Let’s Go Ride a Bike

July 19, 2017

Interested in traveling to Tanzania? Seeing the landscape of TFFT’s work firsthand? Staying fit and working towards a massively exciting goal?! Drumroll, please…we have some special news for you…

Registration for RIDETZ 2018 is officially open!!

June 22 – July 5, 2018

You can sign up on our brand new Team TFFT webpage. RIDETZ is the can’t-miss adventure of a lifetime. Throughout 10 exhilarating days and spanning 400 miles, you will bike from Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean with a group of 20 riders to raise awareness for quality education.

RIDETZ gives you the unique opportunity to learn more about TFFT’s work and see this work in action…

Meet the TFFT Scholars…

Learn more about the positive impact that you make in the lives of vulnerable children in Tanzania…

See the beauty that Tanzania has to offer…

And raise awareness about the importance of investment in quality education.

If you are motivated, passionate, enthusiastic, committed to a great cause, and want to conquer a rewarding challenge, you are the perfect candidate for RIDETZ! Save the dates: June 22nd – July 5th, 2018. We want YOU to join us!! These bike seats go fast…what are you waiting for?! Learn more about the trip on the Team TFFT webpage and register now.

As always, we would like to give a shout out and huge thanks to the wonderful Nate Kaiser and Tyler Wohlford for our photos and videos.

Posted in Events, RIDETZ, Tanzania | Comments closed

EMDR Training

July 18, 2017

Earlier this month, I traveled to Dar es Salaam to attend an EMDR Training organized by the Muhimbili Department of Psychiarty and facilitated by the European EMDR and Norwegian psychologists. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a psychotherapy treatment that addresses traumas, anxiety, panic attacks, disturbing memories, post-traumatic stress disorders, and other emotional problems. Participants at the training included psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists from Dodoma, Arusha, Tanga (Lushoto), and Dar es Salaam.

EMDR has great results dealing with any negative lasting effects from a previous trauma or stress. It works by releasing the emotional ties to a past experience that may have occurred at an early age, memories of traumatic death of loved ones, feelings of abandonment, etc. The main objective of EMDR is to allow people to face their past with significantly less or no fear, and to change people’s narratives about these past experiences.

This core part of EMDR really made me think. All of the TFFT Scholars come from a very vulnerable environment, some from an orphanage. These are difficult environments both physically and psychologically. All of the scholars have lived through extreme poverty, and many have had traumatic experiences. This history haunts some of them, and although the scholars might not realize the ways this affects them, the consequences are projected through their behavior, life skills, and performance socially and academically.

I found it absolutely astonishing to learn how previous experiences affect our daily lives and the ways that the mind subliminally connects past issues to the present. Eventually these results are portrayed in our present behaviors! One example I found interesting was when an instructor at the training shared how “pathological jealousy” became apparent as a result of his parents’ death at an early age. It was great to learn that not only does EMDR focus on years past, but also on recent situations. EMDR is also a good therapy method for dealing with issues in relationships, fears, and phobias.

Amongst our scholars, there are some who have gone though painful situations at very early ages. TFFT helps to provide them with the necessary counseling, and this EMDR therapy will indeed help them face their past with courage and move ahead with a better outlook. I look forward to helping them achieve positive remembrance.

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

Introducing Sarah!

July 14, 2017

Hello! It is with great excitement that we introduce Sarah Weishaar, TFFT’s new Director of Development and Strategic Partnership! Sarah’s passion for education, extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations, and knowledge of philanthropy make her the perfect fit for the role. Our entire team is eager to work with and learn from Sarah. The Director of Development and Strategic Partnership 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 Sarah on our team. Please join us in welcoming Sarah to The Foundation For Tomorrow!

Hello everyone! My name is Sarah Weishaar and I am honored to be joining the TFFT family, focused on Development and Strategic Partnerships. I live with my husband, twin 3½ year old little girls and a 6 month old baby girl in Kalamazoo, Michigan, just a few hours east of Kaitlin and Caiti in Chicago. I have worked with many nonprofit organizations throughout my career, focused on generating support for them and building strategy and relationships to further their missions. I am driven by working with others to help make this world a better place – and could not be more excited to join the TFFT family to help do this in such a powerful way. Outside of work, my family is my pride and joy. There is never a dull moment in our house with the three young girls as they grow quickly and are an endless source of energy, excitement, and amazement. I love spending time outside (especially by the water or in the sun), exercising, cooking, reading, and listening to music.

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was very fortunate to receive a scholarship that enabled me to attend the University of Michigan. I studied science and medicine, exploring medicine as an opportunity to fulfill my desire to help people. I also loved learning about different cultures so I pursued a degree in Spanish culture and language as well. I ultimately decided that direct patient care was not how I wanted to focus my career, but instead wanted to try to help people in a different way – by attracting support to organizations who are committed to helping make people’s lives better and more well-supported in a holistic way. I have had the privilege of working in many large organizations ever since, including cultural institutions, hospitals, and schools doing just that.

While working at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, I had the opportunity to complete my Master’s Degree in Philanthropic Studies through the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. I was truly inspired delving into the study of how powerful passionate people can be when they put their mind and resources toward making a difference in the world – and how you can truly make the most of channeling this energy in the right ways. As the producers of The Chronicle on Philanthropy and other world-renowned philanthropic research, I learned so much about how to approach challenges in the world and how nonprofit organizations can truly make the world a better place.

When my girls were born, I knew I had to find an organization that spoke to my heart and where I could apply my knowledge and learning in a way that would make an undeniable difference in others’ lives. I not only wanted this for myself, but also to expose my children to an understanding of life beyond our own and to an appreciation for helping others.

TFFT is the opportunity of a lifetime for me to apply my experience working with families, children, foundations, and individuals in such a focused way to help people in need. Every person that I meet and every new program I learn about affirms my understanding of this as one of the most inspiring organizations I’ve ever known.

I have seen personally the power of education to make a difference in someone’s life – it certainly did for mine. I have seen how a supportive and healthy home environment is key to a child’s development (regardless of where they live in this world) and how the challenges of this world can oftentimes make providing this extremely difficult. I can’t imagine overcoming the obstacles that so many of the TFFT scholars have so gracefully overcome and yet I am humbled by the common threads that unite us all as humans.

I am given hope by the success you have shown is possible when caring and passionate individuals come together and I am blown away by the generosity and commitment all of you have to allow this organization to thrive. I am so excited for all that lies ahead in helping even more vulnerable citizens through access to quality education.

Thank you for all of the work you do to make such a powerful difference and for welcoming me in such a warm way into the TFFT family. Please know how excited I am to get to know all of you better and understand how I can support all of the incredible work you are doing.

 

Posted in Development, Introductions | Comments closed

Building Creative Capacity

July 11, 2017

During the June school holiday, eight scholars from our Peer Mentoring Program had the opportunity to join an Innovation Capacity Building Workshop to get their young minds thinking in a new way, and their hands working with new materials. The participants went to a five-day technical workshop with a local Arushian NGO called Twende, which means ‘let’s go’ in Kiswahili. They built prototypes of particular tools that could help them solve various problems in daily life. The scholars thought of an original idea and the Twende facilitators gave them step-by-step instructions to bring their ideas to life using recycled materials.

The feedback from the instructors at Twende was encouraging to hear. They said our scholars showed a lot of curiosity, cooperation, hard work, and respect for the teachers. They all came on time and there was 100% participation. This shows that they were very engaged with the activity.

On the final day of the workshop, the scholars presented their work to the larger group and interested parties who had gathered to see their progress. One TFFT group designed a way of recycling unused soap. The other TFFT group designed a vegetable cutting machine that would shorten the time of food preparation. They proudly presented their original designs, their work flow diagrams, and a demonstration of their final products.

We hope that this hands-on creative workshop will help our scholars look at the world in a new way. Perhaps they will be more curious as to how things work! They will be more likely to feel that they can come up with new ways of solving old problems, have greater confidence in working with their hands, and appreciating how much fun it can be to be innovative.

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

Math & Science Project for TFFT Scholars

July 6, 2017

Last month, I worked on coordinating a math and science project, targeted to help some of our scholars who need extra attention in these subjects. The project is set to provide academic assistance to secondary students who need more time and focused learning in math, chemistry, physics, and biology. We hope that the scholars will gain a deeper level of understanding and confidence in these subjects. There are 22 TFFT Scholars involved in this tutorial support project to increase academic achievement.

The process of organizing, preparing, and giving the tutorials is exciting to the team, the teachers involved, and the scholars themselves. In preparation for the tutorials, the main objectives of the project and expectations from students were made clear. We used the progress report cards and listened to the students’ needs to help in the development of the program as a whole.

For the past three weeks, the scholars have been working with tutors in a classroom setting. They have engaged in different tasks, both one on one and in small groups led by the teachers. This has provided students with the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the subject matter and then to practice skills gained. Moreover, each week, we get feedback from the students about the teaching and learning. They share their opinions about the content, types of tasks, their needs, and expectations. This gives us a better understanding of what kind of support to provide and how to provide it to those who are in need.

The scholars are excited about this opportunity. Most of them believe that attending the tutorials will help them to perform better academically. The extra help and support we provide will ensure that all of our scholars meet their academic goals. We are committed to developing and providing the extra help and support that our scholars need in order to reach their academic success.

Cheers,

Noah Kayanda.

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

A Glimpse into TFFT’s Peer Mentoring Program

July 3, 2017

At the beginning of this year, 17 of our scholars participated in a special training about emotional intelligence, simple counseling, and mentoring. This group of Peer Mentors was sensitized on identifying other students under stress, and how best to support those students. They were also paired with new TFFT Scholars to help them adjust to a new community as they began at our partner schools.

During a recent gathering to review the Peer Mentoring program, 14 of our mentors talked about topics such as stress management, bullying at school, and the challenges and rewards of mentoring. They had practical experience in relaxation techniques such as visualization, present moment awareness, and muscle relaxation meditation. Though a new concept for our scholars, all partook in the exercises and could see how it could be used in times of stress as a way of calming the mind.

Another part of the review process included a time for each Peer Mentor to share their experiences over the past six months. Here are some of their responses:

“I like being a mentor because in the past, I have been mentored, so I like to share the knowledge that I received from the people who mentored me. I also like it because I would like to become a psychologist and by nature. When I see someone who is feeling down, I like to help them through it” – Monica, Star High School.

“I like showing someone the way. One of my friends at Usa River Academy was stubborn. I showed him the way to be a better person, to behave, and to express himself” – Athumani, Usa River Academy.

“I love my responsibility as a mentor because this job helps me to be a person who is accepted by the whole world. I am also proud of myself because I can change the world to make it a better place by helping those in need. I have helped to solve my peers’ problems, and I would love to continue this” – Janeth, Star High School.

“As a mentor, I was able to help shift things from negative to positive for my friends. For example, at school, I brought together a group of five members to create a study group. This group helped each other to make academic progress in school and succeeded at improving our study habits and grades. This led me to focus on my ambition, and I believe I make a good mentor” – Joyce, Star High School.

“I helped TFFT Scholars who had just moved up to Form 1. I helped them by showing them around at school and introducing them to peers in Form 1. I have also helped them with their studies. I have had several meetings with the new scholars so that they can support each other in difficult times and in happy moments” – Ndera, Star High School.

All our current mentors are excited to continue the added responsibilities of being a Peer Mentor, and have already signed up again for the 2018 school year. With the skills, compassion, and awareness that they have learned, our mentors will continue to have a positive impact on their school environments.

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

Dreaming Together

June 29, 2017

Having spent the first part of the year sharing our dream for the learning centre with the TFFT family in the U.S., it was pretty special to return to Tanzania and feel the growing anticipation of the TFFT Scholars and team. Countless moments have reminded me what a game changer this is going to be for TFFT, our scholars, the community, and Tanzania at large. Seeing the spark in the eyes of the individuals who will utilize this amazing place once it’s built brings everything to life in a new way.

On one of my first days here, Melissa and I went to visit TFFT Scholars Joyce, Ndera, and Sarah. Their school is on holiday for the month of June. During their break, TFFT has hired a tutor to provide them extra instruction in math and chemistry.

For the past eleven years, TFFT has often had to rely on bare, under-resourced government facilities that lack electricity, for TFFT trainings and other programming. Therefore, I met the girls in the small classroom TFFT rented for their tutoring. Their chairs screeched across the concrete floor as girls huddled together, excitedly studying every detail of the learning centre renderings.

They were giddy imagining that soon tutoring and all other TFFT programming during school breaks will take place in the learning centre—complete with technology, wifi, large study tables, whiteboards, and more. Books and expansive windows will surround them as they study.

Enormous smiles spread across their faces as they took it all in—a library with 50,000 books, a full computer lab, a college guidance centre, connectivity, abundant educational resources, and universal access! Their wheels were turning, and a surreal, is-this-really-happening feeling hung in the air.

Sarah, who is a singer, was curious if there will be a place for performances. I was happy to report that yes, there will be both indoor and outdoor spaces for speakers, events, and performances. Perhaps we are in store for a TFFT Scholar Talent Show in addition to the speaking engagements and other programming we are envisioning!!

Already planning how she will come spend an entire day at the learning centre during school breaks, Ndera was delighted to learn that there will even be a restaurant. She promised Melissa she will stop by the TFFT offices to invite her to lunch when she comes to work in the computer lab for the day. Joyce was elated to know that this seemingly magical place will actually be open to the entire community, children and adults alike, giving everyone access to what they need to learn and succeed.

Now they all wanted to see the land! We drove together and spent almost an hour just hanging out on the site, talking about the possibilities. The architecture and location will draw people from near and far. Our scholars will gather here with their guardians for TFFT’s Family Day in December. They will stop by over breaks for check-ins with our team or to do their homework. The mere idea of it all ignited something within Joyce, Ndera, and Sarah. They were beside themselves with excitement.

The tree in the center of the circular building is one of Joyce’s favorite design features, so she was relieved to confirm that we will indeed plant a tree. It struck me as so clever that this question occurred to her immediately when she saw the land. We even commented on the symbolism of the tree growing just as the minds and curiosity of everyone using the centre will also grow.

This learning centre will expand TFFT’s impact in an incredible way, opening doors and creating pathways to opportunity through trainings, expansive learning opportunities, mentorship, and incubation. It will meet people in the community where they are. It will raise the bar for educational excellence and encourage people to take action in pursuit of their dreams. It is powerful to imagine the innovation that will take flight as a result of this place. The change that this facility represents is palpable, and it has made me feel enormously grateful for all of you who are making it a reality. Thank you.

Posted in Advocacy, Development, Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

TFFT Training for Parents and Guardians

June 22, 2017

TFFT’s Psychosocial & Health Program introduced parent trainings to emphasize the importance of guardians’ involvement in their child’s life both at home and in school. So far, the workshops have progressed well; we have already trained four groups of parents and guardians of our scholars. This training helps to explore areas that can be easily overlooked.

A basic tool that guided us through these trainings is the “wheel of life” model from the wellness wheel (pictured below) that expresses the basic needs of a child. Through it, we were able to note needs that have been neglected while caring for a child, and those that have been over-prioritized due to misconceptions that in reality do not yield as much when worked on alone.


From the training, we realized that most parents place a smaller emphasis on the emotional needs of a child. These needs are either completely ignored or seen as taboo because when talked about, it is culturally believed that this can portray a sense of weakness. The concept illustrated by elements of need on the wellness wheel provokes consideration of meaningful interaction with children in issues affecting them, listening and responding to children’s problems, allowing children to express their feelings and needs, and encouraging them to set goals and reach their potential.

Apart from the wellness wheel, we shared with parents the importance of regular discussions with their children on a one-on-one basis. To be friendly enough for the children to open up, but also firm enough to gain the respect they deserve from their children. This will give parents an opportunity to actively be involved in every step of their children’s growth in academics and also in their social lives.

Another interesting part of the training was goal setting and monitoring for positive behavior change. To change a behavior is a process that does not come easily. Therefore, using a couple of examples of behaviors parents wanted to change in their children, we went through four steps for effective change and finally rounded up with the short and long term rewards for achieving a targeted behavior. We look forward to continuing these parent workshops and hearing about the results that the parents see!

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

Hooray! You Made the Match!

June 19, 2017

Congratulations!! We are excited to announce that through your generous response to the Capital Campaign Challenge, we were able to secure the entire $50,000 match and double each dollar you donated over the past month to the construction of the Learning Centre and the continuation of our mission. WOW!!! As always, we are blown away by the power of the TFFT family to rise to the occasion and make our work possible.

In addition to the significant dollars raised, your generosity provides tangible evidence of TFFT’s community of thoughtful, committed supporters. We deeply appreciate your dedication and belief in our mission.

Thank you once again to our sponsors — Joan & George Hornig, Anne McGonigle & Greg Witter, Jason Sehorn, and Patty & Stu Spencer — and to everyone who helped us reach the full potential of this opportunity. The momentum your combined participation has set into motion and the strong foundation you have built for the campaign are already helping to make the innovative and interactive new Learning Centre a reality.

We are inspired to partner with all of you as we continue to work hard each and every day to fulfill our mission and make this bold next step come to life. Thank you for the countless ways you come together to do great things with us. Your generous support of our Capital Campaign will make it possible to have even greater impact for the people of Tanzania and to address vulnerability through the lens of education in even more powerful ways.

Asante sana!

Posted in Advocacy, Development, Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

Building Better Communities Competition

June 15, 2017

On a rainy Saturday morning the students of Usa River Academy were assigned the task of building a better community. With colored pencils and paper in hand, groups of students came together to creatively draw on a poster an African village and were then asked to include as much detail as possible that would ensure the development of that village.

This activity was hosted by TFFT and is a part of the Mentoring Program that empowers peer mentors to take the lead at school. The peer mentors were given the responsibility to arrange and facilitate the school competition. Mentored by teachers and Family Cell leader Hedwiga, TFFT scholars Helena and Sophia led this competition. The two girls liaised with the principals of both the primary and secondary schools at Usa River, wrote a budget, arranged for refreshments, divided the participants into groups, collected supplies for the day, and advertised the event. A little too shy to get up in front of 150 or so fellow students in the dining hall, they asked two teachers to facilitate the judging of the posters.

Many factories, water storage, farming equipment, schools, shops, hospitals, and animals were seen in each poster, but some groups were even more creative and included such things as helicopter pads, tourist centers, tennis courts, and running tracks. In one presentation of posters, a young girl presented the imagined history of the town to the delight of the judges.

The posters were generally of an excellent quality, reflecting lots of work, thought and talent. The winning entrant was exceptional, worthy of framing and putting on a classroom wall. In this competition there were only four groups, but as there were many calls for a repeat of the competition, next time there could be many more smaller groups to showcase the talents of a greater number of students.

Overall the day was a nice break from the school routine, and the small treat of a soft drink added to the delight of the day for the children. The teachers were inspired to arrange other such events, and the peer mentors at the school were acknowledged and identified as school leaders. The Building Better Community Competition indeed helped build a better school community.

 

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