World AIDS Day: The Importance of Health Care for Our Scholars

December 1, 2017

Today is World AIDS Day. Our founder and executive director, Meghann, talks to the work TFFT does in relation to health care support as part of our whole child experience and the importance of advocacy for our children in the health and wellness sector.

 

“Good health is not only a consequence, but also a cause, of development. Healthier individuals, living longer lives; are more productive and contribute to national income, job creation, and economic development and growth; have fewer and healthier children, invest more time and greater resources in their children’s education, and thus secure the future for their societies; reduce costs of ill health to society and companies and enable resources to be directed to economically productive activities” (Harmonization for Health in Africa, Investing in Health for Africa).

TFFT serves scholars health and psychosocial needs in conjunction with their academic and life skills needs. Many of our children have been impacted by the AIDS pandemic and this makes them inherently vulnerable. These children have either lost parents and family members because of the disease, or are living with it themselves. We work in partnership with the DREAM clinic in Usa River, Tanzania to serve those scholars living with HIV/AIDS. DREAM was started as a program aimed at not only making antiretroviral therapy possible and accessible, but also addressing the complex measures and factors surrounding overall health care access for those affected by HIV/AIDS: health education, nutritional support, advanced diagnostics, staff training, malaria, tuberculosis, opportunistic infections and especially malnutrition. With the help of this program, our scholars are able to live productive lives and thrive in academic settings. The challenges are great, but the possibilities for these students are even greater.

Our work addressing our scholars’ health and psychosocial needs started when we noticed how the financial constraints led to our children becoming perpetually sick. Illnesses worsened, and student school absences increased due to health matters. Our first intervention was providing comprehensive health insurance for our scholars. When a child or family has health insurance, their ability and probability to go to a local clinic or hospital in town significantly increases.  Our children receive wellness check-ups, and have access to eye and dental care. Those living with HIV are provided additional nutrients while in school, vitamins and anti-retroviral therapy when needed. Our staff has been trained to counsel and address health and psychosocial matters. Additionally, we have created partnerships with other NGOs (Arusha Mental Health Trust and REPSSI) to best serve those needs. We also work directly with our partner schools to ensure they have trained professionals serving as nurses in their clinics and they are able to respond in adequate time to serve the children at their schools.  A World Bank study in Tanzania suggested that HIV/AIDS may reduce the number of primary-school children by 22 percent and secondary-school children by 14 percent as a result of increased infant and child mortality as well as lower attendance (International Institute for Educational Planning).

Beyond health insurance, we also look at how early childhood trauma impacts our scholars’ ability to thrive. We address vulnerability, and we do that through securing educational and emotional support. In order to achieve these goals, we have to improve their support structure, with health being a key component. We believe that sending scholars to school, while ignoring the health component of their mind and body, will act against the students in being able to reach their full potential.

Join us in supporting the whole child. If you be interested in sponsoring a scholar or learning about how you can support the whole child experience for the students we serve, please email me at Meghann (at) thefoundationfortomorrow.org

Posted in Advocacy, Psychosocial + Health, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

We Couldn’t Have Done It Without You: S.O.S. Gala 2017

November 19, 2017

Wow! Thank you for lighting the way with us.

What an evening to remember. On Saturday, November 11th, 175 donors, doers, and door-openers came together in Charlotte, North Carolina for our 11th annual South of the Sahara Gala, to celebrate the power that education can have to transform lives. We were reminded once again how our collective passion magnifies our impact as we light the way toward a brighter future for so many.

Together we raised an incredible $150,000 through our silent auction and live give fundraising efforts, which will fuel TFFT’s ability to continue our life-changing work. From helping our scholars maintain healthy minds and bodies, to arming teachers with crucial tools to be effective in the classroom, to showcasing examples of excellence for others to pursue, each and every dollar raised will have profound impact on the fulfillment of our mission. Thank you for your extraordinary gifts of time, passion, commitment and dollars.

As I look back on last weekend and TFFT’s 11-year journey, I am humbled by the fundamental influence each of you has had on our success. I continue to reflect on where we started: how the power of one turned into the power of ten, which turned into the power of thousands, influencing countless lives and we couldn’t have done it without YOU. Thank you for not only learning about our story, but for sharing it as your own, and for playing an important role in the achievements of our scholars.

As we blaze forward into this new decade, we continue to celebrate your influence, which has helped us grow and thrive. This is just the beginning. Be an active member of our growing community. Introduce us to your friends and companies who may want to learn more, or help us brainstorm new ways to connect with others in your community. Everyone here has a role in the success of our kids.

Each year, this event celebrates the generosity of individuals who bring TFFT’s work to life. Education is power, and there is power in the influence you all have. When we focus on our students, teachers, and quality education opportunities, we are allowing these individuals to have their own power of influence, the opportunity to thrive in their communities and the chance to impact others on a greater scale.

Thank you for being a member of the TFFT family and for your continued partnership in this incredible work.

These are just a few snapshots from our event. All photos are now uploaded our Facebook page to view. Enjoy!

Posted in Development, Events | Comments closed

S.O.S. Gala Online Auction is LIVE

November 2, 2017

Good afternoon TFFT friends!

Every year we anxiously count down the days until our family gathers in Charlotte to celebrate the impact of our mission together. It is hard to believe we are just 9 days away from our 11th annual S.O.S. Gala, and we cannot wait to see many of you at this special event! To share our excitement and give you a head start on securing some amazing prizes this year, our silent auction launches online TODAY!

Whether you want to browse items prior to bidding at the gala in person or show your support from a far, we want the entire TFFT family to have a fun-filled way to share in the fun, while making a big difference for our kids.

So how do you get started?

  • Step 1: Register your phone
  • Step 2: Preview the items here
  • Step 3: Get ahead and bid online!

Bidding is now open and closes Saturday, November 11th at 9:30pm EST.

If you are local and want to see the items in advance, please join us tonight at our Auction Preview Party at the New Gallery of Modern Art (435 South Tryon St., Suite 110 Charlotte, NC 28202). Join us from 6:30-8:00pm for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and to start bidding on the fabulous auction items. Guests welcome, no ticket necessary. Please just RSVP to info@thefoundationfortomorrow.org so we know you are joining us.

Happy bidding!

Meghann

Posted in Development, Events | Comments closed

Individuals Who Thrive: Inter-School Competition Featuring Student Winner, Victoria Kira

October 20, 2017

Over the next ten weeks, we will be focusing on the power of influence in our TFFT community through our blog and social media channels: individuals who give, individuals who teach, individuals who advocate, individuals who thrive. Below, Hilda shares an update on the Inter-School Competition (to learn more about the process of the Inter-School Competition, click here) and interviews one of our award-winning participants who was impacted by the program, Victoria Kira.

This month, the Full Circle program awarded ten student winners and two teacher coaches at the Inter-School Competition for high performance in science and mathematics.  The awarding process was different this year; students and teachers were awarded in their respective schools in front of their fellow peers and colleagues. Conducting the awards ceremony at the school was intentional to motivate other students and teachers to succeed in mathematics, science, and communication skills, which are subjects that are often a challenge in Tanzania.

Three prizes for mathematics were awarded to male students. Two male students won prizes for science, and the first prize for science was won by a female student. Four female students were awarded in communication skills. The winners were awarded a certificate and cash prizes for encouragement and motivation towards future success.

I had the opportunity to interview Victoria Kira, who won first prize in science and her teacher coach. I would love to share the interview questions and answers with all of you.

  1. Tell us about your background.

I am Victoria Kira, a form four student at Lemara Seconday School. I have three siblings (sisters) who lived in Moshi Kilimanjaro with my parents. I was selected to join a government school in Moshi but since they did not have science teachers I asked my parents to transfer me to Arusha.

  1. What is your ambition?

I love science subject and my ambition is to become a medical doctor in the future.

  1. How did you feel before attending this competition prepared by TFFT?

Before the competition I was very scared because I had never attended or attempted any competition before especially the one that included so many schools like this one. When I saw about two hundred participants from different school I was very uncomfortable and I knew I was not going to make through the first round. When I was selected for second round I felt so good and tell my self I will do the best to be the first winner.

  1. How did you feel after receiving the cash prize and certificate? How did your fellow students responded ? how about your parents?

My teachers were so happy and so proud of me especially the teacher who coached me during the time I was preparing for this competition. My fellow students did the same, all of them wished to participate next time. My parents were more happy and proud of me, they advice me to study hard so I can reach my goals. The cash prize that I was given I gave some to my mother to purchase food , I also paid for remedial classes and bought new school shoes and shirt.

       5. What is your advice to your fellow students?

I advice them to study very hard because education is only gift given to us to achieve our goals and dreams in the future. Also when programs like this of TFFT come to our school I advice them to dare to participate because they may be the next winners.

I thank The Foundation For Tomorrow for coming up with this project because to me it helped me to develop self confidence, raise my performance and proved that female students can do better in both science and mathematics.

The Full Circle program encourages a ripple effect throughout our community in partnering with local schools on projects like the Inter-School Competition. Interested beyond this initiative? Learn even more about Full Circle’s impact within our blog archive. We are so proud of you Victoria!

Posted in Full Circle, TFFT People Features, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Builders, Truth-Tellers, and Catalysts

September 28, 2017

Sounds fun… right?! Last month on top of getting to spend time in Tanzania (my happy place), I got to spend 4 days with a group of 700 really fascinating, driven individuals keen to learn, grow, and make this world a better place at the TEDGlobal Conference. Outside of the fact that I was sleep deprived, I was stoked about all that I learned and the incredible community of smart people I met. These people were willing to take their talents and share them in hopes of improving the state of our world.

The TED brand is known for their concept of “Ideas worth spreading”; many of you will have watched a TED talk or two online. The expert speakers share on technology, education, business, science, design, and the arts. TED believes “passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.”

As a lover of learning, I embrace the idea of people who know a lot more than me sharing passionately something that wakes them in the morning and moves them to act.

Workshop: Creating internet access for everyone with Eric Hersman at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED

David Sengeh, a Biomechatronics engineer, is creating next generation healthcare solutions for the developing world using artificial intelligence (AI). He is based in Kenya and works for IBM Research Africa. He is also the co-founder of Global Minimum which develops platforms to foster innovation and learning through making. This really helped me start to understand how AI can be incredibly valuable solving many challenges we currently face.

Su Kahumbu Stephanou is the CEO of Green Dreams TECH and the app iCow. Her app supports farmers caring for livestock so they can access livestock calendars, track fertility cycles of their animals, as well as guide them on breeding, nutrition, and milk production. The app has helped farmers increase productivity and incomes. The fact we can use mobile telephones to enable millions of farmers’ access to crucial information that isn’t accessible or difficult to find really got my wheels turning. If we can do this for farmers, what can we use with this same technology to support teachers and build their capacity throughout Tanzania. Africa has 1 billion mobile phone subscribers; reaching people through their devices is the way forward.

TEDx Group Photo at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Callie Giovanna / TED

These two speakers are just scraping the surface of what I was able to see and learn from. When you see art start conversations and bridge divides, solutions to solve the global food crisis presented, and drones making supply chain networks more efficient to deliver blood and medical supplies you can’t help but be hopeful. Dig deeper here.

Hosts Chris Anderson and Emeka Okafor at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Our world and the people who live in it are pretty incredible. While I have gotten to surround myself with so many intelligent, well meaning people, I have seen the dark parts too. I know the reality that exists for many of my students and other of the world’s most vulnerable people. It hurts, but I choose to live optimistically. I choose to come in and out of these sort of conferences or settings reinvigorated with a belief of what is possible. Take a moment to go out of your comfort zone and meet someone who knows a lot about something you know nothing about. Find the builders, those who speak truth to power and are catalysts in your community. Ask them questions, understand their world, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of their passion will seep into you. Maybe their fire will ignite something in you, and that desire to make the world a better place can continue to spread.
Posted in Advocacy, Development, Events, News, Tanzania | Comments closed

An Impact Study on Most Outstanding Teacher Awards

September 20, 2017

For the past two years, The Foundation For Tomorrow has awarded select teachers in Meru and Arusha City Councils with a Most Outstanding Teacher Award (MOTA). The general objective of this award is to increase teachers’ motivation, self-belief, and professional identity, and also to influence school management teams to stay aware of positive professional practices and set high expectations for school employees.

This month, we conducted an evaluation study to test how the recognition and awarding of the outstanding teachers results in an increase the awarded teachers’ motivation, self-belief, and professional identity, and also that of their peers. The evaluation also aimed to determine whether MOTA has influenced the school management teams’ awareness of good teaching practices.

The evaluation study was carried out through interviews with the awardees and observation in their respective schools and classrooms. According to the evaluation finding MOTA has positively influenced the awardees, other teachers and school managements in many ways. Below are some of the evaluation results which demonstrates the impact of MOTA.

Inspiration

The MOTA has encouraged and inspired the recognized and awarded teachers to put more effort into the use of teaching aids during instruction and trying new techniques to improve instruction. The awarded teachers noted that creativity and innovation, as well as ability to create a rewarding and engaging learning experience, were among the criteria that used during the search of the most outstanding teacher. The award has inspired them to use a variety of teaching aids and continue to think of fresh approaches. The majority of the school leaders pointed out that MOTA increased the creativity of teachers in making and using various teaching aids. For instance, one school management team noted, After receiving the award Mr. Mdee (awardee) has increased innovative techniques in creating different teaching resources. For example, he created a Knowledge Television – one resource which contains different subjects and topics.”

One awardee noted:

“The recognition for receiving the award acted as a catalyst for increasing my efforts. Since then, I have worked extra hard, eager to learn new teaching techniques through reading books and online resources. Implementing these techniques in the classroom has challenged me to continue to do things differently for the sake of my students. I see myself as a role model for the other teachers in my school.”

Teachers’ interview responses provided insight about how they felt as a result of receiving the award. There was consistency in the interview responses between the awardees, other teachers, and school leaders. The awardees reported that the award challenged them to do better to become the best teachers they can be and continue to be a role model to other teachers in their respective schools. The school leaders reported that the awards inspire other teachers to improve their teaching habits, as they aspire to follow in the awardees footsteps and one day gain recognition for their own teaching performance. 

Collaboration

Respondents revealed that the recognition and awarding of outstanding teachers has strengthened relationships between teachers, school committees, and parents. It has increased cooperation as well as teamwork among teachers and school management. Teacher focus group discussions and awardees’ interviews attested that MOTA has contributed to the collaboration of teachers in creation of teaching and learning resources, the identification and support of challenged learners, and in working as a team in the assessment of students.

Awardee from Meru District “…. Unlike before, the award and recognition has strengthened bonds and cooperation with my fellow teachers, we have been able to co-create teaching aids and encourage their use because it was one of the criteria behind why I was selected for the award. I came back to my school after receiving the award, and my colleagues felt valued as well. It was not ‘Me’ awarded, but ‘We’ – all the teachers were part of the achievement I was recognized for.”

Results

MOTA has built the trust of teachers and school leaders towards the awarded teacher. This is demonstrated by the willingness of other teachers to ask for help in the preparation of teaching aids and wanting to learn best teaching practices from the awardee. MOTA has increased parents’ relationships with the school by creating trust and involvement in their child’s education.

MOTA has demonstrated good practices, as we have seen it has influenced a strong sense of vocation that encourages teachers to plan and deliver thoughtful, engaging lessons. The awardees see themselves as role models for students, and their colleagues. Their motivation to support those who are struggling has also been increased. TFFT will continue to expand the positive impact of MOTA at a community level in the future.

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

Meet Kieran from Team TFFT

September 13, 2017

We are thrilled about our new Team TFFT website, which makes it possible for both individual and group fundraisers to support TFFT in improving access to quality education through athletic endeavors. We’ll be sharing more soon, and today, we are excited for you to meet Kieran, one of Team TFFT’s athletes. He is a freshman in high school, and his story for why he supports TFFT is inspiring. If you are interested in joining Team TFFT, please email us at support (at) teamtfft (dot) org. RIDETZ 2018 is also open for registration!

Where are you from?

I was born in Chicago, but Charlotte has been home for most of my life.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to run, bike, and swim, as well as hang out with friends and family. I also love to go fly-fishing and snowboarding.

Who is your inspiration in life?

I have a lot of inspirational people in my life but my biggest two are probably my parents. I admire them for their incredible work-ethic and sheer determination.

What inspired you to support TFFT?

I have been involved with TFFT for a long time, at first because of my family. My mom has been volunteering with TFFT for as long as I can remember and she kind of pulled me into their network. I have always believed in the organization’s mission to provide quality education to vulnerable kids in East Africa. When I was in fifth grade I remember a donation my parents made to TFFT’s Full Circle Program. Being raised in a competitive family, I immediately tried to top them. I donated money that I received for my birthday to the Full Circle Program and met with Kaitlin Rogers Perez to learn more about what my donation meant. Ever since, I have been involved with TFFT in various ways.

Tell us a bit about yourself, such as where you go to school, cross country, and how you decided to start a profile for Team TFFT?

I am currently 14 years old and a freshman at Weddington High School. I’ve been running for nearly half of my life. I ran on the cross country and track team in middle school and decided to keep that going in high school. The mileage is a lot more and the workouts are difficult, but cross country is a great sport that allows for many incredible opportunities. This June I got braces put on, and as many people know, they are expensive.  My mom is tough about gratitude, understanding privilege, and having perspective.  After a “discussion” explaining needs vs. wants, she threw down a challenge.  She said yes to the braces, if I agreed to raise $5,760 (the full amount of the braces) for the non-profit of my choice.  I accepted the challenge and am now fundraising for TFFT throughout my 2017/2018 XC season. I’m excited to see if I can hit my goal and help TFFT scholars have the same opportunities that I’ve been given.

Posted in Development, Introductions | Comments closed

Livelihood Project Update

September 7, 2017

One of the projects that TFFT’s Psychosocial & Health Program works on is our Livelihood Initiatives project. TFFT implemented this project as a means of supporting and economically enabling the heads of household for our scholars. As much educational support as these young and brilliant minds receive, they still go back to their homes and are faced with extreme poverty that affect their well-being. As we seek to tackle the cycle of poverty through holistic interventions, our Livelihood Initiatives program addresses the relationship between household livelihoods and children’s well-being.

Since the Livelihood Initiatives project was implemented, a total of 95 households have received interest free micro-loans to start an income generating activity. With these loans, most invested in agriculture and animal keeping businesses. Others invested in selling day to day essential items like clothing, shoes, food, and toiletries. Since receiving these loans, the guardians of our scholars’ households have been able to establish a standing income, and through that they are able to cater for immediate needs of their families. They have completed loan returns and are doing well with their businesses.

To date, TFFT has given loan support to 95 households, most headed by women. Within the women-headed households, we have groups of women involved in different income generating activities, including:

We regularly visit the households to monitor their business and progress. A good number of them have businesses that are running well, their efforts and returns are satisfying, and they may be considered for the next phase of loan disbursement. These families are grateful for the support, through which they have been able to tend to immediate concerns and needs of their children and the family at large.

In addition to monetary support, they also attend brief trainings that equip them with financial knowledge, record keeping, and business management skills. These are different from the parent/guardian trainings organized by TFFT.

Posted in Psychosocial + Health, Scholarship Program, Tanzania, TFFT's Partners | Comments closed

Witnessing Scholar Progress

September 5, 2017

Recently, I was able to spend an afternoon with some of our Secondary Scholars at Usa River Academy. We were able to introduce Haruni, our new team member, to the scholars. We also introduced Shellagh, a TFFT volunteer who is from Australia. It is always great to have a check-in with the scholars and hear updates about what is going on in their personal lives, in school, any challenges, and their latest academic progress. TFFT Alumna, Irene, studied at Usa River Academy, and also accompanied our team on the school visit. She provided valuable insight to our scholars about life at school and how to make academic improvements.

I enjoyed observing Irene speaking candidly to the scholars. Since she studied in the same environment, she had a powerful impact on them. She performed very well on her Form Four National Exams, and then she joined Arusha Modern School for her advanced studies. Now Irene is studying Information System Management at Ardhi University.

Irene really inspired the scholars she spoke with when she explained her determination to be in the top five of her class. She shared that she used to struggle in math, so she decided to practice solving at least 25 math questions each day in order to improve. The scholars present admired her approach and expressed interest in using similar techniques and commitment to make any necessary improvements in their own studies.

Each team member also gave advice to our scholars. We suggested how working together can be helpful. Scholars who perform well in a subject can assist their peers who are struggling. We also suggested productive ways to seek help from teachers if they fail to understand what was taught in class.

After our discussion, the went to play sports. Every Friday afternoon at Usa River Academy, the scholars play sports with their peers. Most of our male scholars play soccer and girls play netball. The Friday that we visited, they had a soccer competition organized with a nearby school, Maji ya Chai Secondary (a government school). It was exciting to see our scholars’ excitement for the game!

Posted in Scholarship Program, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Graduation at Usa River Academy!

September 1, 2017

On August 26th, The TFFT family celebrated the graduation of two scholars, Yusuph E. Logeria and Mandu Joseph, from Usa River Academy. This milestone is a great symbol of TFFT’s work. The TFFT team, donors, volunteers, and partners are all happy to see orphans and vulnerable children have access to quality education so that they may reach their full potential and thrive in their community.

Yusuph and Mandu completed Class 7. They will sit for their Class 7 National Exams next week. Mandu and Yusuph both feel confident about the upcoming exams. It meant a lot to them that the TFFT team showed up to support them on their special day. Yusuph said that he is proud of his accomplishments and that graduating Class 7 is his first step towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer. “Thanks to TFFT for helping me from baby class through graduation. After completing my secondary education, I want to be a police officer and serve my country” he said. This graduation was also a special mark for TFFT because Yusuph, the third of the triplets that captured Meghann’s heart at Nkoaranga Orphanage in 2004, graduated Class 7.

Mandu considers his graduation from Class 7 as the beginning of preparation towards the long journey to become an Engineer. “I am a graduate, and I am so happy for this day! I thank TFFT for supporting me since I was a baby. After finishing my studies I want to be an engineer” Mandu said excitedly when asked how way it felt to be a graduate.

It was wonderful to see the TFFT team witness some of our scholars receive recognition awards for various areas. Angel Nyange received an academic award for best Preparatory Class pupil of the year, Salome Joseph the best Class 1 pupil of the year, Nelson Greyson the best Class 5 pupil of the year and a certificate of appreciation for showing exemplary leadership ability, and Athumani Juma the best Form 1 pupil of the year.

In addition to the academic awards, certificates of appreciation where awarded to Gideon Loishiye for most academic improvements and the most disciplined pupil in his class, Paulina Mimereki for most academic improvements in her class, and Kennedy Lomboy for best sport.

Throughout the day, all of the students at Usa River Academy participated in various performances to celebrate graduation. I loved the moment of getting to see TFFT Scholar Omary on the stage, performing an amazing and interesting dance. He captured the entire audience! All of the TFFT Scholars participated in these performances with their peers, and each scholar shined in the activities.

And now, some more pictures from graduation day… it was a cheerful and exciting celebration for all!

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