Introducing Daniel

November 23, 2016

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We are thrilled to welcome Daniel to the team as an intern in our Tanzania office! Daniel works with our Psychosocial & Health Program to build TFFT’s Livelihood Initiatives. His strong passion for our mission is inspiring, and we are excited to see the positive impact he is sure to bring TFFT. Welcome, Daniel!

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My name is Daniel Lyimo, and I have worked for TFFT as an intern since August. I work with Hedwiga on our livelihood initiatives. I have completed activities such as interviewing the guardians of the scholars from TFFT who have taken livelihood loans. In the interviews, I ask the guardians questions about what kind of projects they want to do in order to improve the livelihood of their families, how many people in the area are working on similar projects, and whether the other sellers make enough profit. We also discuss how to market the product, how will they use the loan for their project, and how they will pay back the loan.

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TFFT works to improve the livelihood of our scholars’ families. I work to help provide our scholars’ guardians with entrepreneurial skills. We educate anyone who participates in our livelihood strengthening initiatives on how to handle and use a loan, to budget for paying it back, how to save money.

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I enjoy working with the TFFT team each day. Everyone is supportive and I appreciate the work experiences that I have received. I am passionate about The Foundation For Tomorrow’s mission and focus on providing vulnerable children with a quality education. I believe that education is the key to life and that the best thing one can give a child is a quality education. This way, each and every child has the opportunity to fulfill his or her goals. I also admire how TFFT not only helps to better the lives of the scholars, but also helps provide resources to entire families. This way, these vulnerable families have the opportunity to take a loan and improve their livelihood to provide the basic needs to their children.

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Posted in Internships, Introductions | Comments closed

Special Education Teacher Training

November 21, 2016

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Our Teacher Training Program has provided a 10-Day training for special education teachers, using a holistic approach. The ongoing practical training targets 15 teachers of Arusha City Council. 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.

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Special education teachers’ work requires deep compassion and immense patience. The ultimate goal of this training is to provide teachers the appropriate skills to deal with special needs children. Our training program will help teachers to enhance lesson planning and preparation, classroom environment management, instruction strategies, and program designing and implementation.

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Before the training started, the participants had the chance to visit Step-by-Step Learning Center with an intention of starting to appreciate and raise their expectations for the training. Step-by-Step Learning Center is one of the special education schools with the best practices and it is where the training took place.

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Throughout the 10-Day training, the teachers engaged in different levels of effective team teaching strategies. They have had the joint responsibility to design, deliver, monitor, and evaluate instruction for a diverse group of learners in classes where all are present and engaged simultaneously. They also participated actively and took the lead in running the outdoor activities with the students.

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At the end of each day of training, the trainees and team of teachers at Step-by-Step held a reflection session to think about the best practices and lessons, sharing their ideas and experiences. These reflections offered a chance to see what each teacher would like to do in and out of classroom as they go back to their respective working areas. Each teacher prepared an individual action plan at the end of training.

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In education, it is commonly believed that the quality of teachers’ learning experiences directly affects the quality of their students’ learning experiences. Therefore, this training for special education teachers will bring about positive changes in student learning and eventually increase student achievements.

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Getting to know my Family Cell members

November 18, 2016

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Star High School is one of TFFT’s partner schools, and we have a large group of scholars who go there. It is down a long dusty, bone-rattling road, quite near a Tanzanite mine. Definitely Land Cruiser terrain! Star High is one of the highest achieving schools in Arusha in terms of academics. My Family Cell includes 10 scholars allocated to me because they were the oldest and best speakers of English. I have really enjoyed the chance to get to know these young people so much better.

When starting a Family Cell, it can be an awkward stage getting to know you. I asked many questions and was able to learn quite a lot from not only what they told me, but how they interacted with each other. My plan was to do a getting to know you exercise, but that really was not necessary. I was the only unknown in this little tight knit group.

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These young people live and work together, share dorms, eat together, study and have spare time together. They know each other’s business. Often I find one scholar talking on behalf of another, and often one looking after another. One person’s story seems to be owned by everyone. Young Janeth can tell you who doesn’t have a school bag, or who needs a trunk and gives me a list to follow up. When I ask who gets homesick and looks forward to holidays, I get a resounding “me” from just about everyone, but then Rose tells me Nasishivai wants to stay because she would miss her friends. They all certainly know a lot about each other. Julieth told me that Joyce had not been feeling well for three days, and Miriam and Monica are inseparable, and always have their heads inclined towards each other whispering. When there were 9 scholars present to start our session, they all knew who was not present and where they were. This group is a family cell already!

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In the back of my mind when I am talking to these young people, I do think of the people that support them who often know so little about who they are, or what type of adults they are becoming. I grasp for antidotes and observations to share. I know Nasishivai is the Dorm Prefect and her biggest problem is dealing with theft. I know that Joachim is trying to get into ICT, and he told me that without his education, he thinks he would have been an agricultural worker. I want to tell people how Ndera is a caring person who looked after a sick friend, and how in a group of 8, three of them stated that they like to counsel fellow students. That surprised me. And do you know the one thing that they all asked me to bring them? Novels! They are valuable commodity in the dorms of Star High…

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TFFT always tries to think of ways to build close connections between scholars and sponsors. Information sharing in the form of school reports just does not bring the personalities of our scholars alive. I hope that through the Family Cell meetings, we can all gain a better understanding of the lives of our children.

Posted in Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

Publishing a Teachers’ Training Manual

November 8, 2016

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Our Teachers’ Training Program is working on developing a teacher manual, which will guide primary school teachers in planning their lessons. It will help teachers practice the best skills and techniques, providing the students with the best possible education.

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Why do we think that developing a teacher manual is important?

Please take the time to read an excerpt from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss:

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day. I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two. And I said, ‘How I wish we had something to do!

In Tanzania, 3 out of 10 students can’t read this simple poem after completing their primary school. We want to end this problem. Children should not hesitate over reading these simple words, and consequently perform below their reading potential and poorly on their examinations.

Certainly hundreds of thousands of children in Tanzania have the potential to excel. Children enrolled in primary school throughout the country still struggle with reading. Parents wonder whether to get a part-time job afford tutoring for their children.

This past decade, educators have been fighting a phonics versus whole language reading war. Phonics is one method of teaching a child to read, while whole language is another. Each side has strong advocates, yet many children still finish primary school unable to read. Meanwhile, our Teachers’ Training Program has been busy researching various resources to identify the missing puzzle piece of how to teach children to read.

Here’s some good news: we are working to publish a teachers manual on how to teach students to read, write, and calculate. This will make a profound difference to children in many schools, as teachers will learn useful information found in our manual. Let’s begin helping Tanzanian children improve their reading, writing and calculating!

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Posted in Development, Tanzania, Teacher Training | Comments closed

Meru District Inter-School Competition Winners

November 2, 2016

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TFFT’s Full Circle Program recently conducted an inter-school competition of essay writing and poster making for students at schools throughout Meru District. We aimed to promote healthy competition amongst the 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 to encourage schools to give attention to developing and nurturing their students’ talents and skills.

For the essay writing competition, students were instructed 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. The students who participated in poster making were required to present how to support the Tanzanian child for a bright future. A panel of judges, professionals and prominent Arusha University lecturers, reviewed the submissions. They selected seven student winners from the competition where representatives from 52 schools participated. I have chosen a winning essay and a winning poster to share with you.

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Winning essay submission written by Innocent Onesmo, who is in class five (5th grade) at Mbaseneni Primary School:

An Essay about My Future Plans

My name is Innocent Onesmo. When I grow up I want to become a doctor, so that I have opportunity to help many sick people in my community and village. I will have to do the following to reach my dreams:

Attending and participate in classes every day, by attending the classes I will be able to receive enough knowledge and skills needed. In the classes is where I will be able to solve all my questions and my problems in academics. I am also using the class time discussing with my fellow students, so through all the discussion we are conducting we are now in a position to help one another in different academic issues.

I am studying science subject very hard, it is the only way I am going to reach the dream that I am always dreaming of. I enjoy studying science a lot and my teachers are proud of me when comes to the classroom participation and in examination scores. I can’t wait to be a doctor.

I am doing lots of exercises and tests that my teachers are providing. I know people say practice make it perfect. That’s why I can’t ignore all the tasks I am provided by my teachers they are very helpful to make me perfect. I am also sure through all the exercise and exams I am doing I will be able to pass the last examination and go to secondary school where I will keep on the race of reaching my dream.

Keeping my health safe is helping me to attend all the classes and remain in focus. I know I am the only one responsible for my own action so I am trying hard to avoid all the diseases which can be avoided like HIV /AIDS, cholera, Malaria and so many others communicable diseases.

I know I can’t reach my dreams if I am working on my own, surely I need support, the following statements explain the support I need in order to reach my plans:

Parents to provide me with all the basic needs. I know it is not very healthy to go to school in an empty stomach. So I must be given food every morning before going to school, a better place to sleep and nice clothes and clean water so that I remain healthy.

I need very good teachers who will help me reach my dreams. I need teachers who will love me and help me whenever I am having problems, teachers who can understand what am I, who am I and what do I want to be? I also need teachers who are not canning me.

I also need God’s help. He is the only one keeping me alive and he is the only one who will help me to reach my plans. I believe that I can do anything but without God’s help is like wasting my time and efforts in vain.

I also need help form the government and non-governmental organization to help all the children who are in school to reach our goals. By improving Tanzanian schools infrastructure so that all Tanzanian students will be enjoying school environment as what is happening to all developed countries.

At last I would like to advice all of my fellow students to work very hard in schools, cause it is the only way we are all going to have good life just like all the rich people we see in day to day life. Not only working hard at school but also at home we have to keep on helping our parents doing the work that they are asking us and listening to their guidance whenever they are counseling us.

Winning poster submission, created by Mustafa Matiku from Nambala Primary School:

Helping a Tanzanian Child to Have a Brighter Future

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Mustafa drew pictures to illustrate the concept of a how a Tanzanian child can have a bright future as follows:

A kid must have a better house to stay, where he or she can feel comfortable.

A kid needs a freedom of worshiping.

A kid needs a balanced diet so as to have good health.

A kid needs good clothes so as to look nice and protect him or herself form cold.

A kid needs medical care.

A kid needs to play whatever sports he or she likes

A kid needs money to pay school fees, so as to continue with his or her education.

A kid needs a bicycle to get to school.

 

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The two children who wrote these essays showed extraordinary abilities compared to their peers who participated in the contest. The reasons that Innocent and Mustafa qualified as top winners are because they followed all of the requirements for essay submissions. They provided neat and organized work, knowledge of the material presented, directly answered the essay prompt, and used proper punctuation and grammar.

The majority of students who participated in the essay writing competition did not follow the proper format of writing and submitted work that was less organized. While they all had wonderful, creative ideas, some students struggled to communicate these thoughts through their writing. I enjoyed reading how all of these young students communicated what they want in future. They clearly know what they have to do, and recognize the barriers that exist.

I congratulate all of the participants for a job well done!

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Posted in Development, Full Circle, Tanzania | Comments closed

Form Four Graduation at Star High School

October 20, 2016

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Posted in Scholarship Program, TFFT Student Work | Comments closed

Teacher of Distinction Award Ceremony

October 18, 2016

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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.  

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Posted in Tanzania, Teacher Training | Comments closed

Family Cell Meeting Update

October 12, 2016

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Identifying New Scholars for 2017

October 6, 2016

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in Development, Scholarship Program, Tanzania | Comments closed

Arusha Modern School SuitUp Competition

October 3, 2016

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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