Building Better Local Community Competition

January 19, 2017

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Last year during our Vision Trip in September, groups of students and TFFT Scholars from Arusha Modern School came together for our annual SuitUp competition. Coached by our loyal visitors from the Vision Trip, the groups solved a real life business problem, while at the same time having fun, and spreading their creative wings. This team building exercise inspired us to design a more homegrown team-oriented activity based on the reality that our scholars experience everyday.

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Eighteen of our scholars were divided into teams and asked to draw a map of an African village with as much detail and creativity as they could muster. Each member of the group was encouraged to add to the drawing. After about half an hour, the facilitator added another dimension to the activity. With what they had already drawn, the groups were asked to think about what could make the village better, and they were to add those innovations to the village. They were encouraged to think about what would make the lives of the villagers more comfortable and secure. They were to add services needed, current services that could be upgraded, how business could grow, and how the community could generally be improved.

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This exercise got our scholars thinking about their own communities, and what development means. They were encouraged to work together, be creative and problem-solve issues that have relevance to their lives. One scholar drew an extraordinary outline of a village all in perspective, to scale, and at an angle that reminded me of a drone snapshot. This group included in their drawing factories, storage facilities for crops, and commercial centers. The main illustrator, David, had incredible spacial ability (I think we have a future architect in our midst!). Other groups had each member drawing their contributions, also resulting in a great overall concept. They had tractors, hospitals rather than health clinics, schools with playing fields, parks, transport hubs, and crops filling every space available. Improved access to water was featured in every drawing.

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What a great experience! This exercise also had a final learning dimension: the scholars and mentors who partook in the exercise have been given the challenge to run this activity in their own school community. They have to ask permission, advertise, arrange, and facilitate the Build Better Community Competition with their contemporaries. They have to arrange a judging panel and arrange prizes for the winning group. This will be a practical lesson in organizing, leadership and facilitation and will bring a fun learning activity to their schools. We are excited to see where it leads!

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Posted in Scholarship Program, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

We Need YOU!

January 17, 2017

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After completing our Scholar Identification Process and taking vulnerability and TFFT’s fiscal strength into careful consideration, we have enrolled an additional 5 scholars in TFFT’s Scholarship Program for 2017! With that being said, we also have three fabulous young ladies, Happy D, Mwajuma, and Naitasha, from years past looking for sponsors to pick them up this year!

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Happy D.

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While we hope our sponsors continue throughout the kids’ primary and secondary schooling, it isn’t mandatory. As a result – we need YOUR help filling these gaps! Are you wanting to join our TFFT Family in 2017 as their cheerleaders and supporters?! For $125 a month ($1500 annually) for our primary kiddos and $134 a month ($1600 annually) for our secondary school ladies, you can turn their lives around. This sponsorship includes enrollment in private boarding school for the year, as well as psychosocial support, livelihood training for scholars, families, and guardians, medical care, and additional academic tutoring. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew this and we hope very much to deliver on it!

This year, we welcomed Debora, Freddy, Imran, Omari, and Zainabu. Debora is a bright student and just began class 4 at Usa River Academy. Her curiosity shines through and she always wants to learn new information and pushes herself to try new things that are outside of her comfort zone. While her grandmother cannot afford to support Debora, they have a close relationship and it is lovely to see how much they care about each other. Debora would love a sponsor to walk alongside her as she grows and develops into the beautiful young woman we hope she does!

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Deborah

Freddy has an endearing personality, and eyes wide with wonder. He grew up in his great-grandmother’s small home with few possessions. Freddy just began in nursery class at Usa River Academy. We love when we can bring scholars on at such an early age. Research shows that early childhood education is proven to add HUGE results for a child’s future. Help make that possible for Freddy through sponsoring Freddy’s education.

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Freddy

Over the last few years we have been growing our support of children with special needs. We see their vulnerability and are committed to addressing it. This year we have brought on Imran to our Scholarship Program. Before joining TFFT’s Scholarship Program, Imran attended a government school, where his teachers voiced concern that Imran did not receive enough individualized care, as he is autistic. Imran’s family does not have the means to enroll him in a school that will accommodate for his needs. Imran is intelligent, responsive, obedient, and gets along well with other children. He began school at Step By Step Learning Centre this month, TFFT’s partner school for special needs. Let us know if you want to walk alongside him as he grows into a strong, vibrant young boy!

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Imran

Omari attended TFFT’s Family Day in December and tried every game available. He had a smile on his face the whole day. Omari selflessly shared his lunch with one of the younger children. This month he began school as a TFFT Scholar at Usa River Academy. He too is looking for a sponsor.

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Omari

Zainabu is our 5th new child. She might be small, but what she lacks in size, she certainly makes up for in personality! When she was first introduced to her class, she stood up in front of everyone and sang a song to them. Her family values education, and Zainabu began in class 1 at Usa River Academy with Converse Roberts sponsoring her – thank you.

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Zainabu

We look forward to hearing from you about exploring options for sponsorship. It is truly a wonderful opportunity for an individual or family to personally connect with our kids, learn to understand their realities, and make a concrete difference in their lives.

Thank you for your belief in our mission. If you are interested in hearing more about our Scholarship Program, read about joining TFFT as a sponsor or email us today info [at] thefoundationfortomorrow [dot] org !

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Remembering 2016

January 12, 2017

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As we move into 2017, I have done lots of thinking, reflecting, and looking back on this past year. 2016 was another great year for TFFT. We celebrated many accomplishments, and continued to bring positive change to the educational landscape in Tanzania. In my excitement for our annual blog review for 2016, I took a look at the highlights of our accomplishments from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Wow, we have come a long way!! 2016 was a milestone year, marking TFFT’s 10 year anniversary. We honored the celebration of TFFT’s 10th year with a focus on family. The TFFT Family is the backbone of our growth and success. The TFFT Family is the reason we have a strong, motivated support network. The generosity of the TFFT Family enables us to support our scholars, and the dedication of the TFFT Family allows us to ensure that each of our scholar thrives. YOU are the TFFT Family.

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Now, I invite you to reminisce about 2016…

We were already off to a great start in January when we welcomed 18 new scholars into our program, our biggest year yet! Additionally, Melissa stepped into TFFT’s Country Director role. Before this, Melissa spent five years as our Teacher Training Manager, and she has made extraordinary contributions to TFFT’s growth and success. Melissa is an invaluable part of our team; her passion for TFFT’s mission and the way that she brings our core values to life are inspirational.

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Our 4th annual SHARE the LOVE challenge in February was a huge success, thanks to the 14 Team Leaders who more than doubled our campaign goal, collectively raised just shy of $18,000 for the TFFT kiddos.

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Our scholars also felt the love through the Valentines that many of you sent over!

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At TFFT, we value access to quality education for all. An education can only be as powerful as the teachers who provide it, and we showed our support of and gratitude for the most outstanding teachers in Meru District at our Teacher of Distinction Award Ceremony. Our Full Circle Program also successfully completed teacher training for the Personality Development & Sports classes at Arusha Modern School and Usa River Academy to ensure that all scholars learn important life skills.

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Further, our Teacher Training Program also completed an in-service training for Teacher Resource Center Coordinators and Ward Education Coordinators of Arusha City Council and Meru District. In our efforts to provide quality education and transform lives, we invest ideas, time, and resources to encourage students and teachers to succeed.

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Meghann ran the Kilimanjaro half for the 7th year in a row, and she wasn’t alone…our TFFT Family came together to support our ED in this accomplishment to fundraise and promote quality education. The entire TZ team, a couple of our scholars, and wonderful TFFT supporter Laine Boswell all ran either the 5k or the half marathon. What a way to bring February to a close!

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Meghann accomplished so much during her February-March trip to TZ, her second home. She shared meaningful reflections on what makes Tanzania her happy place, and how the journey throughout her past 12 years’ work has shaped what TFFT is today.

We held a field day for our Usa River Academy scholars – made possible by the ever-growing TFFT Family. Our scholars truly treasured this special day, and for this we thank a handful of our thoughtful, generous supporters. Filled with fun activities, our scholars played outdoor games, did arts and crafts, and had a bit of friendly competition in a treasure hunt!

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We wrapped up first quarter with our Annual Program Review and Strategic Plan launch. Our Annual Program Review reconfirmed our commitment and pushed our stakeholders to hold us accountable to our mission, program goals, and strategies.

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Our Psycho-Social & Health Program believes in the best interest of every child and works to advocate for this. TFFT hosted a childhood development training for District Social Welfare officers from Meru and Arusha Districts, Teacher Resource Center Coordinators, teachers from our partner schools here in Arusha, and our TFFT staff.

Speaking of the best interest of every child, we want to ensure that all of the TFFT Scholars receive the individualized encouragement they deserve, regardless of their skill set. Therefore, we began a pilot vocational project in April, aimed to equip the Form 4 graduates who will not continue on to the final two years of TFFT Scholarship. This will help them earn a living, support themselves, and offer a great avenue for them to contribute to society. Many of you supported this project when you purchased some of TFFT Scholar Agnes’s work!

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We strive to do everything within our power to best support all TFFT Scholars and to help our staff respond to the individual ongoing needs of each scholar. Our vocational training aims to strengthen livelihoods to help our scholars and their families independently support themselves. Within our Scholarship Program, we implemented Family Cells to further the support we provide TFFT scholars.

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Your support of our Annual Fund offered tangible proof of the growth of the TFFT Family in 2016. Together, we did it, and reached our goal. You make it possible to bring about change and make a difference in the lives of our scholars and the thousands of other children in Tanzania that our work serves. Asante Sana!

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Another reason 2016 was so special…RIDETZ!! 400 miles. 10 days. Mt. Kilimanjaro to the coast. An awesome crew, and heaps of happy memories made.

Our riders had the opportunity to raise awareness for quality education, learn firsthand about the work made possible through TFFT, meet some of our scholars, and really get to know our student rider. This year, Abednego was along for the ride and brought an irreplaceable presence to RIDETZ 2016.

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When the teachers at our partner schools came up with the idea to form after-school clubs to shape students into the best version of themselves, we listened to their voices and acted upon this by arranging a training to better equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to run successful school clubs. The training was successful, and helped contribute to the benefits seen by our scholars and many other students alike!

At TFFT, we also make sure to build all children’s psychological well-being in our interactions. Through teacher trainings, Family Cell meetings, and our day-to-day exchanges, we work to make our scholars feel safe, feel a sense of belonging, feel in control of their lives, and feel competent and responsible. With this sense of security, our scholars more likely to succeed in school.

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Long-time intern, RIDETZ alumni, Love Upendo Designs manager, and dedicated TFFT supporter Maggie Boorman spent time in Tanzania over the summer completing interviews with our scholars. Maggie shared her interview with Julieth, and explained why this project was meaningful and what she learned.

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Our Scholarship and Teacher Training Programs teamed up to present an introductory “Student Full Potential” workshop to over thirty local teachers. This workshop focused on helping teachers direct students in such a way that they will reach full potential and succeed. TFFT Alumni Richard demonstrates his potential, always showing gratitude for his education as a TFFT Scholar, and encouraging his classmates.

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In the fall, we evaluated our Full Circle Program’s Personality Development and Sports project – an overall success! The Personality Development and Sports class helps to provide our scholars and their fellow students with an understanding of important life skills through fun and meaningful experiential learning. We also conducted an impact evaluation on our Happy and Sad Boxes, implemented in our partner schools by TFFT’s Psychosocial and Health Program. The Happy and Sad Boxes offer children the opportunity to communicate and share their rights, any violation of rights, and the best practices happening at school in a confidential setting.

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Our Scholarship Program has put peer mentoring into action to help younger scholars deal with life transitions. Having support from an older peer helps to build stronger relationships amongst every member of our TFFT Family. We also provide our scholars with basic necessities.

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I was fortunate to travel to Tanzania in September for the first time! My time in TZ paralleled our Vision Trip, during which a group of us had many eye-opening experiences. I witnessed and sat in on an inter-school competition organized by our Full Circle program. Representatives from 52 schools participated in essay-writing and poster-making competitions.

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During the Vision Trip, we also participated in TFFT’s annual SuitUp Competition at Arusha Modern School. TFFT Students and their peers collaborated in small groups to create and market a new shoe for Nike.

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September was also graduation time for a handful of our scholars! One scholar graduated from class 7 at Usa River Academy, four from class 7 at Arusha Modern School, four scholars graduated from form 4 at Star High School, and we had one graduate from St. Catherine’s. We also had a scholar who finished his certificate course in 2016.

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TFFT’s 10th annual S.O.S. Gala left us overflowing with optimism and gratitude. Many in the TFFT Family came together to help us reach this milestone, both by gathering with us in Charlotte, and by showing support and celebrating from afar. We were fortunate this year to showcase a gallery of the ever-amazing Nate Kaiser’s photos, helping us to tell TFFT’s story a beautiful way.

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TFFT facilitated a 10-day training for special education teachers. Aside from building the capacity of regular classroom teachers and school management teams, provision of teaching and learning resources to the special education teachers is crucial for student achievements. We also held an awards ceremony for teachers of distinction in October. One of the winners, Neema Lema, is a special education teacher at Meru Primary School, who attributes her success in part to the special ed training that she attended through TFFT.

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At the end of the year, we put together an opportunity for TFFT Secondary Scholars to attend a 5-day Youth Camp. TFFT facilitated this camp to help provide instructions on and space to practice using the important skills required for success in today’s world.

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Country Director, Melissa, and Psychosocial & Health Manager, Hedwiga, attended a conference called “Break the Cycle” for professional development. This two-day conference brought together experts on child protection from 15 different countries. Melissa is excited to use her insights from the conference to develop TFFT’s work and connect with organizations that can support TFFT.

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We wrapped the year up with our third annual Family Day celebration, a time for TFFT Scholars, their families, and our team to visit and enjoy a day of fun before the start of the new school year.

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Thank you, TFFT Family, for supporting our work and believing in our mission. It is because of you that the TFFT flame is still burning strong!

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TFFT New Scholar Identification

January 10, 2017

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The identification of new scholars is pertinent to TFFT’s work. Each year, we welcome new scholars from communities around Arusha, Tanga, Kilimajaro, and Simanjiro Regions of Tanzania. The process of identification must be clearly planned and executed, as it is the foundation of our work – to help most vulnerable children (MVC) thrive in their communities. Our annual goal for bringing in new scholars is around 10, however, sometimes this number fluctuates higher or lower. 

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The standard categorization for most vulnerable children includes the demographic characteristics and indicators of poor living conditions. The criteria used to identify the children’s vulnerability includes: those living in child-headed or elderly-headed households with no adult from 20–59 years-old present, those with one or both parents deceased, children with one surviving parent living in a house with poor quality roofing (grass and/or mud), wall materials, or without toilet facilities, and those with a disability living in similar poor conditions. This classification recognizes that not all orphaned children are most vulnerable, and it equally recognizes that children living with a parent can be most vulnerable.

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 TFFT works closely with the Department of Social Welfare of Tanzania to identify the most vulnerable children. We take the above factors into consideration and incorporate the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) in searching for MVCs. TFFT targets children who come from households with a PPI index  of less than 50%. These are children who are more likely to be poor and are living below the national and International Poverty lines.

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For 2017, we identified 13 children for placement with a TFFT Scholarship. However, this year, we only had five places to offer, and placed 8 children on our waiting list for 2018. We learned through this year’s identification process that we must develop the capacity of village leaders to help identify MVCs so that they can lead our identification team to the target households. Also, we plan to lengthen the time frame in which we conduct our identification process. The reason for this is that the process of registration of birth and death is still weak in rural Tanzania, so it takes us a long time to find correct sources regarding family history.

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TFFT is committed to making a difference for most vulnerable children. Stay tuned for more about our new scholars for 2017!

Posted in Development, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

Happy and Sad Boxes 2016

January 6, 2017

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In 2009, Tanzania passed the Law of the Child Act to prevent and respond to violence through regulations and guidelines. TFFT works to further this prevention through our Happy and Sad Boxes project, as we believe in a just society and providing support systems so that every child can thrive. Initiated as a pilot project in May 2015, TFFT’s Happy and Sad Boxes aim to improve the protection of children’s rights in school environments. This project both educates students on what children’s rights are and allows a safe way to report positive practices and rights violations. Our Psychosocial & Health Program completed an evaluation in December and found overall positive outcomes as a result of training teachers on children’s rights and protection and implementing Happy and Sad Boxes in 15 schools.

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Happy and Sad Boxes build students’ confidence, encourage reporting child rights violations, and facilitate taking action against any rights violations. The project has also improved relationships between teachers and students by strengthening trust. Within each school, the Happy and Sad Boxes are sustainable as teachers and students have the skills and knowledge to correctly carry out the project. However, TFFT’s evaluation found that there are gaps in knowledge about the project with parents in the communities, which must be bridged.

When teachers receive reports of rights violations through the Happy and Sad Boxes, they either make a follow-up to the homes from which students have reported cases or call the parents to the school to discuss the issue. If they are unable to reach a conclusion through a meeting with the parents called upon, the school might involve social welfare officers to investigate the reported cases. Some challenges with taking action against rights violations include uncooperative parents, false information, and economic hardship.

In order to ensure success upon scale-up of the Happy and Sad Boxes, we aim to improve the information monitoring system by more clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the child protectors (adults, such as teachers, parents, and community members). For the time-being, TFFT will work on improving the Happy and Sad boxes in the pilot schools for another year before expanding the project.

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Posted in Advocacy, Development, Psychosocial + Health, Tanzania | Comments closed

Family Day

December 29, 2016

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Family Day is an annual TFFT tradition. It offers a rare chance for all scholars, staff, and guardians to come together to talk, play, review, connect and wrap up the year. This year we met a local fun park and reception facility, where scholars were able to play and swim while staff and guardians discussed important topics about TFFT Programs. The number of parents and guardians who attended the event this year was higher compared to last year.

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It was lovely to see many excited faces as scholars young and old played amongst the jumpy castle, swings, round-a-bouts, swimming pool, and rocking horses.  The older scholars tended to be in groups chatting and sitting, while the younger ones ran from one exciting game to another barely catching their breath. The new scholars for 2017 were shy at the start, but slowly became more at ease as they made friends on the swings. Some staff sat back and looked on from a distance, while others hovered around like “helicopter mothers” concerned that an exuberant child might jump too high or be a little too careless around the younger ones. But in the end, all enjoyed, no tears were shed, and everyone got on well with everyone else.

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Other staff members were assigned work with the guardians. Stephen completed paperwork and contracts, spoke of parent engagement with schools, TFFT’s Scholarship Program, and how parents can support their child’s academic achievements. Hedwiga spoke to the guardians about the opportunities of the Livelihood Initiatives and health issues faced by students throughout the year that our Psychosocial & Health Program provides support for.

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Family Day was a great welcome to the five new scholars and the families who will join our program in 2017. These scholars’ parents received lots of information, and they were all able to meet everyone in an informal and fun way. Newly trained mentors met their mentees so that those starting in a new school next year will know a familiar face.

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Eating together was a pleasant experience too. Little children sat with their grandmothers, older children were in their well- established groups, and staff mixed with everyone. Some scholars stuck with their fellow-school mates, while others in the program for a number of years loved the opportunity to meet up with old friends from the past. Some scholars were so happy to be reunited with their family members that they rarely strayed from their sides.

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TFFT also recognized scholars that had excelled academically and socially on this special day. Certificates were given out for special achievement as well as participation in TFFT training programs. Special recognition was also given out to parents who have over the past year had shown a great commitment to their child’s progress.  

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This year’s Family Day was a great success. Work was completed, fun was had, plans were made, and people were connected. We all now look forward to working together in 2017.

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Posted in Events, Tanzania | Comments closed

Breaking the Cycle

December 28, 2016

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Professional development for the staff is part of the DNA of TFFT. The organization invests on its staff to ensure that we give only the best to the children we serve as well as our other boundary partners.

Last November 18-19th, Hedwiga Mchaki and I were given the opportunity by the organization to attend an international conference in Dar es Salaam. Dubbed “Breaking the Cycle” – this two-day conference, which brought together experts on child protection from 15 different countries, was co-hosted by Railway Children Africa and Fundacion JUCONI. These experts shared their knowledge and experience, drawing upon years of robust evidence base of research and practice, to show how we can better understand the impact of family violence and how we can build interventions to help people heal and help families create safer relationships in their homes.

While we only have a handful of children who were street-connected prior to joining the program, about half of our scholarship children came from orphanages and children centers. Some have undergone traumatic experiences due to either death of their parents or primary caregivers and abject poverty. And while not many experienced family violence, some have problems building emotional attachment with their real families after spending their growing up years in the orphanages. This is why the theme of the conference really made Hedwiga and me excited. We believed that the lessons from this conference would help us in helping our children and their guardians/families build positive and secure attachment.

The conference offered 24 workshops and keynote sessions and Hedwiga and I collectively attended 12 of them, by going to different workshops and carefully selecting those that resonates most to the work that TFFT does. I was particularly inspired with the Hero Book making workshop that I attended (of course, with my love for books and stories!) and would surely do this activity with our scholars next year. The hero book is a series of autobiographical storytelling and art exercises—the aim of which is to develop survivors, good citizens, and solution-finders. Just envisioning how these workshops with our kids would look like makes me really excited! I also learned about the Strengths-Based Approach (SBA) in therapeutic work with families affected by violence.  Of great interest to Hedwiga was one of the sessions she attended discussing the Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration, which were developed by leading aid and development agencies.

A two-day conference cannot provide us all the answers nor it can provide us all the tools that we can immediately apply to our work. However, this conference gifted us with insights and inspired ideas for how we might develop our work. It also helped us connect with organizations that can support us to strengthen TFFT’s work for the children and families we serve.

I look forward to writing about what we have done with the lessons this conference gave us next year!

Posted in Development, Events, Tanzania | Comments closed

Peer Mentoring Update

December 27, 2016

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Today, our Scholarship Program Intern, Robin Mwanga, shares an update about the training session that took place earlier this month for peer mentoring. Robin is a Psychology and Management graduate student at the United States International University in Nairobi. She summarizes the activities completed at the peer mentoring training session below.

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The TFFT scholarship department organized a peer mentoring training that was attended by 18 of our scholars from December 6th-9th, 2016. It was a heart-warming experience to see adolescents show excitement about supporting one another as “big sister” or “big brother”. From the post-training evaluation feedback, it was clear that the goals and objectives of the workshop were successfully attained. Most scholars reported of how interesting and timely the topic “peer mentoring” was to them personally, and additionally that they wish to introduce a mentoring program in their schools.

Among the intriguing discussions we had was one about a time when someone made an extra effort to support them in a personal life issue. The students opened up about tragedies they’ve faced, the experiences they have had to go through, and when they were supported by a friend or a family member. Some recalled how difficult their situation was, and how comforting the encouragement and support from others made them feel. This is why the scholars are so open to the idea of mentoring another scholar who might face similar difficulties in life.

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This led to another brain storming session that required the scholars to list qualities of a good mentor by coming up with the characteristics that they would want someone supporting them to possess. They were quick to note down these attributes and some shared encounters with friends who needed support in difficult situations. It is alarming for me to hear of the hardships and the stress such young children endure and carry with them to school in hopes of brushing them off once occupied with academic work.  

We conducted a game titled “basket of words”, which required the scholars to verbally and non-verbally express concern for someone in a difficult situation. Situations included not having a parent at TFFT Family Day or the first day of school, a child concerned about the health of a family member, and a child that experienced being bullied. The group came up with many different comforting words, phrases, and actions to make someone feel supported.

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Although the training had its main focus on peer mentoring to become a “big brother” or “big sister” figure, the training session also included creative games and friendly competitions to gear up the children so that they may think deeper, harder, and at a fast pace. A community building competition gave an open arena for children to express their creativity and enhance others’ opinions to bring to life their imaginations and to work together as a team. The results of this training were amazing, and the children look forward to introduce what they learned to their peers at school.

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Posted in Internships, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

TFFT Youth Camp

December 20, 2016

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Today, we have a blog submission from TFFT alumni, Richard Augustino. Richard helped to facilitate the Life Skills Youth Camp last week for our scholars in secondary school. He shares his valuable perspective and key takeaways from the week’s events.

TFFT’s Youth Camp offered five days full of important and useful experience to all of the scholars in attendance. TFFT facilitated this camp to help provide instructions on and space to practice using the important skills required to succeed in today’s world. After the workshop, the scholars were fully equipped with skills to thrive. The topics covered in the workshop are relevant and required for anyone who wants to fit in today’s world.

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We learned many useful topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, dream mapping, financial education, HIV/AIDs and reproductive health. Many people lack knowledge about these topics, and TFFT has ensured that our scholars receive an education on essential life skills. I am so grateful that TFFT keeps on lighting the candles for us to see what the future holds.

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For instance, after learning about financial education on day one, many scholars in the evaluation said that they will change their practices and attitudes towards money. They have learned the importance of wise money management by budgeting and saving. I helped to facilitate this session.

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Day two focused on reproductive health and helped our scholars to better understand how to make healthy choices when forming relationships. In dream mapping, scholars learned that setting realistic goals allows for achieving one’s dreams. At night, we watched a movie called Gifted Hands to inspire the scholars anything they choose to be, they can be.

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Day three taught entrepreneurship. Prior to TFFT’s Youth Camp, many scholars believed that entrepreneurs apply knowledge they were already given. We learned that many successful people employ themselves, creating their own path and adapting their skills for success. Now, many scholars want to use the skills which have been provided by TFFT to become entrepreneurs. TFFT Scholars have committed to also transferring this knowledge to others in the future. We had a talent night on night three, where some TFFT Scholars showed what they can do best.

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On day four, we learned about our rights and how to protect ourselves from sexual offenses and sexual abuse. The day ended with a movie that taught the scholars the importance of standing up for what is right.

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Day five, concluded the Youth Camp with education on human development, allowing the scholars to better understand themselves. This will help the scholars to achieve their dreams, as they have gained a better understanding of who they are and what their purpose is in life. The workshop was finalized with awarding of certificates. The Youth Camp scholars intend to share what they have learned with the youth in their various communities.

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Many scholars reflected throughout the week at Youth Camp on how to tap into their full potential. They learned new and important skills and have mapped out how to reach their dreams. In the end of camp evaluations, many scholars discussed how the skills learned in the workshop opened their eyes to how they can make life improvements. Our scholars liked and were satisfied with every aspect of the workshop including facilitators, objectives being met, relevance of the topics, facilities and materials given to them during the workshop, meeting rooms, and expressed feeling comfortable within the workshop environment.

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

Peer Mentor Training

December 15, 2016

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Eighteen of our scholars came together for four days last week for the introductory training on Peer Mentoring. The training was for them to understand their role in the broader Peer Mentoring Program for 2017. Topics that were covered in the training fell into various themes around mentoring, stress management, emotional intelligence, and simple counseling skills.

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Types of activities included role playing, group discussions, one on one discussions, storytelling, poster making, and games that targeted the above themes. Our scholars had just finished the school year, so we wanted to make sure the lessons were taught in a fun and engaging way. We had many sessions on how to interpret non-verbal actions, and the best ways to be able to assist peers in the area of psychological well-being. We discussed different types of emotions, stress responses, and how to build trust and supportive relationships.

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I had two important learning experiences over my four days. The first was when we asked our group of scholars what are the stressors in their lives. Their answers remained with me. They face a lot of worry at a deep level. During this small group discussion, I was told that young people may appear jolly and carefree, but that there are difficult issues they are facing that causes a toll on their minds. After this discussion, I have started formulating in my mind sessions that we can present on relaxation and stress management.

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The other lesson occurred again in a group discussion where we were discussing previous personal experiences of how people have guided or mentored us. We also discussed the topic of how they were treated and what they felt on their first day of school. Some of these stories were quite poignant. We all agreed that TFFT Scholars will become good mentors because they are adapters and survivors and know how hard life can be. My group members told me that they understand what it means to need extra help, and they are prepared to give it to their peers.

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In my career facilitating groups around Africa, I have never had the joy of working with such a disciplined group of scholars! Everyone was on time each morning and at lunch breaks. One simple instruction expressed only one time was attended too without any delay or argument. It certainly made my job a much easier one! I must say, the most enjoyable sessions, and indeed the ones with the most learning, were the sessions that had a little chaos, noise, and chatter.

Posted in Tanzania, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed
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