Form Four Graduation at Star High School

October 20, 2016


This month, Star High School held a graduation ceremony for form four 2016. It was a great day and exciting event for TFFT and Star High. TFFT had four scholars graduate; three boys and one girl. The graduates were Ashura, Allan, Fadhili, and Joachim.


The four graduates received a certificate of completion for secondary school. All of the other TFFT Scholars at Star High participated in the ceremony, their faces full of smiles and laugher expressing the happiness for their brothers and sister on their special day. 


The family members of the graduates attended the ceremony. We all celebrated together, eating graduation cakes which is customary in Tanzania. We shared with all of the TFFT Scholars at Star, and turned the day into a big celebration for all of us.


The graduates were ecstatic, and they promised to do wonders on their coming national examinations. After finishing the exams, all three of the male graduates want to join the Tanzanian Army during the interim while they wait for their results and apply for secondary education and colleges. Ashura wants to volunteer for TFFT  while waiting for her exam results before she joins form five.


Many thanks to all of you who participate in TFFT’s work in one way or another, you have helped these scholars receive a quality education and successfully complete secondary school. 


Posted in Scholarship Program, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Teacher of Distinction Award Ceremony

October 18, 2016


The Foundation For Tomorrow presented Teacher of Distinction Awards to ten teachers of Arusha City and Meru District Councils on October 5th, World Teachers’ Day. Notable guests and other educators gathered at Arusha School to celebrate and honor teachers’ achievements. The awardees each received a certificate of recognition and a monetary prize. The District Commissioner of Arusha City, Mr. Fabrian Gabriel Dagaro, was the guest of honor for this special occasion. Teachers, education officers, and other educators collectively congratulated teachers for their achievements educating the children of Tanzania.  


Many of us present at the award ceremony are who we are because of dedicated teachers.

Let us appreciate the hard work that all teachers do. Let us thank teachers for their tenacity and commitment, for their generosity and influence. 

Here are some reasons why we should appreciate teachers: Teachers are role models! Teachers care! Teachers empower! Teachers challenge! Teachers inspire!


The selection process for most outstanding teachers was long and fairly executed. Each stage of the process was well documented. The criteria used were: commitment to all students, active involvement of students in relevant learning opportunities, creation of learning environments that stimulate student interest in learning, and demonstrated excellence in teaching. We used a rating scale and observations to judge the awardees. The panel of judges included representatives from the Education Department of Arusha and Meru, lecturers from the University of Arusha, and TFFT team members. In the end, ten teachers were selected for the Teacher of Distinction Award 2016, five teachers from Arusha City Council and five teachers from Meru District.


At TFFT, we believe in the power of this award to motivate teachers to become a force for good in their students’ lives. This award also provides additional resources and in-service training to teachers. This is a solid reason for TFFT to provide this award to teachers in each year.

The teachers and other educators felt inspired and valued in terms of their hard work and contribution in providing education to the children Tanzania. Teachers need to have strong passion. Thank you to all teachers for all that you do for the children of Tanzania!



Posted in Tanzania, Teacher Training | Comments closed

Family Cell Meeting Update

October 12, 2016


Having the security of family unity is important for child development. A child who has grown up without the reliability of a family support system will face more developmental challenges. Tamara Gold, a psychotherapist and parenting coach based in New York, researches the impact of having a stable family life on childhood development. She says that “the family is profoundly important to the developmental, emotional, and cognitive growth of a child. A child will learn about relationships, manners, self-esteem, worth, and loyalty, all by watching and participating in family”. The Foundation For Tomorrow gives our scholars a great opportunity to develop brother and sister relationships where they can feel free, loved, and have a sense of belonging.


This week, our family cell meeting had the theme of teamwork – working together as a family. The scholars were very happy as they all participated in preparing a banner with the slogan it is our right to get the best education. They decided to make this banner because they know lots of their friends and relatives at home do not have the same opportunities as they do, and quality education is not offered to all children.  They wanted to show their unity with other children to advocate on behalf of everyone.


As we prepared the banners, we had lots of fun thinking about others, using our imaginations, exercising creativity and working together. Through family cell activities, we can see each scholar’s individual talents and better understand how to help them learn. We make sure to vary family cell activities so that all of our scholars can participate in a meaningful way. 

Since many of our scholars are not accustomed to a sense of family unity at home, I have loved witnessing the transformation in the scholars as we have instilled these family values for them. I have seen positive changes in attitudes and behaviors as the scholars now feel a sense of belonging to a certain group of people.


As an organization, we value the overall mental and physical health and safety of our scholars. Our family cells allow our team to spend extra-curricular time with our scholars on an individual basis. We want to make sure that all of our scholars feel safe, healthy, and happy both in and out of school. In addition to our happy and sad boxes, family cell meetings assist us in ensuring that this is the case.


Posted in Psychosocial + Health, Scholarship Program, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Identifying New Scholars for 2017

October 6, 2016


Over the past few months, the Scholarship team at TFFT have been involved in the intricate process of identifying new scholars for our program in 2017. We have spent days on the road visiting villages, going to local schools in Arusha and neighboring areas, talking to teachers, and following up on applications from local NGOs, all in an effort to identify the most vulnerable children who will receive the lifeline of a sponsored education.


Before we commenced on the identification of new scholars, Stephen and I sat down to capture in a flow diagram the process involved in a new intake of students. It was complex! We need to ensure we are seen and be transparent, accountable, fair, balanced, and able to justify in an objective way, all our decisions. We need to hear as many voices as possible, use valid measuring tools of poverty, remove bias, and ensure all the information we gather has been verified. It sounds very objective, but as I learned, this is also a very emotional process for everyone involved!


During our travels for the identification process, our team has engaged in interesting ongoing discussions. What does being a “most vulnerable child” actually entail? What vulnerability makes one child more at risk than another? Which child in a family should be put forward for the program? What geographical area should our scholars come from? Are female children more intrinsically vulnerable than a male children? At what age is it best to join the TFFT scholarship program? These questions have drawn many informative conversations, and as TFFT’s Scholarship Program matures, many of the answers can be found within our history. For present purposes, our team maintained an objective process by filling in poverty surveys and gathering verified information from different sources.


There have been some meetings in the community that have remained upper-most in my mind. One is the time I met young children in the care of poor-health grandparents who have taken on responsibility for their grandchildren after their own children have passed away. In some circumstances, the only way they could cope would be through assistance from compassionate neighbors. These families survive as best as they can, and often you can see the love and strong connections between the generations. Other most vulnerable homes are about adults not coping for various reasons. We visited homes where the main caretaker is physically ill, or sole guardian unable to etch a reasonable livelihood ,or where support systems have broken down. We have visited homes where the environment is desolate or isolated from economic activity on barely fertile land. We have come across many people who want the best for their children.


Our team is currently summarizing all the information we have gathered into databases for the next stage of the identification process. This includes a selection panel with external professionals experienced in child protection issues.


Seeing Tanzania’s most vulnerable children firsthand has been a great eye opener for me. I have a better understanding of the all-encompassing impact of TFFT on our scholars’ lives. TFFT Scholars are no longer vulnerable, and have the life-long safety net of a good education. They are privileged. They live the lives all children in Tanzania should live. I have seen vividly the contrast between where our scholars come from and where our scholars are now. This is so very encouraging. All of you involved in TFFT’s work should be very proud. When we measure “progress” of our scholars, we have to keep in mind how far they have come. We need to keep in mind that our scholars have started quite a distance behind the starting line and are all certainly brave souls.


Posted in Development, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

Arusha Modern School SuitUp Competition

October 3, 2016


Our annual Vision Trip provides the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of TFFT’s mission, programming, and reach. During the trip, visitors can see the power of our commitment and what sets TFFT apart. We welcome any interested party to visit Tanzania on our Vision Trip, and we hope that you will return home as a committed partner. This year, five dedicated supporters met the Tanzania team and spent time with our scholars. To provide an opportunity for the team, scholars, and trip participants to spend time together in a creative and educational way, TFFT organized a SuitUp competition.


The SuitUp competition is meant to encourage creativity and innovation amongst the participants. This year, we hosted the competition at Arusha Modern School for five TFFT Scholars and 25 other students. Students worked in groups of 6 to design a shoe for Nike and create marketing strategies for the new prototype. Each team designed a shoe and presented why their shoe is unique, who is the target market, and how best they can advertise the shoe to the market in front of a panel of judges. The students were also identified a celebrity endorsement to advertise their product to the market and acted out an advertisement of their product. Our Vision Trip participants played the role of coaching each team of students. At the end of the competition, a panel of three judges determined the winners based on criteria including creativity, participation, and product presentation. 


This was an enriching opportunity because TFFT Scholars and other students at Arusha Modern School worked together in mixed ability and gender groups. Students from the junior secondary and high school worked together. We were able observe meaningful interactions of the students within the groups and with their coaches.

One student from Arusha Modern was especially inspiring because after hearing about the competition from his school principal, he went home and requested that his parents to ask the school on his behalf to join the competition, as he had not been initially selected to take part.

The competition was eye-opening, with each team showing how creativity and excitement.


Each participant received a certificate of completion. The winners and the first and second runners up received a winners’ certificate and a cash award. This was motivational for the students, and when they were given an opportunity to speak, they thanked TFFT for the creative opportunity and expressed interest in future competitions in order to practice and improve their business skills. The Principal, Mr. Jeremiah Laizer, requested that TFFT expand the competition to include the whole school in the future. According to him, many students were interested in and willing to take part.

TFFT is grateful for the support from the Vision Trip to make the SuitUp competition successful and also for providing the young minds with an opportunity to use their spare time in a meaningful way. The students not only practiced working together, but also used their free time to collaborate with others to create products that can improve their own lives and that of their communities.


Arusha Modern School and TFFT believe that this is an activity with the potential to scale up and bring more scholars and students together to improve their creativity.

We look forward to another SuitUp competition to see many more students and schools participate. Who knows, maybe a novel idea will come up that could surprise innovators and entrepreneurs in Tanzania and across the world! A young and innovative mind can come up with interesting and successful ideas when provided with the opportunity.


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

The Eyes of Tanzania

September 29, 2016

Today’s post is by Kristin Morse who recently traveled to Tanzania to participate in our Vision Trip. Below you can read her beautiful reflections on this experience and TFFT’s work. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to witness TFFT’s work firsthand and to Kristin for writing such an insightful piece summarizing her trip.

By: Kristin Morse, 2016 Vision Trip participant and sponsor of TFFT Scholars Upendo and Richard


I will remember the eyes.

The eyes, hundreds of them, that rushed up and surrounded the visitors who had descended upon the school grounds … The eyes that looked up skeptically from the desk in a classroom with barren walls but yet filled with a love of learning, competition and success … The eyes that looked up with a mischievous twinkle as the visitors walked around the room and peeked in on the work the students were creating …


The eyes that looked up with sorrow, hesitation and fear, even as those very eyes were now in a seemingly safe place — an orphanage — far away from the people who had made those eyes sad in the first place … Or, the eyes that sparkled and shone when they discovered that iPhones could simply create a smile and a laugh with a selfie, a video or a Snapchat dog filter …

The eyes that danced and smiled when a scholar was first introduced to her sponsor, and of course, the dampened eyes of that sponsor …


The eyes (and tummy) that grew bigger with each bite from a fish that was larger than the plate it lay on … Or those same eyes as food coma and satisfied happiness set in … The eyes of a proud grandmother as she watched her granddaughter — smartly dressed in her school uniform — walk her visitors around her old home, which seemed a million miles away from her new home, her school.  The eyes of said grandma as she wiped them with her skirt … Was she crying? Had dirt gotten in her eyes? Who knows, but those eyes

The eyes of a proud Masai mama of six as she displayed and sold her homemade jewelry inside her home, proudly paving her own way after her husband (as well as the husband of her sister wives) had dropped dead just a few years before  … The crying, hysterical eyes of the Masai mama’s youngest child as mama left home as the sun was setting to put the money she had earned in a safe place in town so no one could take it from her or her family …

The eyes of the student involved in a marketing competition, hoping, praying his team would win first place … The eyes of the same student as he learned his team hadn’t won, but he would still receive a certificate with his name on it: “I’ll show it to my mom,” he said. …


The eyes of a young high school graduate as she proudly announced she had been hired for her first job even when that job would be seven days a week and for minimal pay …

The eyes of a high school graduate as he intensely listened and devoured advice on how to write a personal statement for a college application …

The eyes, staring out the window, hoping, pleading to understand the question being asked of him in a language he is still learning … Those same eyes when understanding was attained … 

Thank you to The Foundation for Tomorrow and the eyes of Tanzania for opening my eyes.


If you want to read more, you can see another participant’s reflections from last year here.

Posted in Events, Tanzania | Comments closed

Livelihood Beading Workshop

September 28, 2016


This month, eight of our scholars’ guardians learned beading skills from Kiretono Organization. The participants, all women, attended a five-day training from September 12th-16th, held in Karatu Village were Kiretono Organisation is located. All of the women are Maasai, and each is the head of her family. In Maasai culture, it is common to learn beading at a young age, so all of the women had some prior knowledge on beading. In this training, they learned new beading skill-sets and designs.  They were very excited to learn new techniques. They travelled from their homes to Karatu Village in Arusha District. The women came from three different Maasai villages in Arusha District. Karatu is a village near Ngorongoro Crater, located a few hours or about a day of travel outside of Arusha.

The purpose of the training was to enable these women with livelihood skills so that they may improve their quality of life, while TFFT will still provide the scholarships for the children of these women. We asked the women what they are interested in and capable of learning in an effort to improve their livelihood, and they expressed interest in beading.


During the training, they learned about quality control and had discussions centered on what quality is and why it is important. Following this conversation, the ladies participated in an exercise to demonstrate wise spending on the best quality items. They each chose from 2 different groups of items based on quality and explained their choice to the group. In these mini-presentations, they answered the following questions:

  1. Why did you pick the items you picked?
  2. What makes something “better” quality?
  3. Who wants to spend their money on the poor quality?
  4. The items of poor quality will be the last to sell, if ever.

After the training, the women were happy that they learned to bead using wire, because previously most of them had only learned with threads. They made toothpick holders, wine glass rings, and lots of jewelry.


When Kiretono receives orders for products, they train the women to make it, give the women the order, and pay each woman per piece that she makes. They went home from training with orders for toothpick holders and wine glass rings. They have a leader in the group who inspects the quality of each product before taking the to Karatu for payment. The women also visit others who do beading so that they can come up with unique products that are not in every market. 

All of the women have expressed gratitude for this opportunity. They look forward to seeing livelihood improvement through this business by expressing creativity in quality products that will attract buyers.


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

My Time in Tanzania

September 27, 2016

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After spending almost a year with TFFT and officially joining the team in August, I made my first ever trip to Tanzania! My three weeks in TZ have been such an incredible, informative, and eye-opening experience on both personal and professional levels. I feel fortunate to have continued to develop and expand my knowledge of and relationships with everything TFFT. My time here has been full. From meeting our scholars to visiting homes and soaking in the Tanzanian culture and landscape, I am constantly learning.


My first day here I went to our office and met our team members who work in Tanzania. I spent the morning working with all of them, and then we went to lunch at a local restaurant together. It was a great introduction to Arusha! In the afternoon, I went with Meghann to see Arusha Modern School and met some of our scholars who had just completed their class 7 national exams.


This was a really meaningful time for me, since the scholars in our program are the driving force behind all of TFFT’s work. I appreciated seeing firsthand the incredible impact that receiving a quality education has on the lives of our scholars. This is what motivates me to do as much as I can when I sit down in the office for work, to help provide our scholars with the best possible opportunities that we can.

Right at the beginning of my time here, I was able to attend primary school graduation at Usa River Academy. TFFT Scholar Rachel graduated, and we saw many of our other scholars participate in the graduation ceremony festivities.


I went to Star High School and saw all of the TFFT Scholars who attend school there. We spent the afternoon getting to know each other, and I learned that Julieth has a beautiful singing voice!


I was able to go along with some of the women on our Vision Trip to see Step by Step, a center that provides education and care for children with learning disabilities. We met two TFFT Scholars and saw the trade skills that they learn, which they can bring home to help provide support to their families.


One of the highlights of my time here was going to see an essay writing and poster making competition at a government school in King’ori. Hilda organized this activity through TFFT’s Full Circle Program, and student representatives from over 50 schools in Meru District showed up to compete! I loved the opportunity to see TFFT program work in action.


With all of the Vision Trip group, I went along to see Small Steps for Compassion, voted the Most Outstanding Children’s Center. Hedwiga brought us there, and she explained the process and standards of how TFFT rates the centers. Small Steps was impressive – so clean and well-rounded!


I was also able to see TFFT Scholar Angel’s home and meet some of her family. It was great that Angel felt comfortable opening her home to visitors and her sponsor, Candice. Afterwards, we spent time with Angel at her school, Usa River Academy.


Another exciting moment of the trip for me was seeing the land where TFFT has a new endeavor in the works…stay tuned for more on this!!


I loved seeing more program work in action at the SuitUp Competition, organized by Scholarship and Mentoring Program Manager, Stephen, at Arusha Modern School. We worked with TFFT Scholars and other students at Arusha Modern as coaches for the project to design a prototype shoe for Nike. It was a great experience for the students to practice making a business plan and presenting for a panel of judges.

I worked with the Vision Trip participants to complete scholar interviews. I loved spending time at schools getting to know the scholars and watching as sponsors formed bonds with the scholars that they support.


What a wonderful first experience in Tanzania for me! I loved all of my time spent with the team and scholars, and I can’t wait to make it back again for more!!


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

Meru District Inter-School Competition

September 20, 2016


The Foundation for Tomorrow recognizes the importance of well-rounded and holistic education that extends beyond the classroom. TFFT provides life skills education through our Full Circle Program, where students learn necessary skills to help them make the most out of their lives. We provide this through co-curricular activities that enhance teachers’ instruction in life skills and through curriculum support and clubs which are an excellent forum for students to learn leadership and communication skills as well as cooperation and teamwork.


This month, September 13th through 16th, we conducted an inter-school essay writing and poster making competition with the intention of engaging students from different schools throughout Meru District. We aimed to promote healthy competition among students and schools, to develop interest in the importance of expressing one’s thoughts in oral or written manner effectively as well as the arts, to provide an opportunity to students of different schools to interact with each other, and finally to encourage schools to give attention to developing and nurturing their students’ talents and skills.


This inter-school competition provided an opportunity for students to participate in a structured activity with students from other schools and gave them the chance to enhance their skills and excel in areas beyond academics.

The competition was opened to students from class 4, 5, and 6 in public schools with two contestants nominated from each school, one for essay writing and the other one for poster making. Representatives from 52 schools participated.


Students were eager to find out what they were going to write about. They were prepared by their teachers, but the competition themes were released on the spot. The essay prompt instructed the students to write a short essay explaining what they want to become in the future, how they will reach these goals, the support they will need, and what obstacles they might face.


I went through essay papers to read what they wrote. It is interesting to see that many primary students in rural Tanzania know what they want to be in the future. Five of the students want to be president of Tanzania. The reasons they provide are astonishing: they want to fight against corruption, to provide free access to education to all kids including street children, to avoid killing of wildlife, and to provide social services. One student wrote that he wants to be president because it is the highest paying job in Tanzania and he wants to have a lot of money and become famous!


The majority want to become primary school teachers, police officers, accountants, and doctors. They all provided the reasons for their choices and what they have to do to reach their dreams.


The students who participated in poster making were required to present how to support the Tanzanian child for a bright future.

In the posters, they drew the necessities for a Tanzanian child to receive a bright future. They drew schools, hospitals, clean water, clean environments, access to church, sleeping in a bed covered with mosquito netting, food, school uniforms, family, exercise and sports, just to mention few.


I submitted these papers to professional judges for marking. These judges are prominent university lectures, and one professor specialized in art and pure Swahili language. Making will take place in one week from the 19th through 23rd of September. After making, the winners will be communicated to the respective schools. The targeted date of the awarding ceremony is 5th October 2016, which coincides with the celebration of International Teachers Day.

To make this event special for the winners, I will request the presence of their parents. Also, parents will feel so proud of their kids and they will be motivated to support and encourage their education when they are at home.


I will share with you in October how the whole activity proceeded, including the award ceremony. I will also try to take short clips from winners to see their view and excitement about this event and what they have to tell their fellow students who did not participate and wish to participate next time. Stay tuned!!!!!!!!

Posted in Development, Full Circle, Tanzania | Comments closed

Building Stronger Connections Between Us

September 14, 2016


There is no doubt the bond between a child and a concerned supportive adult can be a lifeline, a lesson, a joy, and even a meaning to one’s life. It can be so many things both ways. Our TFFT connections are special in that our connections are also about protection, survival, growth, a child’s potential, a family’s future.  

One of the responsibilities of TFFT staff is to act as a link between scholar and sponsor so that the relationship bond can be strong and more meaningful over distance, time, and cultural divide. It is an effort we all take very seriously, because the link between scholars and sponsors is something that has allowed us all to do such great work under the TFFT umbrella.


There is a lot of good will generated between our scholars, our sponsors, staff, volunteers and schools. We all have the same focus of giving a child a quality education, as we all do our part in supporting our children. Communication between all of us is so important because we all rely on each other. In this blog, I would like to talk about all our bond-making efforts in the last few months that have brought us all closer together.

Building bonds is a three-way conversation between TFFT Scholars, sponsors, and team members, that can take many different forms: consulting with teachers; recording interactions with the children; doing interviews; facilitating visits; saving our money to buy a trip to Tanzania; running information sessions with parents;  writing and delivering postcards and letters; filling in surveys; building Family Cells;  writing blogs;  Skype meetings between US and TZ staff; updating the website;  sharing photos…we do all of this to help build our network of connections within the TFFT family. Even activities like updating databases, writing reports, and trying to work out school reports all add to the information that can swirl around us that needs to be shared.


Visits by sponsors to interact with scholars is the most wonderful and fun way to build connections. Wouldn’t we all love to do this as often as possible! Over the past few months, many of us have had a great experience seeing the love generated by such meetings. RIDETZ people were very blessed in this regard. They experienced what local TFFT staff get to do every week (aren’t we lucky). Even as we speak, TFFT is hosting the annual Vision Trip, to show firsthand the work we do daily. But still, there are many scholars and sponsors who don’t have the privilege to meet face to face, so that is where cards, photos, reports, and exchange of stories is the way to build connections. Other small practical bond-making activities like someone funding schoolbooks, or financially supporting life-skill activities all builds a web of connection we can all be excited about.


Have you ever tried getting information from a teenager? Well yes, it is the same challenge in the Tanzanian context. When interviewing a scholar or encouraging them to write about themselves, we all look for that one question that will open the flood gates, and get the child to look you enthusiastically in the eye. What sport do you like? Who is your favorite team/music/book? What are your plans for the future? Rest assured, if you ask closed ended questions you will get the answer “good” every time. But the scholars are happy to play, and I am sure they like the undivided attention that accompanies these interviews. For someone to be so terribly interested about them, to write all they say and send it over to America, must be a great source of pride.


Within our Scholarship Program, we have also recently had a task of going through end of term school report cards, and sending information back to sponsors who of course love to see how their Tanzanian loved one is progressing academically. The US based TFFT staff are thinking hard about how to improve mapping a child’s academic progress so that we can see patterns and trends and  monitor the impact of academic programs and extra tutoring we make available  for our scholars. All of this information together paints a picture of a scholar’s progress, or an indicator that a she or he might need extra assistance. Our Full Circle Program helps schools understand the importance of using the data that they collect in meaningful ways. Overall, an effective knowledge sharing system is so important to keep up our three-way conversation across various continents.


For TFFT, in my view, bonds between scholar and sponsor mean communication, commitment and shared responsibility. We are special and should feel proud of ourselves because our commitment to our scholars is long term. Whether a marathon commitment or a tag team effort, we are in it for the long haul, and we need to be strongly connected across the years. All our successes small and large need to be celebrated and shared. All our shortfalls need to be discussed compassionately, and viewed as a challenge together. And this means open, honest and effective communication between us all. As TFFT expands, our Scholarship Program will continue to run on commitment and connection between people.


Posted in Scholarship Program | Comments closed

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