Helena, Yusufu, and Matayo. These three children – triplets who were orphaned shortly after their birth with the death of their mother – were the start of The Foundation For Tomorrow. TFFT’s founder and executive director, Meghann Gunderman Sehorn, met the triplets in the summer of 2004 while volunteering at the Nkoaranga Orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. Her heart was captured by these three children, but Meghann was also struck by the orphange’s struggle to care for Helena, Yusufu, and Matayo, as well as almost 30 other children under the age of five. With over one million orphan and abandoned children in Tanzania, most orphanages do not have the capacity or resources to care for children over the age of five. Due to an overwhelming number of orphans and lack of children’s homes, most orphans are forced out of their orphanages at age five, facing an uncertain future that does not necessarily include educational opportunity.
Compelled to action and holding firm the belief that education unlocks opportunity and agency that can change the trajectory of an individual’s life, Meghann transitioned from volunteer to advocate. Within months of her return to the US, Meghann made the decision to leave her position at a New York investment banking firm. Determined to make a commitment to improve the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania, Meghann soon began working to raise funds among family and friends to help provide scholarships for Helena, Yusufu, and Matayo. What began as a plea to family and friends to help place these triplets in boarding school has grown into The Foundation For Tomorrow, an organization passionately committed to investing in children and the power of education. TFFT officially began at the end of 2006, and our Scholarship Program remains a core part of our efforts to transform the educational landscape in Tanzania. Today, TFFT envisions a world where all children contribute to society as active and empowered citizens free of exclusion, disadvantage, and vulnerability.
With the education deficit that exists in Tanzania, too many children do not receive the right to quality education and too many teachers do not have the proper support and resources to teach to their full potential and thus, are ill equipped to unlock the potential of each student in their classrooms. We believe that every child deserves to dream, deserves to aspire, and should receive a quality education that will bring such dreams to life.
Helena, Yusufu, and Matayo celebrated their 17th birthday on November 2017 and are thriving in our Scholarship Program with 105 other TFFT Scholars. TFFT was born from a vision to educate Helena, Yusufu, and Matayo, and our focus remains personal because we believe in the promise and potential of each scholar. Today, the triplets have big dreams for their futures. Helena attends Green Bird College and her favorite subject in school is bookkeeping. Yusuphu is working to become a vehicle mechanic and Mathayo hopes to become a doctor.
As we enter a new decade, we invite you to celebrate the potential that each scholar, parent and guardian, teacher, and member of the TFFT community holds. The Whole Child approach of our Scholarship Program creates the conditions in which scholars, teachers, and community members thrive and develop the capacity to contribute to their society in both relevant and meaningful ways. Importantly, we continue to celebrate our donors, supporters, and volunteers as agents of change who help unlock the potential of education and learning in the Tanzanian context so that vulnerable children have the necessary tools for success.