March 19, 2020
To our global community,
As of March 16th, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Arusha, Tanzania, the town in which TFFT scholars, teachers, and community members live, learn, and teach. On March 17th, we received official word from the Prime Minister that all schools will be closed for 30 days. As cases continue to rise, school has now been postponed indefinitely. We do not yet know how COVID-19 will affect the nation of Tanzania, the education system, and the members of our TFFT family, but we do know that this is a fast-moving and easily transmissible disease and vulnerable populations are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
The number of cases on the continent is rapidly growing and experts worry that the virus will be particularly dangerous in countries with weak health systems and populations already affected by HIV and other infectious diseases. Additionally, “social distancing” will be particularly challenging in the continents’ overcrowded cities.
With schools closed in Tanzania, students are cut off from the vital support and protection that the education system provides. We are doing all we can to support TFFT scholars and their families while they are at the homes of their vulnerable parents or guardians. While ensuring the safety of our staff, we continue to pursue our mission, keeping the needs of vulnerable and orphan children at the top of our agenda. This means we must all come together now to support the entire TFFT community.
We are paying close attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding in Tanzania and are responding and preparing our community for its inevitable spread throughout the country. Here are the ways TFFT is navigating this global health crisis:
- Ensuring the well-being of our TFFT community: The team has been diligently assessing the needs in the vulnerable households where our scholars find themselves while school is closed. Much is needed: food, water, soap, buckets for hand-washing, and other critical resources. TFFT scholar, Baraka, visited the TFFT office yesterday to collect his learning materials. He, like all TFFT scholars, is eager to return to school and continue his studies, partly because of food security in his household. It is our job to offer the necessary support during this time so that the TFFT community can best care for one another. To donate a $25 emergency relief packet for one vulnerable household click here.
- Sharing resources and knowledge: TFFT scholars were also provided with kid-friendly hard copies of COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations from the World Health Organization. Such measures empower our scholars to serve as leaders by sharing knowledge and spreading awareness amongst their households and communities, ensuring the safety of everyone. In this way, TFFT scholars are empowered to serve as leaders in their homes and communities in this time of crisis. Further, we provided them with resources for good personal hygiene.
- Communication and coordination with school: We are working closely with our partner schools to coordinate study plans and learning resources for scholars so that they do not fall behind in their studies.
- Developing support for parents and guardians: We are developing guidelines for the parents and guardians of our scholars, many who have never gone to school, so they can both track and support their students’ educational progress.
We are extremely thankful to our staff in Tanzania for courageously working on the front-lines, supporting the most vulnerable communities in order to ensure the health and safety of our scholars. Here is a message from Thabisani, TFFT’s Country Director, addressing TFFT’s response and preparations: https://vimeo.com/400252416
As we are confronted with an unprecedented pandemic, we are in the midst of an incredibly uncertain time. Now, more than ever, we need access to funds to respond accordingly. We will need to be strategic, agile, and able to act quickly in the face of this severe situation. While everything about COVID-19 is uncertain, we remain dedicated to protecting our scholars, through whatever means necessary. The funds raised from our ongoing 2020 Annual Fund campaign allow TFFT to operate on a daily basis, in ways that help us best support our scholars, partner schools, and the teachers that we train. The best thing that you can do today is give to our Annual Fund, so that we can best care for our TFFT community by being financially ready to act appropriately as we continue to learn more about how COVID-19 will affect TFFT initiatives as a whole. Now, more than ever, we need our community of supporters to come together so that we can take the necessary steps forward.
Thank you for your continued support. Non-profits can be negatively impacted in unsettling and difficult times like these, but we are requesting that our supporters recognize the need to stand by our TFFT scholars so we can ensure they have access to the care and support they need in the coming weeks and months. We will update you regularly as the situation continues to develop and keep you informed on TFFT’s response and action. For the most up to date information, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.