Introducing Hilda

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We are thrilled to welcome Hilda to the team as our Full Circle Program Manager! Her strong passion for life skills education and our mission is inspiring, and we are excited to see the positive impact she is sure to bring TFFT. Welcome, Hilda!

Would you tell us little about yourself-where are you from, what do you do in spare time, what are your hobbies?

My name is Hilda Baldwin Lema. I am 29 years old and a mother of one child. I was born in Machame, Kilimanjaro. I graduated from Tumaini University Iringa in 2011. I am the last born with two sisters and one brother. My father is a retired teacher and my mother is a retired typewriter for the Tanzania Bible Association. I am Chagga by tribe, the most commonly known tribe in Tanzania from northern part of Kilimanjaro. Our main tribal food is banana.

In my spare time I love spending time with my son who is two and a half years old. I love teaching him sports like football, running, rope jumping, and play and hide. I also love engaging in youth conferences and coaching on personality, leadership, entrepreneurship, relationships, puberty education, and children’s rights. I like reading books related to youth, adults, and children, and watching the news and documentaries. I enjoy learning from other organizations that deal with children and youth, and these have widened my understanding of this work.

What are your previous work experiences?

Since 2012 I have worked for Asante Africa Foundation (AAF) in various positions. First, I recorded, edited, and translated Khan Academy in biology and mathematics. Next I was a Scholarship Intern. In this role I visited schools and met with AAF scholars and listened to their stories of how they came to AAF. These stories were very touching to me. I never thought there were kids coming from as difficult of an environment as those I met. One class 3 girl (third grader) was taking care of her brother and grandmother. She was an orphan who was left with nothing by parents who died from HIV. Her grandmother was 87 years old. Before AAF, she would sell vegetables after school and go neighborhood families asking for any job that she can do over weekend and after school to earn money to feed herself, her young brother, and her grandmother and to buy workbooks and pens for school. She is now the best student and wants to become a doctor to give back to her community by helping those in need.

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Then I was a Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator Coordinator. I led weeklong trainings for students, and it was an unforgettable experience to help our students become independent, responsible, and active community members who contribute rather than becoming burdensome to community and family. Lastly, I worked as a Wezesha Vijana Coordinator. Having worked so close to school and students, I came to realize that there was a great need to introduce life skills education in school. My past experience showed me how important it is to implement life skills education to primary and secondary students. This is essential for leadership and personality development. We focused on puberty education, entrepreneurship, peer pressure, stress management, decision making, dream mapping, and children’s right with the aim of reducing drop out, early marriage, unplanned pregnancy and eradicate female genital mutilation.

How did you first learn about TFFT?

 When working with AAF we had a leadership and entrepreneurship incubators conference for AAF scholars and other partnering schools at Usa River Academy, where many of the TFFT Scholars attended school. I met with one of the teachers, Eric, and he mentioned TFFT. I then searched the TFFT website to learn more. I later saw the job advertisement for TFFT on Arusha mailing and I was so interested to applying due to TFFT’s mission and vision.

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How will these experiences prepare you for your work as TFFT’s Full Circle Program Manager?

My past experiences, especially the life skill experiences, will help me a lot in my role as the Full Circle Program Manager. So many students don’t finish school, struggle with early pregnancies, poor performance, ineffective communication, and poor interactions among students and teachers, and all of these are caused by lack of life skills. When students learn life skills, I believe so many positive changes will happen in their lives. I am expecting at the end the Scholarship Program students will be proud of their improved:

  • self esteem
  • communication
  • inter-personal relations among students
  • confidence
  • knowledge on HIV
  • knowledge of children’s rights and responsibilities
  • student-teacher relations
  • attendance and reduced drop out
  • performance
  • engagement in community work
  • family- school link
  • talents due to sports

At school students gain academic knowledge, but teachers forget that life skills are essential for students too. In reality, despite academic achievement, how we apply the knowledge we acquire in school requires life skills. As the Full Circle Manager, I will put emphasis on this and follow up to make sure that primary students have knowledge of personal hygiene, humanity, children’s rights and responsibilities. I will work to awaken students’ talents and students’ and teachers’ relationships. Through the Personality Development and Sports (PDS) class—the class that TFFT’s life skills curriculum is taught in—I will emphasize to teachers the importance of teaching these skills to students. These skills will make them responsible for their families and nation at large.

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What about TFFT’s mission inspires you?

Providing quality education and emotional support to some of the most vulnerable children inspires me. Looking at the backgrounds of the children TFFT supports, there are many children from orphanage centers. Their backgrounds inspire me because TFFT is acting as the family and guardian for these kids. I was also inspired by TFFT’s program that strengthens the livelihood of our scholars’ foster families by providing them with loans. This will change their lives completely and make it possible for these families to provide for the basic needs of their children. Also, uniting these orphans to their families is good because they can feel like other non-orphaned kids, rather than staying at an orphanage, which can affect children psychologically. There are so many orphaned and vulnerable children in East Africa, and with support of TFFT, many benefit from our services. I so believe when they grow up they will have good jobs, stable lives, and they will be on our side reducing this problem.

What attracted you to the position as the TFFT’s Full Circle Program Manager

TFFT’s influence implementing life skills education through the nationally mandated Personality Development and Sports (PDS) class attracted me to apply for the Full Circle Program Manager position. This will benefit many students, rather than just a few. I wish life skills education would be taught well in all schools in Tanzania. TFFT’s aim to achieve this through PDS class moved me because I believe it will soon be nationally adopted and all students will learn these skills.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Life skills education is very essential in Tanzania. Teachers tend to forget that in life, students need to use skills. The fact that PDS is not tested by exams makes teachers able to use this time for personal activities. With the curriculum and toolkit TFFT developed, many teachers are now feeling prepared to teach and engage students in developing talents through sports. I so believe this will be nationally adopted.

 

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The African Grantmakers Network Assembly 2015, A Turning Point

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The Foundation For Tomorrow invests in building the capacity of our team. Attending conferences is one way to stay current in the space of philanthropy and development across Africa. 

The African Grantmakers Network (AGN) is a continent-wide network of grant making organizations and other philanthropic groups. It was established in July 2009 to facilitate African philanthropic institutions to network and learn from each other.

I attended the third AGN assembly in Arusha, Tanzania on July 1st-3rd 2015. The assembly focused on three critical areas: people, policy, and practice. Participants left with a new revelation of philanthropy in Africa. This post will be the first of a series and will detail my take-aways from the “People” section.

The people programme emphasized that the growing field of African philanthropy must include the contributions, ideas, and experiences of critical constituents such as women, youth, and other marginalized groups of African citizens. Dialogues were held on the involvement of women-focused philanthropies in addressing challenges facing women in Southern Sudan. We also discussed the movements of raising women into power in Liberia, as well as emergency responses of women-focused philanthropies in crisis areas: such as in rebel areas in Eastern Congo, in war zones in Sudan, and in the responses during the Ebola Virus outbreak in western Africa. Women-focused philanthropies have played a great role in addressing most of these challenges in the communities; however, because their efforts have gone unpublished, the world is not yet aware of their contributions. Additionally, some youth-focused philanthropies shared how they engage youth in influencing the changes in their communities, especially through art and the use of information technology. An example of this is the Magamba team in Zimbabwe, who have been using television programs (Zambezi News in National Television) and music concerts to encourage youth to engage in development and political change.

As we take this in, our team is also looking at the contributions and ideas our scholars and the vulnerable populations we serve provide and also how they can play a role in changing the course of their own lives. There is always a fine line between empowering and enabling, and as we continue this blog series, we will dive deeper into Policy and Practice and how NGOs and philanthropy throughout Africa can continue to build and empower. TFFT has always believed systemic change happens from a community level, and we’re thrilled to see more and more Africans taking the reins  for solutions for to the problems that exist in this area.

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Introducing Stephen

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We are thrilled to welcome Stephen to the team as our Scholarship and Mentoring Program Manager! His strong passion for our mission is inspiring, and we are excited to see the positive impact he is sure to bring TFFT. Welcome Stephen!

My name is Stephen Lumati. I was born and brought up in a small village called Chegulo in Western Kenya. Growing up as a young boy, I was fortunate to have parents who, despite their illiteracy, recognized the value of education and encouraged me to work hard – leading to my award of a Bachelor of Education Degree (Bed) from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. My late mother was a source of my inspiration – always emphasizing to us that education is key to success. This to a large extent has contributed and shaped my belief that every child deserves a quality education, coupled with conducive school and home environment.

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I have 24 years’ experience in the education sector, specifically in teacher training, Quality Assurance and Standards, and program development management – both in government and NGOs across Kenya, South Sudan, and with a few assignments in Uganda. I have also volunteered at Haki Za Wanawake and Development (HAWA), a national NGO in Tanzania, that mobilizes women through media to identify and advocate for issues of concern to them.

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I first learned about TFFT from my wife, who coincidentally shares the same passion with me of supporting young people to build knowledge, skills, values, and attitude. Each of these are a prerequisite for a generation of transparent and accountable leaders who will transform their communities by leading in the fight against poverty and ignorance. Going through TFFT’s website, I was attracted by the vision and mission, which resonate well with my passion for helping vulnerable young people access quality education. Learning about TFFT set my search for opportunities to work with them. I am delighted that TFFT has given me the chance to offer my service and contribute to changing the lives of vulnerable young people.

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I intend to build on the existing efforts already put in place by strengthening the benchmarks of quality education in our partner schools and orphanages. I will use my value-based leadership skills and life skills expertise to develop a mentoring framework and consolidate and coordinate the synergies of our boundary partners, who I have had an opportunity to work with in the East Africa region, ensuring an even more vibrant Scholarship and Mentoring Program for TFFT.

Of immediate priority to me is creating a survey to establish the current levels of satisfaction of our boundary partners with the Scholarship Program offered by TFFT. I will then use evidence-based learning to innovatively scale up the program to benefit more scholars. I will also be developing a Scholarship Mentoring Framework for TFFT, identifying new scholars with the help of communities, and identifying boundary partners. Finally, I will be mobilizing the TFFT Alumni to actively participate in TFFT programs and encourage them to give back to a system that has helped/is helping them find a purpose in their lives and the communities they come from.

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I will use my skills in fundraising and media, both locally and internationally, to increase the portfolio and visibility of TFFT’s programs. In the long run, I wish to see TFFT Scholars serving as role models to the program and contributing to the social economic development of their communities.

During my spare time I love swimming, taking nature walks, and reading. This way I am able to balance between work and leisure, but also relax and widen the scope of my knowledge.

I wish to thank the management and staff of TFFT, our boundary partners, and everyone who has helped me to settle down in my new assignment.

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Adventure Awaits

July 14, 2015

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Do you dream of traveling to Tanzania? Are you looking for something to keep you motivated, challenged, active, and excited for the next year? We have some exciting news for you…

RIDETZ 2016 registration has officially begun!

June 18 – July 2, 2016

Join 20 riders from all over to embark on an action-packed, exhilarating 10-day, adventure as you bike 400 miles from Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean.

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Learn more about the work you make possible through TFFT…

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Meet the TFFT scholars…

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And raise awareness for quality education as you ride from Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean.

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Know with each pedal stroke, you are riding for something much bigger than yourself…

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You don’t have to be an extreme athlete to embark on this adventure; you don’t have to be a world traveler; you don’t have to be a master fundraiser. If you’re enthusiastic, driven, and passionate, you’re a perfect fit for RIDETZ.

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            “Overall it was an amazing experience. I think experiencing the difficulty of the ride is an important parallel to some of the difficult challenges that the students face – so while it was sometimes so hard – it was important to experience that.”

– Aileen, RIDETZ 2014 Rider

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Have we sparked your interest? Save the dates: June 18 – July 2, 2016. Read about a typical day of RIDETZ. Learn more about the trip on the RIDETZ website. Finally, SIGN UP because space is limited and will be filled first come, first serve.

It’s time to open your eyes and your heart to a new world!

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As always, thank you to the wonderful Nate Kaiser for these beautiful photos.

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Happy and Sad Boxes

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Being the Head of our Health and Psychosocial Programs, I am always aware of our children’s best interest and how to support their emotional needs. Happy and Sad Boxes are an approach established in schools to offer children an opportunity to communicate and share their rights, and/or the violation of their rights, as well as best practices happening at their school.

Creating a child friendly school environment will automatically enhance educational performance. International laws against torture are all applicable to children, including the principles that govern detention conditions, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Having this in mind, TFFT decided to create a specific programme for children. This was done after recognizing that schools did not have sufficient information on torture and other violent acts committed against children. This contributes to their health, behaviour, and academic performance in school. Sadly, various NGOs and government systems used an interpretation of Article 1 of the Convention against Torture that did not take into account the specific situation of children.

Moreover, even though the Committee on the Rights of the Child enjoyed broad jurisdiction on the situation of children, it could not address individual cases. Further, although the special mechanisms (e.g., Child right committees, social workers and working groups) could be alerted of all types of cases, very few were communicated by children themselves. With this in mind, TFFT decided to conduct a training for 15 Government schools in the Meru District on how to handle these situations. 10 are primary school and 5 are secondary schools. The training was done for 30 representatives. Teachers and Ward Education Coordinators were there to represent their schools/wards. Then they went back to train fellow teachers and students, expanding the reach of the training.

The main objectives of the Happy and Sad Boxes programme are:

  • Understand the meaning of child abuse, types and its effects.
  • Explore sources of abuse and positive practices happening in their areas
  • Understand their roles and responsibilities in protecting children.
  • Understand the processes and procedures for intervention of child abuse.
  • Provide awareness on child protection to the students in their respective schools and areas of jurisdiction.
  • Establish happy and sad boxes approach in schools
  • To provide physiological support to victims
  • To protect children from torture and other forms of violence through prevention, denunciation and advocacy in order to create community pressure against the District so that violence is avoided or ceases.
  • To promote and defend children’s rights by reinforcing the protection of children who are victims of torture or threatened by torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The following schools participated;

  1. Chemchem Primary School
  2. Kimandafu Primary School
  3. Sing’isi Primary school
  4. Uraki Primary School
  5. Malula Primary School
  6. Maji ya Chai Primary School
  7. Leganga Primary School
  8. Nambala Primary School
  9. Moivaro Primary School
  10. Nkwandrua Primary School
  11. Sing’isi Secondary School
  12. Uraki Secondary School
  13. Kitefu secondary school
  14. Muungano Secondary School
  15. Nkwandrua Secondary School

The following themes were covered: attitude change, child protection concept, the meaning of child abuse, sources and effects, national and international conventions of child protection, and Child Helpline International approach (Happy and Sad boxes).

In the process of supporting the participants to change attitudes towards children, the starfish story exercise was shared. In this story, the first character (woman) showed a positive attitude to rescue starfish that washed away from the sea while the second (old man) had a negative attitude ignoring what the woman was doing. After observing the woman for a while, he changed his mind and decided to join her to rescue the starfish. The community around the shore (third character) were attracted and joined the exercise where they rescued even more starfish. Participants reflected the story in their real life and commented that in our communities some adults are not fulfilling their responsibilities of caring their children. They declared that children are vulnerable and thus need collective efforts in supporting and protecting them.

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The child protection concept was captured through a video where a cattle of the buffalo rescued a calf from a lion pride after a long battle. In reflection to child protection, it showed that adults need collaborative efforts, commitment, and confidence in taking action towards protecting children.

In the plenary session, the meaning of child abuse, sources and effects was discussed. It was observed that abuse is any action or words intended to children that can harm their well being and development. It was shared that there are four types of child abuse which are physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect.  Child maltreatment was found to happen in the families, schools, faith based communities such as churches, mosques and other areas in the community. The effects of child abuse were discussed in details whereby physically, a child can experience wounds, bruises, and disability. Psychologically, abuse can cause a child to demonstrate poor academic performance, poor social interaction with peers, self harm, destructive behaviors, substances abuse among other effects.

The participants were taken through various sources of child rights from international, regional and national. International wise there is the United Nation Convention of Rights of Children (UNCRC) which was established in 1989. At regional level there is African Charter on Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). At National level references were made from National Constitution (1977) and Law of Child Act No. 21 of 2009.

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Participants were then introduced about the concept of Happy and Sad boxes, which is an approach adopted from Child Helpline International (CHI) (a global service to help children in need of care and protection). This approach in our context was implemented by using boxes established in schools to offer children an opportunity to communicate and share their rights, violation for action, and good practices.


Teachers were happy about the training and they committed to pass the training to their fellow teachers and students. In the 1st day teachers were a bit reluctant on correcting children misbehaviour without corporal punishment (common place in schools throughout Tanzania.)  After the second day and of a lot of exercises and training, teachers began to change their tune. Our hope is that some of the teachers will find alternative ways to discipline children, doing away with corporal punishment all together.

TFFT is providing these Happy/Sad boxes to schools. Teachers at these schools will continue training for other teachers and students in school. Currently, boxes have been distributed to four schools. The schools are on break now, when they reopen, we will finish distribution to the rest the schools.

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Collaborating with Helps Education Fund

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When I chanced upon Helps Education Fund on Pinterest in 2013 while looking for literacy activities, I got excited and immediately emailed them. At that time, Helps Education Fund was offering an online opportunity for teachers to become certified Helps Trainer. Helps stands for Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies, a program designed to improve reading fluency among early readers. The TFFT Teachers Training Program invests a lot of effort on literacy initiatives. In East Africa (composed of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda), less than one third of pupils enrolled in third grade possess basic literacy and numeracy skills. Among pupils in Class 7, one in five do not have Class 2 level literacy and numeracy competencies.

That inquiry to Dr. John C. Begeny, founder and director of Helps Education Fund, was followed by many emails and Skype calls that spanned 2 years discussing the prospect of collaboration. In May 2015, this collaboration finally came to fruition. Dr. Begeny came to Arusha, Tanzania under the sponsorship of The Foundation for Tomorrow to train teachers and heads of schools on the Helps Program and Systems Oriented Plan for Academic Achievement (SOPAA) – a systems-level approach to making schools more effective and efficient in assisting academically struggling students. 

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Twenty-two teachers from selected government and private schools attended the Helps Training on May 18-19. The bulk of the 2 days were devoted to training the teachers on how to implement the core procedures of the Helps program. Ample time was provided for them to learn how to conduct oral reading fluency assessment and timed readings. Teachers teamed up and alternated pretending as teachers and students during the practice sessions. A session was also set specifically for teachers to identify challenges in the implementation of the program in their contexts and how to mitigate them.

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On May 21-22, 37 heads of schools from different schools and education officials from the district education office attended the SOPAA training. These two days found the participants learning about TAPS (Targeted Assistance Program for Students) and how important the presence of a well-coordinated/structured system is to the effective functioning of a school and most critical to assisting student learning. Dr. Begeny introduced tools that the participants can adapt as well as help them reflect on their respective system’s strengths and areas of improvement.

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Helps Education Fund believe in collaborative partnerships and we at TFTT are also strong believers on the power of collaboration to achieve common good. In total, 59 teachers and heads of schools coming from 25 different schools were trained as a result of this collaboration. TFFT would be conducting follow-ups with the schools in the next two months to check the implementation of their action plans. Helps Education Fund through Dr. John Begeny commits to continue supporting this collaboration and we can never be happier with this. We look forward to working with them again in the years to come!

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Hi everyone!

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Hi everyone! My name is Grace Miller, and I couldn’t be more pleased about spending the summer with TFFT as an intern! I was born an hour north of Charleston in a small town called Georgetown. I lived there for about thirteen years, but then my family decided to move closer to Charlotte. I currently live in Lake Wylie, SC, which is about half an hour from Charlotte. I just finished my sophomore year of high school, and I will be a junior this fall at Clover High School. I’m currently on my school’s tennis team, and I’m a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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I first learned about TFFT through my step-dad, who is an avid supporter of TFFT, and I was eager to get involved. At first, I didn’t know much about TFFT, but I could tell that the organization’s mission was wholesome and kindhearted. Even though I haven’t traveled that much, I deeply desire to travel to Africa one day and to help out through service while I’m there. I decided to apply to TFFT for a summer internship to head in that direction. Thankfully, I’ve been rewarded with this amazing internship.

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So far, I feel completely welcomed at the TFFT office in Charlotte. I’ve gotten to know Meghann, Ray, and Maggie, as well as the other new summer interns, Lucy and Lambeth. I’m getting caught up about the goals of TFFT and the overall mission of the organization. I’ve been assigned a few campaigns and projects to work on throughout the summer, and I’m helping out with minor tasks along the way. I’m working on the holiday card with Lambeth, as well as learning more about our scholars in Tanzania.  Even after a few days, I can tell that this is going to be a highly productive and engaging summer in TFFT’s office. I’m looking forward to helping out TFFT this summer while discovering the impact they have on Tanzania.

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Farewell

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Oh TFFT Blog Reading Community! I may not know you, I may have never met you, maybe I have emailed with you…if you are a sponsor, I probably know your name and address by heart. Well, whatever our connection, I have been writing to you for a long time now. After over 3 years of working for TFFT, it is sadly time for me to send a farewell.

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I would like to take you back to the first blog I wrote for TFFT, an introduction to me—I wrote this blog, sitting in my childhood room in my parent’s house, surrounded by clothes and suitcases the night before I left to come to Tanzania. I wrote that blog as a very different person, in a very different circumstance. Now, I have built a huge network and family in Tanzania (including a certain group of 112 students). I have greatly improved my Kiswahili since the time that I accidentally said “Wash me!” instead of “Leave me alone” to someone pestering me on the street. I have learned how to manage a program, do a baseline study, work with students and teachers alike, drive in a very ad-hoc traffic situation, and I know how to pay for electricity through my phone.

Clearly, we have come a long way!

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I cannot possibly convey the impact the working for TFFT has made in my life. The work experiences that I have had, the support I have received, and the things I have learned are invaluable to me. I might be biased, but never in my work experiences, or in any organizations that I have seen, have I witnessed a more cohesive and dedicated staff. As we celebrated my time at TFFT last week with a lunch, the memories were flowing—and I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

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I am very excited to have the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge I have gained with The Foundation For Tomorrow in a new position, with a new organization called AgriCorps in Ghana. I am inspired and looking forward to seeing what this will bring to my life, knowledge, and skills. I think back to the people and experiences that shaped me in my TFFT adventure and remind myself of this as I face the same anxiety and fear that I did when I boarded a plane to Tanzania in 2011.

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I will be eternally grateful that I went ahead and boarded that plane! And each of you has played a part in my experience. Thank you to all of you—the supporters, the donors, the partners, the sponsors, the people who are inspired by TFFT’s Mission and Vision! Thank you for your contribution to our work, and my work experience. Thank you for holding dearly the rights of children and supporting TFFT to work in this. It has been a huge honor working with all of you! Karibuni Ghana and I can’t wait to see what TFFT’s future has in store!

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My Summer Home

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Hi, my name is Lucy Pitts and I am so excited about working in the Charlotte office for TFFT! I am starting my junior year at Rhodes College in the fall, but I went to high school and grew up right here in Charlotte, NC. I am an education and adolescent psychology major at Rhodes.

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My family has always had a passion for helping children and growing up my parents instilled the importance of giving back to the community. When I was about 10, my family and I traveled to Tanzania for the first time. We went with a group called Young Life Africa. While there, we were part of hosting a camp for kids of all ages. I loved it. Even though I was young, I knew that my heart was not going to let me leave this place and not come back. I have now been to Africa many times with Young Life Africa. I have worked in an orphanage; lived in a Maasi village; helped build a school; and climbed Kilimanjaro.

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In high school I learned about TFFT during my senior year and volunteered for a little, but I really wanted to get more involved! So here I am sitting at my desk surrounded by wonderful people (Ramon, Maggie and Meghann) ready to work hard! On my first day here I was immediately welcomed and put to work. Ramon and I have been working on the Scholar Handbook, which I am honored to be apart of! It is awesome getting to see how it all works.

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I admire TFFT’s message and purpose to support and educate kids in Tanzania. I have no doubt I will be in Tanzania soon to hopefully meet all these great teachers and staff over there! I know this internship will be the highlight of my summer because this work is so rewarding and meaningful. I could not have asked for a better internship!

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Third Time’s a Charm

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As I completed my final exams of junior year, packed my car, left Clemson in the rearview mirror, and headed home to Charlotte, I had one thing on my mind: summer. While summer is a special time for many reasons – going to the beach, being home with family, taking a break from school – it’s an extra special time for me because summer is the time when I get to work full-time for TFFT. While I’m able to stay up to date with TFFT during the school year through assisting in gala planning and coordinating the communication with our sponsors, there’s something different about being in the office. I love walking in each day, sitting down at my desk, and knowing that for the next 8 hours, everything that I will do (no matter how random it may seem), will benefit our 114 scholars.

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I began work in mid-May, which meant that the Annual Fund campaign was in full force. While this meant that there were mailouts to send and thank you notes to write, this was still an exciting time because thanks to all of you who participated in the Annual Fund, we were able to exceed our Annual Fund goal by 38%! To see the excitement on Meghann’s face and to hear how much this fund will allow us to thrive and grow made each minute spent writing a thank you note so worth it.

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Now that the Annual Fund has wrapped up, I am beginning to work on some new projects. As part of our sponsor communications, I designed postcards for sponsors to send to their scholars in Tanzania. This should make communicating with scholars a little bit easier for sponsors, as they can fill out the postcards and pop them in the mail. I know there will be tons of smiles and excitement once those postcards reach TZ.

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I am also beginning the planning for our 9th Annual SOS Gala (mark your calendars – November 6th!). Even though November seems far away, it will be here before we know it, and there is much work to be done. If you are interested in being on our event committee, send me an email at Maggie@TheFoundationForTomorrow.org – I would love to talk with you about it!

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Lastly, I will be working with TFFT’s newest interns for this summer – Lucy, Lambeth, and Grace. I’m excited to see all of the new ideas they will bring and to show them why TFFT is so special. I’m looking forward to working with Ray, and I can already tell how much of a positive difference he’s making with TFFT. His 9-year-old son has come into the office a couple times this summer, and he’s the highlight of the office (Meghann’s Labradoodle Kona, who I love so much, might have some competition for favorite office visitor!). I’m also excited to spend more time with Meghann, since she’ll be in the U.S. this summer. She brings so much fun into the office each day (which sometimes includes jumping in the air with Annual Fund joy) and I learn so much from her each summer – I know this year will be no different. And as I type this post, while sitting in Kaitlin’s desk, it reminds me how sad I am that this is my first summer without Kaitlin’s glowing presence in the Charlotte office. I can see her smiling face in this picture on my desk in the meantime, but I can’t wait for her to come visit Charlotte soon!

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So as I begin my third summer with TFFT, I know this year will be the best yet!

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