RIDETZ: The Ultimate Gift

April 8, 2014

MEGHANN

Do you love the idea of RIDETZ, but know you’re not the bike riding type? We have the perfect way for you to feel a part of the crew that will travel 400 miles from Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean this June. We select one TFFT scholar to participate in each epic RIDETZ journey.  This is an incredible opportunity for a TFFT scholar to broaden his or her horizons through an experience that invites the scholar to see Tanzania in a unique way and to interact, share, and engage with people from half way across the world!

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Just think of the: personal stories shared around campfires, motivation and encouragement from fellow riders, and life lessons…in addition to incredible mental and physical challenges, tumbles, cultural awakenings, and seeing the OCEAN for the first time in their life. This is what our previous student riders Simon and Richard experienced through RIDETZ. Imagine the impact!

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Richard experiencing the ocean for the first time:070richard_oceanYOU can provide that impact.

How would you like to help make all of these firsts possible for one of our scholars?!

It costs $3,000 for one student rider to participate in RIDETZ. Yes, this is a lot. The impact, however, is tremendous, and we are looking for a special donor who is able to provide this eye-opening, life-changing experience for one of our scholars.

Are you interested in participating in RIDETZ in this way? You can email Kaitlin with any questions (kaitlin@thefoundationfortomorrow.org), or if you are ready to be THE ONE who makes this all possible for one lucky scholar, you can make it happen right now. We will close this donation page once the student rider has been funded, so if it’s still up on the donation page, we are still waiting for our angel funder!

This is truly a unique opportunity to provide an eye-opening and life-changing experience for one of our scholars. The experience will be that much sweeter to know that there is someone special out there to make this dream journey a reality!

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The Importance of Clubs

April 8, 2014

CHLOE6

Once upon a time, I was a little 9-year-old girl.  We had just moved to Kansas from Arizona and I was excited about the new “Wizard of Oz” chapter in my life.  In order to fully live the Kansas life, we went to a 4-H Club meeting.  It was a fateful day that led to a decade of involvement in 4-H and many other youth organizations.

As the Full Circle program grows, we try new and different approaches to expanding life skills education.  After-school clubs are a fabulous way to work within the education system in Tanzania and teach life skills.  Because of this, Uswege and I held a 2-day training on Club Establishment and Management for area teachers and school administrators.  The objectives of the training were to equip the participants with the knowledge and tools they need to facilitate successful, student led clubs.

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With participants from 5 different schools, we kicked off the training with discussions about life skills, their importance, and the role schools play in developing life skills.  Then we moved to a discussion about school clubs and how they can be utilized to facilitate the learning of life skills.  Why use school clubs to educate young people?  We used the following to describe just WHY we think school clubs can be SO valuable…if used well.

The club at its best creates a society of personalities with a community sense, which is the essence of good citizenship… We are not concerned with the making of ‘good club members’ or ‘well-organized youth groups’, but with a much wider issue, the making of good citizens. This can only be done in a society where each member is important, where each one is given a chance to contribute something to the life of the group – the leader no more and no less than the member. It is for this reason that self-government is so important in club work.

—Josephine Brew

Clubs are so vital because they are the ultimate in experiential learning for young people, giving them the leadership  and power to make their own decisions and watch how those decisions effect their life and the lives of others!  After we had established the importance of life skills and clubs, we moved to discussing HOW we achieve the results that we want and what elements are essential to creating effective school clubs.

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The training ended with guest speakers who could introduce their organizations to the teachers to ensure all schools have the resources they need to start a club at their school.  We had a great response from teachers about the whole training.  One teacher recommended that the TEACHERS form a club to practice what they have learned and share their learning with others!

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The last great success of the training was having it covered by the media in an article in a major Tanzanian newspaper. The day after the article ran, an editorial was written complimenting the necessity and timeliness of the training topic!  Besides getting TFFT’s name out there, this is a big win because it creates a discussion on life skills education and education in general.  The more discussion there is, be more improvement there will be!

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Full Circle Guest Speaker Series

March 26, 2014

CHLOE6

We are nearly a quarter of the way through the year (if anyone can believe it), and activities in the TFFT office are in full swing!  One of the ways that Full Circle has been educating our students is through a series of guest speakers. We have had two speakers so far and it has been quite a success!

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Our first speaker was Caitrin, as representative of the Kingsley Holgate Foundation.  She came to speak to two classes at Usa River Academy primary school about Rhino conservation and the issue of poaching in Tanzania.  Through Caitrin’s work, the students gained a better understanding of animal conservation, the rhino’s existence in Tanzania and how poaching can affect their community and Tanzania.

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Besides student awareness, part of the project is to raise student voices about rhino poaching.  The Kingsley Holgate Foundation does this through their “Art Voices” project, allowing students to make posters about rhinos and conservation.  Our students’ work will be entered into a competition later in the year!

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The second guest speaker we had was a friend of mine, Anees.  Anees and I met solely due to our love of Africafe (the closest thing to Starbucks in Arusha).  Anees is the Chief of Judicial and Legal Affairs for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  When we started talking about our jobs, Anees was very excited to share what he does with some of our students, which obviously made me excited!

A few days ago, I headed out again to Usa River Academy to accompany Anees to classes 5 and 6.  He spent an hour and a half leading students through right and wrong, what laws are, who decision makers are, breaking laws, judges, lawyers, and courts.  Eventually we came to the United Nations and the Criminal Tribunals that they hold, along with what types of jobs a lawyer does and how you become one.

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I was seriously impressed by Anees’ ability to hold the kids attention as I was equally impressed by some of the questions that they asked him about laws and being a lawyer.  By the end of the time, students has gained a lot of knowledge and understanding about how government and laws work, from their community to their country to international laws!

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This new guest speaker program has gotten off to a great start and I am looking forward to many more fascinating and exciting speakers in the future (in addition to welcoming Caitrin and Anees back again)! For those of you considering a trip to Tanzania and interested in volunteering, we would love for you to speak to our students about your profession or a topic of your choice! Email Kaitlin (Kaitlin@thefoundationfortomorrow.org) to find out more.

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Kelly’s First Impressions

March 25, 2014

KELLY

The flight from Charlotte to Tanzania was long (thanks to an 8 hour layover in London!) and exhausting.  I left the US on a Friday night, landing in Nairobi, Kenya – the last stop on my trip – before sunrise on Sunday.  Despite only dozing intermittently on the flights, I was surprisingly awake and alert.

I was in Africa.

I couldn’t wait to get to Tanzania.  The flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro International Airport is a mere hop, skip and jump.   Still, we climbed above the clouds…sad, because I didn’t have a chance see what Nairobi looked like from the air.  But that disappointment quickly dissipated, as I was rewarded with a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s glorious snow-covered peak. (Which was wonderful, because it’s been covered in clouds ever since!)

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As we descended, I was struck by how verdant and green this part of Tanzania was.  Even more so during the drive to Arusha.  Flowering trees, lush palms, greenery everywhere – so beautiful!!

I met the entire team later that evening, and I have to say, it’s like I’ve known them all my life.  No awkwardness at all.  Such open, warm, truly friendly colleagues.  I am so lucky to be part of such an incredible team.  Later, I will write about my experiences meeting the TFFT scholars and partners, and seeing TFFT’s work first hand.

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But for now, I am in Africa, and I am loving it!!

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Executive Director Updates From the Field

March 18, 2014

MEGHANN

The weeks have begun to run together…I can’t really fathom that 5 weeks have past since I first arrived back in Tanzania.

When reviewing my to do lists and Un-Calendar I see many checks and  scratch throughs and a lot of highlighting, all of which signal that I am making progress…

My visit started with our long-time friend and supporter in country witnessing first hand our work on the ground

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As she departed, I moved into some nitty-gritty admin stuff such as interviewing law firms to represent us in Tanzania and also some fun admin some architect meetings for a new project (shh can’t say more now, but more to come soon!), interviewing project management firms for this new project, and visiting the site for the project.

Week two brought me to Nairobi with Ken to meet with Joan and George Hornig. George is a Board member, and he and his wife are long-time supporters of our work.

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In week 3, I dove into meetings with government officials to solidify our partnerships on the district level and to expand our work and our reach with some serious collaboration and sharing of resources and influence! This week also brought celebrations in our office because all of our Form 4 graduates received the news that they passed the national exam and will carry on with their studies.

We are so proud of Dickluck, Happy, Nancy, and Richard:

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We congratulated some of them with a feast at the new favorite Fig and Olive. This week also continued the theme of collaboration as we legally formalized our partnership with Matonyok Parents Trust, signing a Memorandum of Understanding. This is an important step because, just as we demand transparency and accountability from our partners, we also want to be very clear with them what we promise in return for this.

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I kicked off week 4 with the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon. I managed to run my personal best for the race and raised over $2500 on behalf of TFFT.

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We also welcomed TFFT’s new DOO, Kelly Albertson, to Tanzania for the first time this week. We have loved having her, sharing the ins and outs, the challenges, and the success stories. After three months of reading about our work and skype meetings, she could finally touch, feel, and understand so much better how our organization operates!

Here she is at happy hour with the team:

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Week 5 brought a lot of touching base with all of our current partners, learning about their progress as well as watching Melissa and Uswege run part one of teachers training for Star High School teachers out in Mbuguni, Tanzania. We also got the treat of hosting a Tanzanian Leadership forum for Leadership Wisconsin. Over 20 people had traveled to Tanzania and TFFT was one of their stops. It was a pleasure to hear their stories and share our work with them. Both former and current TFFT country directors (Fratern and Ken) spoke on the panel.

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Now I am spending week 6 in Dar es Saalam (the capital) working to create more long term strategic partnerships (and raise money!!) to strengthen TFFT’s work here. I also happened to celebrate St. Patricks Day with my very BRIGHT green trousers! No green beer here but plenty of love over Facebook for one of my beloved holidays!  Two more weeks until I venture back to the US. It’s been a quick and full trip – hope you’ve enjoyed following along

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It’s that time again!

March 13, 2014

KAITLIN 5

Well here we are once again, with me trying to put the emphasis on the FUN in TFFT’s Annual FUNd! So come along with me for a second, and we’ll see how I do.

At first glance, Annual Funds are not the most exciting topic. They are necessary, but not necessarily glamorous. If glamorous is getting dressed up and feeling fancy, the Annual Fund is putting on your workout clothes and going for a run.

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However, while it’s fun to spice things up with a little glamour here and there, the appeal is really in the novelty. For me, dressing up and feeling fancy would get old quickly if it were part of my everyday. However, workouts keep me healthy and energized daily!

As far as TFFT supporters go, there are many unique ways to support TFFT’s work: coming to an event, volunteering, sponsoring a child, peddling for RIDETZ, making valentines, and collecting books and shoes. The appeal—or glamour if you will—is in the novelty: The live auctions, the roll-up-your-sleeves connection, the grade reports and personal letters, the Tanzanian biking adventure, the arts and craft project, and the opportunity to make a tangible contribution.

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The Annual Fund, however, is critical because it covers the expenses that enable TFFT to operate on a daily basis. The Annual Fund’s support of the everyday, makes all the unique opportunities above possible and ultimately helps us achieve our highest goals. The Annual Fund is essential for TFFT’s sustainability, just as workouts are essential for health. The Annual Fund is integral to the everyday growth of TFFT and our Teachers Training, Scholarship, and Full Circle programs.

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In life there are occasions to dress up, and there are the sweaty workouts in between that you wish you could ignore. There are SOS galas, and there are Annual Funds. And they are not mutually exclusive. We need both, but today, we need the Annual Fund.

The Annual Fund is simply the BEST way to commit to TFFT’s mission purely because of the lack of allure. There is no big, celebratory night, no instagram-able moment, no trip to Tanzania, and no connection to a specific scholar.

The truth is that your commitment shows MORE in the sweaty, honest, day-to-day moments than it does in the shiny moments. You know that point in a relationship where you’re able to throw your hair in a messy bun and wear sweats and feel loved and accepted just as you are? THAT is the FUN of the Annual FUNd! We want to take your relationship with TFFT to that level!

The Annual Fund is the way to support TFFT’s work in its entirety—not just when it’s shiny, but ALWAYS.

The Annual Fund is about participation. Participating in the Annual Fund is THE opportunity for you to declare your commitment to and believe in TFFT’s work. The Annual Fund doesn’t have to be the BIGGEST way you are a part of TFFT. In fact, the size of the gift does not matter. What matters is that you show up.

The list of people who give to the Annual Fund should include everyone who is involved with and cares for TFFT.

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Are you a first time reader or someone who follows along but hasn’t ever made a donation? If so, you may think that the Annual Fund isn’t the best place to start. Or maybe you’re someone who regularly attends TFFT events or is a loyal donor who has given to TFFT for years? In turn, you may think that it’s not necessary to give to the Annual Fund because of all the other ways you show your support. Or maybe you’re a RIDETZ rider, and you think to yourself, “Surely I am doing enough for TFFT this year! I’m giving my blood, sweat, and tears!”

If any of the scenarios above describe you, you are exactly who we are counting on to donate $12, $15, $25, or $100 to the Annual Fund! We are not asking for a grand gesture, we are asking for a week’s worth of coffee money in order to communicate that you are here for TFFT simply because you believe in TFFT. Show us that you are here to sweat through the workout in addition to the glamour of TFFT events.

Will you be there for TFFT for those critical day-to-day moments?

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Will you support TFFT with an Annual Fund gift?

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Idea Manager

March 4, 2014

CHLOE6

“Creating a better future
Requires creativity in the present.”
― Matthew Goldfinger

To be honest I have no idea who Matthew Goldfinger is (he’s not even realy googleable if you can believe it!), but his quote stands true!

At TFFT, we often wear many hats: teacher, sister, fundraiser, tour guide, diaper changer, monitoring and evaluation consultant…you just never know what your day might consist of!  One of my newest hats is called the “Idea Manager.”  The concept of this Idea Manager is to encourage and help create an innovative, supportive, collaborative work environment. Sound pretty exciting?  I thought so too, which is how I ended up wearing this hat!  The name “Idea Manager” is really a bit misleading, as it is my job to encourage new ideas, not manage them, but sadly the name “Idea Queen” was voted down…multiple times (I don’t know why).

While this new initiative involves many strategies, the one we are tackling right now is creating a PHYSICAL environment that is encouraging of innovation, support, and collaboration.  This goes back to my shopping trips in the US, where I actually spent a fair amount of time buying office supplies that will make our work time more efficient.  In Tanzania, there are mountains, plains, lions, and banana trees.  In America, there are office supply stores, Targets, and Ikeas. There are Sharpies in America.

So after shopping carts were filled…suitcases were filled… and now we have…

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Suction cups, sharpies, dry erase markers, wall calendars, whiteboards, blackboards, shelves, binder clips, and a whole lot more!  The past week was about putting in all together (which, if you’ve ever bought an Ikea product, you know that is no small feat).  It is still a work in progress, but we have made great strides in our new office and can’t wait to show it off!

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Learning Trip to Mkombozi

February 26, 2014

HEDWIGA

On Friday, January 24th,  2014 the TFFT team and our partners started a journey to learn from Mkombozi an organization here in Arusha Community. Mkombozi supports Tanzania’s most vulnerable children and youth through housing, education, research, advocacy, and outreach. In addition to working with children already living and working on the streets, Mkombozi works to end the abuse and neglect of children, to ensure that children’s rights are recognized, and to identify opportunities for intervention before a child migrates to the street. We were eager to learn more!

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In total we brought together 16 people from 10 organizations (TFFT, Step by Step Learning Centre, Matonyok Parents Trust, Star High Secondary School, AfricAid, a representative from Meru district, VUMIVU, Happy Watoto English medium School and Children Center, Green Foundation Trust, and our host Mkombozi Centre).

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We divided into two groups, each with a leader from Mkombozi. The main focus of the trip was to learn about: happy and sad boxes, alternative discipline, the safe school concept, child protection, and how Mkombozi reintegrates children back into the community. We visited five government primary schools and had a chance to meet the Child Protection Committees at Ward office Unga Limited. Lastly we visited Mkombozi Office for an overview of Mkombozi’s programs.

Oh! You must be surprised how we managed to cover all these areas in a day. It was really a very busy day.

One interesting concept was the happy and sad box. Students write things that make them happy or sad whenever they came across them whether at home, within the school, classroom, outside the school. The head of one school said,

“Since [we started using this box], my work has been very easy because students can report if the teacher did not come to class or did not teach and so many other things.”

A social worker said,

“It was through this box one student explain[ed] the abuse she was going through every day at home and the matter was reported to the police.”

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We were impressed to see how this helped the school management address issues raised by students; it also helped the child protection committees to address issues in the community. Apart from these two examples we heard a lot of testimonies from teachers and child protection committees how this help them doing their work.

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In this picture you can see a team chatting with teachers at Kaloleni Primary school about Mkombozi’s training on alternative discipline. We heard a lot of testimonies that teachers and students became more of a family and that students are more obedient to the school rules as a result of Mkombozi’s training.

With the safe school concept we learned about protection measures for students who attend schools located in dangerous areas.

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This is one of the school we visited that had wall constructed to protect students from outsiders who passes through the school.

It was a very busy and eye-opening day! Our partners all appreciated this learning opportunity, and they commended TFFT for arranging this visit. They admited that if it was not TFFT they would not be able to learn from organizations such as Mkombozi. They also said they now have new ideas to take to their organizations and improve how they take care of orphans and vulnerable children. Some also said they have increased their network through this visit and they can reach out to each other whenever they need.

TFFT learned that there are programs conducted by Mkombozi that are similar to our own programs. We also learned that apart from protecting children Mkombozi also finds support for the very needy children who passed to go to secondary school and cannot afford to pay the schools fees. The trip was a blessing too because one of our partner committed to pay fees for one student for the whole year! We are very thankful to Mkombozi organization for making this visit possible and their time to take us through all these areas they are working. We commend them for their engagement in the community and the good work of protecting children.

Posted in TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

The TFFT Scholar Selection Process

February 26, 2014

USWEGE-2

Background info: TFFT welcomes new children into our scholarship program every year and guarantees education, health, and emotional support through the equivalent high school graduation. One of the most frequently asked questions is how we choose which children become TFFT scholars. In this post Uswege shares some of his personal experience with this selection process.

Being orphaned and vulnerable interferes with a child’s ability to exercise his or her right to education. TFFT’s orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) identification and selection is a very sensitive step toward securing quality education and providing emotional support for Tanzania’s most vulnerable children. In this blog, I am going to try to share with you some of the experiences accumulated from the 2014 OVC identification process.

For the first time this year we expanded the selection process from just our partner orphanages to the greater community. We did this because, contrary to what you might think, we discovered that sometimes the children in the orphanages were not the most vulnerable in society. When we looked closely, we saw children in the villages living in even more threatening and dangerous circumstances than some of the children in the orphanages. Therefore, we needed to develop more specific criteria for identifying and selecting the most vulnerable and orphaned children. To do this we communicated closely with our partner organization to learn from them the best practice for identifying the most vulnerable children.

The next step took us out of our office to the community for the actual work of OVC identification. We knew from our past experience that this was going to be bittersweet because of the large pool of orphaned and vulnerable children we had to choose from. Have you ever been in a position where wish you could help everyone? In one way or another, I am sure that most of us have experienced this. In this case, it happened when we visited Ungalimited Primary School, a school with more than 2000 students, where 300 of them are orphaned children who can’t afford to buy school uniform, exercise books, shoes and cannot attend classes every day because they have to involve themselves in child labor to get money for food.

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When we stepped our feet out of Arusha town to Arumeru district, the OVC’s status was even worse, including meeting with a fifteen year old boy who was applying for a scholarship for his 11 year old brother. Following the death of their parents, the boys have no one to support them, so the older brother decided to sacrifice his own schooling and to instead work as a child laborer in a maize (corn) factory so that he could earn a little money for food and rent and to buy school materials for his brother.

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This child exemplifies a lot of child-headed houses in Tanzania, where older siblings sacrifice their future career and get involved in child labor so that their young sisters and brothers can have something to eat.

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This identification stage of OVC’s selection ended in Ilkiding’a Ward, where we met four different grandparents and one handicapped women applying for scholarship for her handicapped child who could not attend school around the area because of not having school infrastructure for handicapped children.

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These are just two of the many stories that we heard during the OVC identification process. The good news is that we are welcoming 10 children into our scholarship program, including the children from the two stories mentioned here.

Thank you so much for reading this, thank you so much for being a part of The Foundation For Tomorrow’s Family. See you next time when we will be sharing with you more about our new scholars who get the chance to join the The Foundation For Tomorrow’s big family.

Posted in Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

I cannot rest until I achieve my highest goals in life

February 18, 2014

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Since 2008 when I got the TFFT scholarship, it was my second chance of living. The support that I am getting from The Foundation For Tomorrow has led me to set up my own goals and realize the purpose of this opportunity. Right now I can manage on my own because I have enough life skills knowledge to depend and take on all my responsibilities. I want my future generation to be in a good standard of living. Full Circle programs encourage me that I am an important person and I can do wonderful things to change my community.

As an African girl, I am now working hard to reach my highest goals in life and be able to support people from my community. My friends from Full Circle Programs said “you only get out what you put in.” So I want things which are creative out of me, which is why I started creating key chains using my beading skills.

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To Meghann and the other TFFT team members, I say, “Keep it up. Continue with your kind hearts and by that way I know the future generation in Africa will change from where it is now, a poor standard of living.”

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To my fellow youth I say, “Never give up, face the challenges that you come across and you will succeed in the goals you set. Work hard and put more effort to reach your highest goals and above all think about being positive!”

Posted in TFFT Student Work | Comments closed
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