, my time at Matonyok two summers ago truly changed my life. My experience led me to acquire a more critical consciousness, and mature into a more confident and capable individual. Since my time in Tanzania that summer, TFFT has become something that I hold very near and dear to my heart.


Matonyok Orphanage, Tanzania 2013

A mentor of mine once told me that the most important values of an active global agent of change are higher order empathy, a strong sense of direction, and the acquisition of power, humility, and curiosity. When I think of these values, I think of TFFT, and that is why I decided I wanted to intern for this organization this semester. Never in my life, have I been exposed to such love, thought, and positivity; three things of which I strive to constantly surround myself with in life. To me, it is so important to have a passion for the work you do because it is only then that you can do it well. TFFT does just that. They put so much dedication into instilling hope and thus the success into the lives of children, who otherwise would never have such opportunity presented to them.


Matonyok Orphanage, Tanzania 2013

Another thing I value so deeply about TFFT is its prioritization of the power of education. To me, education is the most critical aspect of development, and really, life.  And what could be more inspirational than providing future generations with that!


Matonyok Orphanage, Tanzania 2013



Matonyok Orphanage, Tanzania 2013

I will be in TFFT’s Charlotte office until the end of February. Here, I will be helping with social media, database work, and any other multiple tasks. On February 25th, I leave for Arusha, Tanzania, where I will meet Meghann and the rest of the TFFT team. For the majority of my time in Tanzania, I will be living and working at the Matonyok orphanage that I spent time at a few summers ago. I am so thrilled to go back and be with all of the children again, as I know they have all flourished into more intelligent and empowered children since I have seen them last!

I am so thankful and excited to be working for TFFT this semester, and can’t wait for all that is in store. I hope that you all have a Happy New Year, and stay in tune with all TFFT has to come for this New Year!

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TFFT Family Day – A Day of Celebration

December 30, 2014


It was a special day, a day of its own kind, when all TFFT scholars, their guardians and TFFT Staff came together for the first TFFT Family Day, on Saturday 13th December 2014. It was a day of celebration, celebrating the achievements our scholars have made in their academics and other skills they demonstrate after acquiring from TFFT, life skills trainings.

Around 10:30am the 3-hour event started. Erasto, TFFT’s Scholarship Program Manager, led the introduction session of all participants, beginning with introducing the TFFT Staff Team, and later the guardians were given an opportunity to introduce themselves along with their scholars. So when a guardian introduced him/herself, he or she would mention the scholar who would respond with a wave to the participants.




The introduction was followed by break-up meetings. TFFT Country Director, Kennedy Oulu, led one of the sessions along with Hedwiga and myself. During this session the guardians learned about TFFT’s plans and goals for the 2015. We also emphasized the role of the guardians in ensuring the wellbeing of the scholars in health, academics, and general peer matters. The guardians agreed to work very closely with TFFT to ensure that they will play their role effectively.





Melissa and Chloe led a session for the guardians of the Primary School Scholars (Pre-Primary, class 1 – class 7) and Erasto and Uswege ran a session for the guardians of the Secondary School Scholars (high school). The groups used this opportunity to vote for the Most Outstanding Scholars within their categories according to certain criteria, and through this two winners were voted from each category, a girl and a boy.




After a very delicious and filling lunch, it was time for the session that every participant had eagerly awaited: the awards session. The awards that were presented were for Outstanding Scholars in Academics and Most Outstanding Scholars (in life skills areas, such as leadership, discipline and mentoring in general). The academic award was given to 11 scholars, most of whom were the best in their classes at their schools. The Most Outstanding Scholars Awards were presented to the four winners of the votes, two winners (boy and girl) from Primary School, and two (boy and girl) from Secondary School.

The scholars who received academic awards with their classes on brackets are; Upendo Akyoo (Pre-class), Erick Yona (1), Emmanuel John (2), Faidha Shaban (4), David Daniel (5), Miriam Daniel (6), Joyce Elipokea (7), Dickson Simon (Form 1), Joachim Filbert (Form Two), Salvatore Seth (Form 3) and Richard Augustino (Form 6). The Most Outstanding Scholar Awards went to Veronica Pascal and David Daniel, for Primary School Category and by, Vaileth Palangyo and Richard Augustino for Secondary School Category.

These scholars majestically—and with jubilation from fellow scholars, guardians and TFFT Staff—climbed the stage to receive their awards and shake hands with the Country Director of The Foundation For Tomorrow. The event ended with group photos of the award winners with TFFT Staff Team, also with all guardians and finally with all the scholars. Indeed it was a day of celebrations and motivation to put forth even more effort so that next year they will be the ones too to receive the awards.

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Full Circle’s Life Skills in Schools Initiative

December 10, 2014


As I talked about in the last blog, Full Circle is very busy with a new and exciting pilot project! Well, as promised, now you get to hear all about it!


What started out as a quest to encourage teachers to incorporate life skills in their teaching, has turned in a much large project than I ever could have anticipated. Here’s the low-down:

In the Tanzania primary school curriculum, there is a class called Personality Development and Sports (or Haiba na Michezo in Kiswahili). The subject was created in 2005 to instill skills and knowledge like communication, decision-making, health, sports, teamwork, citizenship, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Coincidentally, these are all topics that Full Circle tackles as well.

Melissa, our awe-inspiring Teacher Training Program Manager, saw an opportunity there and brought it to my attention. You see, the curriculum and resources that are currently available for Personality Development and Sports (or PDS) are limited. Because it is a relatively new topic, teachers have never been trained on what it is or how to teach it. While Tanzania has a national testing system for all subjects, PDS is not included. The result of all of this: Teachers are ill equipped and unmotivated to teach the subject, and students suffer from the lack of resources and teaching and never obtain these skills that are vital to success.

So, this is where Full Circle’s initiative comes in. We have designed a three-part strategy to ensure this class teaches students these important skills that.

During the past year, we have created an activity guide that correlates with the national curriculum. The guide is holistic and participatory, giving teachers ideas and instructions to lead PDS activities in their classes. It also gives them the tools to assess student learning and progress for each topic.



The second portion of our support is training. Again and again we have heard from teachers, administrators, and school inspectors that teachers simply lack the information and training for this topic. They don’t know what it is supposed to look like, so they run from it. In the next few weeks, we will be holding a week-long workshop for 20 teachers from 10 schools.


Lastly, we will be providing teachers from these 10 schools with tool-kits to facilitate activities at their school. These tool-kits will contain everything from sports balls, to team-building tools, to paper and scissors. The exciting thing—these tool-kits will only cost around $50 per class! If you are interested in supporting this, just make a $50 donation to our Holiday Giving Campaign!

This week we have a team of 9 in the field doing a baseline study of 20 schools in the district. Throughout 2015, we will be monitoring the implementation of the teaching guide with 10 schools to measure the success, with the plan of expansion in the coming years!

We are really excited about this new project and the potential that exists for TFFT to impact the life skills education that students across Tanzania receive! If you are interested in supporting this initiative through sponsoring a teacher to training, contact with Kaitlin ( for more details!

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Giving Tuesday!

December 2, 2014


Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and now … Giving Tuesday!

Isn’t it apropos that this sequence of events begins with giving thanks and ends with giving back?

As we enter the holiday season, it’s time to celebrate the beauty of family! Families support and uplift each other out of love. This holiday season, we want to introduce you to Fatuma and Bibi, two special members of your TFFT family:




This is a family.
This is a family you are keeping together.
This is a family you are keeping together and empowering through quality education.

Too many babies struggle to survive without parents.
Too many children never step foot in a classroom and go to bed hungry.
Too many families crumble under the hardship of extreme poverty.

You are helping to change this, one family at a time.

By sharing your blessings with TFFT, you help Fatuma receive:

  • Private boarding school education
  • Important life skills (hygiene, study habits, self expression, and more)
  • Quality health and dental care

Because of your family’s support, Fatuma’s grandmother, Bibi, receives entrepreneurship and financial literacy training so that she can better provide for her family.

Every January more vulnerable children become TFFT scholars, and our TFFT family grows. Your gift to TFFT this December will help determine how many more children we can welcome into our family in 2015.

Will you please consider sending a gift to your TFFT family this holiday season? A gift of $15 will help us welcome new scholars into our family.

The TFFT scholars count you among their blessings. Thank you for your grace in sharing what you have out of love for someone else.

Happy Holidays!

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A Video!

November 19, 2014


To witness TFFT’s mission in action is to believe in TFFT’s mission.

While not everyone can hop on a plane to Tanzania, we desperately want you to SEE and UNDERSTAND the impact of which you are a part. And now—thanks to the brilliant talent of Tyler Wohlford with the Halle Project—we have the opportunity for you to experience this virtually.

Tyler traveled to Tanzania this June with his heart open to receive, document, and share TFFT’s story. There was no better person for the job. Tyler is an artist in his craft.

Let’s take a look…

This. Is. What. You. Make. Possible.

Thank you!!



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Jacaranda Season

October 28, 2014



It is jacaranda season in Arusha! For those of you who don’t know, the jacaranda is a tree that blooms a beautiful shade of purple in October and November. It is my favorite time of year in Arusha because it reminds me of the trees changing from green to hues of orange and crimson during the fall season in America.

Planning sessionsIn addition to it being jacaranda season, October is also planning season for TFFT! This year it involved a week of team reflection, strategizing, analyzing, budgeting, and program mapping. As much as this process is exhausting, I am always proud to be part of an organization and team that is innovative and focused on solving critical issues strategically.

TFFT is growing and changing, as is the Full Circle program. Full Circle is all about life skills education. This generally falls into the category of “informal education”. This means that it isn’t math or literature and doesn’t generally take place in the classroom. That being said, there is nothing informal about the planning and the strategic process that goes into implementing life skills education programs.

This week, Uswege and I met with the District Education Office to continue work on an exciting new project that has been in the works for months! Full Circle is piloting a project that will enable quality life skills education to be taught in schools in Tanzania. The success of the pilot program will be allow TFFT to impact thousands of primary students across the country!

In trying to remain innovative and improve our strategies to find what works best, we adapt the program to meet the needs of our students, the education needs in Tanzania, and find ways to maximize our resources to reach as many young people as possible. These exciting developments (which you will hear much more about in the coming weeks), are just a sampling of what Full Circle is up too lately! Activities like meeting with education officials, teaching workshops, celebrating graduations, attending club meetings, and planning for the coming year have kept us very busy! We are so excited to finish the year strong and begin again next year…

view from my office

Just after I finish this coffee and stop staring out my window at the gorgeous view.

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October 23, 2014



Snippets of Outcomes or Impact: A bird’s (Hawk’s) eye view:

Sometimes I imagine that I am an angel, watching over what is happening on earth and taking stock of the things I see. I hope that someday, in my rich imaginations, this oversight over mankind will provide reflections for the most vulnerable children. If you don’t imagine, brother and sister, then it is time to start dreaming.

I became more keen and curious after deliberating with the team during the Annual M&E and Budgeting week of October. I was able to make sense of all the outcomes that our programs have harvested (not on their own, but with their boundary partners) and justifying why they are intended or unintended. This drove me to begin to listen more to what the TFFT team, our visitors, partners, and beneficiaries actually say about our work at TFFT.

This blog is therefore a loose collection of some of the powerful statements that I have heard between the months of August thru October 2014. These words continue to provide encouragement towards our efforts to do MORE with LESS and in staying true to our banter of “small organization with big dreams”. To better understand their impact, I have tried to place the following statements, spoken by TFFT staff, scholars, partners, and potential partners, under the context of which they were spoken:

Redempta We were asleep, but TFFT (The Foundation For Tomorrow) woke us up…In fact, you may think that these materials you support our TRC (Teacher Resource Centers) with will only help the early grade kids. Even for us (teachers), we learn a lot more on reading and speaking English from these kids’ literacy resources.
-Redempta’s (TRC coordinator-Leganga) statement at the Leganga TRC when asked by a visitor what TFFT has done for teachers.

I was promoted (from TRC Coordinator in Meru District to District Academic Officer in Geita) because of the improvement in my capacity as a result of the teacher trainings done by TFFT and through TFFT support. Although I am relocating to Geita, as I have been using these skills in Meru District, I will still be using and sharing them with other teachers to improve teaching and learning in Geita.
-Kassim Musa, sharing with us when he found out he had been promoted, and had to relocate from Meru District to Geita.

When I asked teachers the three key priorities that they need, they said, “Continuing professional development, laboratory equipment and water filters.”
-Kimberly Fog of Global Sustainable Partnership, when she introduced the Hydraid-bio-sand water filters project to the TFFT team and Peter Coughlan of WaterBridge, who was our guest during the same period.

I saw the potential in establishing a savings and lending group in Njiro where I stay with my foster family, because I thought it is a good opportunity to help us save. So far we already have a group of more than 20 people who contribute TZS 6000 every week. I managed to borrow from our savings group (we call it SACCOs[1]) and invested in maize and beans farming in Tanga. Since I have already harvested the maize and beans from my 2-acre farm, I am confident that with the incomes from the sale, I can now afford to pay for my college fees and complete my diploma, but as well, support some of the needs of my grandmother living in the village.
-Vaileth Pallangyo, Post-Secondary TFFT scholar (currently pursuing a diploma course in procurement at Institute of Accountancy-Arusha) during the soft-launch of TFFT’s mentoring and coaching program.

Ken-1 Honestly, we are impressed by the networks that you have so far developed with other SFF partners’ post-annual partner meeting in July 2014. We believe that such strong networks are important for our partners to learn, share and leverage themselves for additional support from alternative sources to keep the good work going.
-Eve Omala, Segal Family Foundation, during a partner visit to TFFT offices in Arusha-Tanzania, commenting on the importance of networking among partners of Segal Family Foundation.

(Question): How many of your scholars have dropped out of the program? (Answer): So far, out of the 103 scholars we currently sponsor, only one dropped out of the program because of circumstances beyond our control. Although we boast a near 100% retention and transition rates of our scholars through the education systems, we also have to accept that, we are now dealing with a higher number of teenagers in the program. These teen-age scholars have their own development challenges and sometimes break school rules or get pregnant and are expelled, for which we give them time to reflect and learn before reviewing their scholarships and continuing their educational/career support under revised agreements. We have the obligation to secure their opportunity to education and skills development. We expect them to learn from their mistakes and make better choices.
-Karen, a sponsor of two TFFT scholars, when she asked questions that help her understand the impact of the scholarship program when compared to other OVC support initiatives.

By sharing these statements, I myself have learned something. There is a lot of insight to gain in being honest with our programs, listening to what people say and reflecting on the questions they ask. All while appreciating how best to evolve, improve services, and provide solutions to the most vulnerable children. When we learn together, we develop greater trust and are able to discuss alternative solutions that work. These statements add fuel to our work and to our strong belief that by transforming mindsets, developing solutions and creating opportunities, we are catalyzing human development in Tanzania.

Ken-2Peter and Gail (Visitors from Waterbridge) receive a gift of local eggs from the Village Chairman in Sinai Primary School.

[1] SACCOs are Savings and Credit Cooperatives

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Our Partner School, Edmund Rice

October 9, 2014

TFFT Scholars Richard Francis and Dickluck Ephrahim wrote this post on Edmund Rice School, where they are enrolled for A-Levels. As a reminder, the full explanation of how the Tanzanian school system works is over here, but the quick explanation is that A-Levels consists of Form 4 and Form 5, the last two years of secondary (high) school.


Dickluck Ephrahim

Edmund Rice is one of the schools under the Catholic Church. The school part started in Australia by Edmund Rice Christian Brothers in 1988. The Arusha school has 1,420 students in total and focuses on giving students the spirit of helping others who are not able to achieve their own needs, which is a good tenant for students to learn.

The school of Edmund Rice has so many things to offer to both teachers and students and it is not based on education only, but also things that you can apply to your life in general. It is a school that raises students talents so that every student in their future can use those skills to help employ him or herself. The school has three pillars that they stand for and take seriously. They are Discipline, Academics and Environment. When the teacher or students go against these three pillars then action must be taken.


Edmund Rice’s environment is very beautiful; this enables the students and teachers to get what is required for the school. Teachers of Edmund Rice are very friendly to their students. They do not want to be harsh to their students and they work very hard to make sure that students follow their lead. Students seem to follow them and do what is instructed, which is good. Discipline at Edmund Rice is very strictly enforced. When you are caught with a certain mistake big or small, you are asked to leave the school because they need to maintain the three pillars both for students and teachers.


Richard Francis

Edmund Rice sets an academic standard or average of 45, whereby when a student does not reach the school average they are also asked to leave. There is no discussion with you at all, it is important students keep above the average. The school is a centre where by a person can learn so many things about education and things that you can apply in your daily life, for example self reliance and other physical activities that can help somebody with his or her life.

Beyond the pillars, the school also provides sponsorship to some students who are not able to pay school fees. This also helps the surrounding communities by providing them social services. The school hopes to build a future for those who might not have been able to go to school and now they are in school thanks to the schools help.



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Entrepreneurship Training

October 6, 2014


I will take you back to this Chinese proverb which says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

It is better to teach someone how to do something than to do it for them. Giving someone a fish is good for the short term, but it is better to teach them how to do it so that in the long term they can take care of themselves. For example, a mother could cook for her children, but if she never teaches them to cook, they will always be dependent on her for meals. If she teaches them how to cook, they will be able to take care of themselves in the long term.

Is this what TFFT is doing? As you know, TFFT works to provide orphans and vulnerable children access to quality education, but we still believe that if these children do not also have a strong home environment, they will not cope well with their studies. Therefore, TFFT finds it worthy to think about strengthening the livelihood of the scholars’ families, not by providing them with food by showing them how they can get support their family throughout their lifetime. To do so, TFFT plans to provide seed money for these relatives and guardians of our scholarship recipients. To ensure that they can make the most of the seed money, TFFT first offered a training on entrepreneurship.

The training was five days training from August 25th – August 29th, 2014. Ten relatives and guardians participated in the training. We also extended the invite to include some of our older TFFT scholars. Through both theoretical and practical sessions, we challenged the participants to consider opportunities available in their area.

Each participant learned how to write a business plan. Leading up to this, we first coached them on:

  • Creativity
  • Quality control
  • Time management
  • Identifying available opportunity
  • Marketing
  • Working with other competitors in the market
  • Responsibility
  • Pricing

They were also trained in cooking different dishes using the available resources in their areas, for example cakes using charcoal or firewood. They were even given different recipes for making different things like tomato sauce, chill sauce, peanut butter, etc.

Hedwiga-2From the mouths of the attendees…

This workshop was quite simply transformative. The consensus was how very useful, in all aspects of life, these skills are and why haven’t we learned them before? Can you imagine if we all had basic knowledge of entrepreneurship how to be creative in whatever business we are doing and think of available business opportunities in our area and act on them creatively. I came to learn that entrepreneurship is an opportunity for making change. I was challenged to think so hard opportunities around my area and creatively think how I could do anything to improve my livelihood with the seed money given by TFFT. The case studies from facilitators where fascinating to tease apart and I learned so much in a week time. I appreciated the skilled instruction and facilitation and the hard work of my peers. It was an intense and rewarding week. As a result of the training I made cakes for our young brothers and sisters in the scholarship program of TFFT during their graduation. I am now making chill source for sell. I collect orders from my college for anyone who wants cake for any occasion. Thank you so much TFFT for this training.

- Violet Pallangyo

This course has transformed me. I’m feeling more empowered. I have gained more skills that make me feel that for any business I will do I can perform better. As a result of the training I made a cake for my aunt’s graduation

- Mary Japhet

The training opened up my mind and created a sense of direction to various entrepreneurship project I am planning to conduct in my area.

- Magdalena Japhet.

I wish I had this training thirty years ago! Thank you so much TFFT. It was terrific. I learned more than I can say. The interactions with other participants were fascinating and the trainer’s ability to guide the group was amazing to see. In fact they call me bibi during the training because I was the oldest among them.

- Zainabu Ramadhani (Bibi Fatuma)

I came in grumbling that the training was a whole five days. I’m leaving wishing it was longer!

- Bernadetha Exavery Orogo.

The workshop was one of the most pertinent workshops I have been privileged to attend…This is a powerful tool to add to any entrepreneur mind toolkit, no doubt.

- Nicemary Felix.

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