TFFT Alumni Meeting

April 26, 2017

Throughout the course of each TFFT Scholar’s educational journey (an average of 12 years), many lasting connections and relationships develop. When a scholarship is completed, it is not possible to end the interest and concern for that young person. They have been family for too long! While financial support of a scholarship may come to an end, the psychological connection continues.

The number of TFFT Alumni is growing as scholars complete their formal education. Presently, we have 11 alumni and within a year, we will have 16 alumni. TFFT’s Scholarship Program is making efforts to start an Alumni Group that will see to the needs of our past scholars. To this effort, we gathered our alumni a few weeks ago, for our inaugural meeting.

Our first important step was rebuilding connections and catching up on what has happened over the last year or so. Our meeting started like most family gatherings in Tanzania – with tea, cake, and samosas. The scholars who were able to attend chatted informally, reminisced about old times, and shared stories they knew about others who were not present. All enjoyed the reflective exercise that followed, where participants thought about and shared their ambitions and dreams, their roots, and all the people along the way who have supported them.

Some of our alumni have retained close connections with TFFT, visiting the office often to assist with programs and running mentoring sessions with the younger scholars. However, most alumni have traveled throughout Tanzania to pursue careers and independent lives. For our first meeting we had one alumnus travel from Lushoto, and it was great that he had the opportunity to connect with old friends. He was so enthusiastic and excited. This reminds us that TFFT Scholars have developed strong bonds, and meetings such as this are indeed a celebration.

The purpose of alumni groups can vary, and how to formulate a functional dynamic and purposeful group is learning experience. For most of us on the day of the first group meeting, it was a new concept. Members of the TFFT team hoped that the group of alumni could start planning activities they would like to do, but what we found is the group really didn’t have much of an experience of a group such as this and what it could achieve. Therefore, we took time to discuss the function of alumni groups in general, the power of networking, and the importance of giving back to the society.

Phone numbers were exchanged and promises to meet in a few months were made. Our Alumni Group has great potential and we were encouraged to think that it will be a great way to maintain connections. As more TFFT scholars graduate, our Alumni Group will grow in numbers and in strength.

 

Posted in Development, Scholarship Program, Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

TFFT Scholar Volunteer Work

April 24, 2017

TFFT works to empower our scholars to actively contribute to development in local communities. One way we prepare our scholars for this is by giving them the opportunity to participate in community service work. Our post form four scholars volunteer to help with a project of their choice for one month during their break from school.

This year we had four scholars volunteer at the District Social Welfare Office -Meru, located at Tengeru District Hospital in Arusha Region. The scholars were Star High School graduates Joachim Filbert, Allan Varraeli, Fadhili Peter, and Ashura Yohana.

Working alongside the district social welfare officers in their work and helping to keep records at the office was an enriching experience for our scholars. Some of the other volunteer responsibilities included supporting doctors at Tengeru hospital during the blood donation day and keeping the office organized. TFFT Scholar Fadhili was excited to help collect information to prepare identification cards for community members.

Giving back to the community is important because it ties our scholars to their roots and helps them understand the need for TFFT quality education. In order for the scholars to thrive in their home communities, they need to actively participate and engage in their communities. This is what TFFT’s Scholarship Program seeks to achieve through scholar community service projects. We hope that our scholars will use this experience to increase their passion for bettering the lives of themselves and their fellow community members.

Posted in Scholarship Program, Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Fueling Change

April 21, 2017

A recent article in my hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, made a compelling and enthusiastic case for building a $93 million—ninety-three MILLION—dollar library in downtown Charlotte. This sort of investment shows that we KNOW the value of state-of-the-art learning facilities.

Then I found myself in a conversation where I had to passionately insist that students in Tanzania deserve more than bare concrete walls and a tin roof.

The inequity sickens me, but the way the individuals who support The Foundation For Tomorrow respond to this inequity makes me proud.

The TFFT community has taken a stand to say this is insufficient. Together you have invested millions of dollars in making sure children in Tanzania receive the quality education they deserve. Time and again you have demonstrated that you are ready to think beyond the bare necessities in order to focus on QUALITY education for all. You have joined me in my steadfast belief that geography should not dictate how far an individual can go in their life or the quality of education someone receives.

Up until now this has taken shape through TFFT’s Scholarship, Teacher Training, and Full Circle Programs.

We are now at a time in the life of our forward-thinking organization where we are ready to build a learning centre that will change the trajectory of education in Tanzania. With an extensive and technologically advanced library and computer centre, literacy lab, teacher training centre, entrepreneur incubator, and college guidance facility, this 17,000 square foot learning centre will be a catalyst for Tanzanians to unlock their own potential.

This is a big moment for The Foundation For Tomorrow. This is a big moment for Tanzania.

In partnership and with 2.2 million dollars, we can co-create something powerful, something that will be the first of its kind in Tanzania—something that will represent and ignite hope and potential.

Through TFFT we have the unique opportunity to dream with the people of Tanzania to create a place that will open doors for students young and old. The library in Charlotte says to learners and leaders in the community: You are worth it. You have valuable ideas. Let’s build something that sends the same message to our learners and leaders in Tanzania.

Posted in Development, Food for Thought Friday, Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

Matron Workshop

April 10, 2017

TFFT is able to support our scholars and other Tanzanian students by ensuring that the people who have daily interactions with them have the skills and knowledge needed to ensure positive outcomes. TFFT has programs to build the capacity of teachers, school administrators, parents and guardians, our scholars, and TFFT staff. Recently, our Psychosocial & Health Program has introduced initiatives to build the capacity of matrons, patrons, and the nurses in our partner schools to be more effective in supporting children.

Matrons and patrons are ‘house mothers’ or ‘house fathers’ who live with the students in the dormitories. They are the responsible adult who provides safety and simple support for students 24 hours each day. School nurses have more access to training than matrons, but still have simple and limited decision- making responsibilities. Matrons, patrons, and nurses can be the first port of call for students who have problems, and they routinely refer young children and young adults to appropriate people for follow up. It is critical that these individuals are skilled in emotional intelligence, are good communicators and can build and maintain a pleasant culture and atmosphere in the school community outside the classroom.

Many Tanzanian schools have non-academic support staff who have little formal training. TFFT has provided training that taps into support activities such as simple counseling, how to provide comfort to a distressed child, or how to create an environment where children are happy to come and express themselves. Through TFFT’s facilitated sessions, these critically important staff members were able to discuss the meaning of vulnerability, and how vulnerability can be expressed through a child’s behavior. They learn about the importance of appropriate referrals and recording of interactions to facilitate follow up and accountability. Through this training opportunity, the participants were able to talk to others in the same position from different schools and share ideas and challenges.

The knowledge of a child’s psychological development is very important for anyone with any responsibility for school children. Through TFFT training, the participants were introduced to this important topic. The sessions were practical and relevant and used many different learning techniques to stimulate thinking, and actively problem solve various scenarios.

There will be careful follow up and mentoring interactions for these staff members who play such a large and important part in the lives of our scholars. We aim to provide them professional development opportunities, and believe that by building relationships with these staff members, TFFT can positively influence a healthy and peaceful school environment.

Posted in Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

Usa River Academy Leadership and Entrepreneurship Club

April 3, 2017

TFFT’s Full Circle Program introduced a Leadership and Entrepreneurship Club in our partner schools as an initiative to teach practical knowledge outside of the classroom. We meet after school and club activities help exercise critical and analytical thinking. We want to empower our scholars to use their talents and achieve their dreams through creative, innovative ideas. We aim to set our scholars up for success after school, so that they may sustain themselves economically, contribute to society, and maintain personal career growth.

At Usa River Academy, the Leadership and Entrepreneurship Club was launched in February. What an ecstatic group of scholars we had! In total, there were 49 scholars present from forms 1 and 3. We had a small group of scholars from form 2 sit in on the club meeting. They will be able to officially join next year as form 3 scholars, due to exam schedules. Key components of the club meetings are practical courses on leadership, entrepreneurship, peer mentoring, and business projects.

We have now completed four club meetings at Usa River Academy. The attendees are vocal about what runs through their minds and they communicate fears concerning entrepreneurship and employment opportunities after education, and we work to center club meetings on how to approach this.

During our most recent club meeting, we discussed leadership. The scholars held a vibrant discussion on whether leaders are born or made. We talked about the potential for leadership on various levels from school government to national leaders. Scholars discussed role model leaders, and the ones that they think are wrongly placed in position!! Previous sessions have included small group discussions and games. We meet on Friday afternoons at Usa River Academy, so we have put in extra effort to make each club meeting active and practical to maintain students’ concentration and participation.

It is interesting to see how our scholars think outside the box, challenge one another, and then to come to a consensus. They are quite an impressive group, and it is great to see how openminded the scholars have been during club meetings.

One of the club members has already approached us and shared a book she has been writing, entitled How to Overcome Poverty. She hopes to eventually publish it and earn an income through her writing. We are thrilled with her enthusiasm and interest in entrepreneurship, and we congratulated her for her efforts and initiative to put her talent to work. As club meetings continue, she will learn more about approaches towards entrepreneurship and aspects from other components that will be useful to her. We look forward to future club meetings and to the progress that we see in our scholars’ growth as leaders!

Posted in Full Circle, Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Hai District Study Tour

March 27, 2017

TFFT works to spread awareness about children’s rights and we work to ensure that all of our scholars know their rights and feel comfortable speaking up to a trusted adult if they experience a rights violation. In order to better our knowledge and abilities, we decided to do a study in Hai District, Kilimanjaro Region. This district has some of the most well-established structures for child protection in Tanzania. Melissa and I represented TFFT, and we also had 17 government officers with us for the study tour. The government officers included were individuals from from the social welfare office, ward education coordinators, ward executive officers, a city lawyer, and police officers.

Our tour started at Hai District’s hospital. We visited the center that takes care of people who experience abuse. At the center, a police office first receives the information when someone comes in. Then there is office of social welfare, where counseling, following up on the incidents, and processing treatment to see the doctor takes place. The last office is the doctor’s office. This center is efficient and keeps confidentiality. We were also impressed to hear that there are no street children in Hai District.

Hai District has a child protection team, and we were able to hear them explain how they began their work to spread awareness about children’s rights. They told us that through community advocacy, their work has become well respected and understood. This team has advocated for children’s rights in churches, mosques, markets, and other large gatherings. They also have a weekly, one-hour radio segment. Now, the community in Hai District is aware of children’s rights and supports child protection.

The second stop of our tour in Hai District was to a department within the police station that deals with children’s rights issues. The office has 10 staff trained on child protection and how to handle issues reported to them. They deal with issues of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect. After the district’s advocacy began to take hold, the department saw many cases reported, receiving around 10-12 cases each day. Once the community members became aware, they would report any child’s rights issues in question. Teamwork and support from the district executive director is key in making their work successful.

We had a valuable experience and learned a lot from the trip. Everyone was impressed with the work done to spread awareness about children’s rights in Hai District. TFFT’s next step will be to host a training and plan to implement all that we learned from our study tour.

 

 

Posted in Psychosocial + Health, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

MG in TZ

March 23, 2017

A month in Tanzania flies by. Up first was the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon, followed by three trainings and several important meetings in Tanzania’s business capital, Dar es Salaam. In the midst of this serious work, I’ve had a ton of fun with our scholars. I even worked with our Alum, Richard Augustino on college applications, which was a first for me!

As soon as I landed, I joined our staff in hosting TEAM TFFT visitors who came for the Kilimanjaro Marathon. I was also in some serious need of altitude training for myself. With a 4am wake up, TEAM TFFT was ready to rock, and we made it through the literal up and down of 21km on Kili. We are grateful to the incredible individuals who traveled over to tackle this challenge (shoutout to Kautia and Aileen who were also 2014 RIDETZ riders) and everyone who donated and encouraged us in this journey.

After a week of sharing our work with our guests, it was time to roll up my sleeves for a series of trainings.

As a grantee of One Mobile Projector Per Trainer Training, facilitators came in from Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, and the U.S. to train us on how to use video as a tool in the classroom.

Next, it thrilled me to geek out for an entire week with our team participating in a training on psychosocial support through REPSSI. We have been studying the dynamic relationship between the emotional and social aspects of a person’s life. Ensuring there is a child-centered and collaborative approach including the children’s entire family and community surrounding them is incredibly important. REPSSI uses the wheel model, which illustrates each child’s need for support in five main categories: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual support. The child is in the center and if one spoke is missing, the positive development of the child is hindered.

Last week I got to dive into a seminar on Tanzanian Labor Laws with Melissa. Yes, I really mean got to. I love this stuff.

Meetings to connect with our Tanzanian funding partners took me to Dar es Salaam to garner support for the Lighting the Way Campaign we just launched. Seeing and gaining support from our Tanzanian business community on this exciting new endeavor inspires and gives us confidence. We have good company in our belief that we must go beyond rudimentary education and invest significantly in QUALITY educational resources!

As always, time with our scholars is the highlight. I came bearing lots of homemade valentines. TFFT family members from all over the world made and mailed in valentines for our TFFT Scholars to receive. This is a tradition we all love. It kind of feels like I am Santa as the glitter, stickers, and pom-poms delight our kids! They made a point this year of saying they want me to bring supplies next year so they can make these types of valentines to send back to their friends all over the world.

The Career Day with 600 students at Star High that was a true success. I also attended Academic Progress Day at Usa River Academy and Visiting Day at Arusha Modern School. Finally, thanks to technology, our scholars were able to celebrate World Book Day with 5th and 6th graders from Wickhambreaux Church of England Primary School. The read folk stories from the U.K. and Tanzania to each other and talked about their favorite characters.

All and all, my month has been nonstop, filled with the precious smiles and hearts of the young gems we work with, while also getting down to business, building our capacity, training our boundary partners, and pushing forward on our effort to provide QUALITY education. Together we are creating a community of learners and leaders.

Until next time… Meghann

Posted in Development, Tanzania | Comments closed

TFFT’s Bold Next Step

March 22, 2017

For over a decade, your support has made it possible to offer life-changing opportunities to some of the world’s most vulnerable youth. Thank you for your passion, your commitment, your partnership and for your faith in TFFT to offer hope and make such an invaluable difference. We are thrilled to come to you now with an exciting announcement and an invitation to shepherd TFFT into its next chapter.

United by our shared hope for a better future for our world, the TFFT family has proven that the development of sustainable pathways toward opportunity does change lives. We now celebrate the accomplishments of over 100 capable and thoughtful scholars who are meaningfully contributing to their communities.

These children have captivated our hearts from the beginning and remain the center of our mission.

Your support and our strategic growth has positioned TFFT well for our bold next step. Our work–the structure we have developed to support our scholars, and their educators and the hope it represents–has earned the recognition of government officials including the Ministry of Education, other NGOs and leaders worldwide. We now need to broaden and deepen our impact and ensure lasting change for the people of Tanzania.

With the support of our most steadfast partners – like you! – we will construct a 17,000 sq foot innovative and interactive learning centre. This facility will both bolster the support we are able to provide to our current and future scholars, as well as extend our service in a more holistic way to the entire community. Housing a unique array of learning and training opportunities, the learning centre will serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who are eager for a better future.

For both our financial and programmatic sustainability, this is a crucial moment in the life of our organization.

It is only with the support of our entire family that this learning centre can become a reality.

We are humbled by the passion and commitment that has allowed us to grow to such an influential point. We ask that you please join us now by helping to ensure the success of this new chapter for our organization.

We look forward to sharing more about this monumental undertaking in future communications.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Kaitlin (Kaitlin at thefoundationfortomorrow dot org) if you have any questions or would like to talk further about this project or your investment in our future.


Thank you for believing so strongly in the power of TFFT to help individuals reach their full potential, thrive in their communities, carry the future of their nation and strengthen a world in desperate need of competent and contributing leaders. We look forward to working together to make this dream come true!

Posted in Development, News, Tanzania | Comments closed

Star High School Career Day

March 14, 2017

An aspect of mentoring is to assist the mentee with formulating visions of the future, establishing goals, thinking about their skills, and to help them work out what they would like to do with their lives. With this in mind, TFFT’s Scholarship Program arranged a Career Day for over 600 Tanzanian high school-aged students in our partner schools. Some students already had a firm idea about what they aspire to do, and others were keen to explore options.

Four professionals volunteered their Saturday morning to engage with this group of young people. Each one is passionate about his or her field of work and happy to share stories of their work experience. We had speakers from four professions – architecture, law, business, and tourism. Mr. Sune Mushendwa is a young accomplished architect who is a partner in an international architectural firm based in Arusha. Ms. Elizabeth Reece is a successful businesswoman, and she has traveled to many developing countries and worked with local people to build entrepreneurial skills and microbusinesses. Ms. Desderia Philip Haule is an experienced lawyer who works for local government, but whose passion is for grass roots women’s rights. Our final speaker was a young man called Mohamed Kassim, who climbed the ladder in the tourism industry to become the operational manager of multiple luxury camps for Nomad Tanzania in the Northern National Park Circuit.

Informal mentoring was also the order of the day. TFFT’s driver, Mr. Godliving Tesha, is a law student and he advised some of our students on educational options for a law degree. Our Scholarship Intern, Mr. Yunia Emmanuel, is a teacher and he spoke to small groups of students about how he gained employment. TFFT alumni, Mr. Richard Augustino attended our Career Day to help with logistics, and he also explained his post-graduation experiences with the students.

Above the practical talk of each particular profession, our speakers inspired our children on many different levels. Mohamed spoke of how he started in a humble way and worked to build the appropriate skills for the tourism industry (such as learning to speak English, nature studies, and logistics). He showed the students that with ambition, exacting standards, and high-level goals, they can achieve unimagined successes. Elizabeth encouraged students to work towards their “sweet spot” – a place where they are skilled at and enjoy what they do, and people will pay for it. She told the young people that this is the key to balancing one’s life and finding success on many levels. Desderia’s passion for justice and empowering women got our lawyer-hopefuls thinking a different way about the law. By the end of the day, Sune found it hard to leave, as he had about 25 young people surrounding him asking many questions. I don’t think our young people had met a person quite like him before.

When asked for feedback from the speakers, all of them were pleasantly surprised at the level of interest and the number and quality of questions they had to answer. We can say that the day was very thought provoking for all involved.

 

Posted in Events, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

Video Education Workshop

March 8, 2017

TFFT’s Teacher Training Program conducted a four-day workshop on video education for teachers in Meru District and Arusha City.  TFFT collaborated with One Mobile Projector per Trainer (OMPT), focused on training teachers to create and disseminate videos, see the importance of incorporating videos into lesson plans, and improve the quality of education by sharing the best practices among teachers and students through videos.

Educational videos are powerful professional learning tools for nurturing the culture of teaching, learning, and connecting ideas and innovations. Ultimately, the more we develop and grow as teachers, the more we help our students grow as learners. We believe that the use of educational videos will contribute to TFFT’s efforts of securing quality education because we can reach more teachers through sharing videos produced after our workshop.

We had four trainers from OMPT and TFFT who led the workshop. The training participants learned through group activities, watching videos, experiential learning through creating videos, and lecture sessions to make quality short videos for educational purposes. Everyone at the workshop engaged in a number of activities including script writing, development of a storyboard, and editing and screening the videos. Initially, it was not a simple task, as it was the first time for some of the training participants to use video production computer programs. By the end of the workshop, all training participants were able to create videos and start to appreciate the importance of incorporating videos in to their work as teachers.

Each training participant was also provided access to equipment for making their own videos to use while teaching. This includes cameras for shooting the footage, projectors, recharge kits, and laptops for editing videos. The equipment works well in our environment, as some schools in rural areas do not have electricity. The recharge kits include solar panels to recharge the batteries in areas with no electricity, or if there is a power problem.

This workshop was a great opportunity for TFFT’s Teacher Training Program as we can make videos to use in our teacher trainings. We will film the best practices done by Tanzanian teachers in schools and during training this will show teachers how to put these practices into action. In our last day of training, we viewed the videos created throughout the course of the workshop.

Posted in Teacher Training, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed
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