Year in Review 2020

This year, we are all looking to the future. But, as 2020 comes to a close, we wanted to take this chance to reflect on the ways in which you’ve made it possible for The Foundation For Tomorrow to empower vulnerable children, teachers, and members of the community so they may reach their full potential and build a better world for all of us.

In 2020, we used the same values that guide our work every year—empowerment, growth, collaboration, empathy, impact, and integrity —which meant that we were ready to respond nimbly, thoughtfully, and effectively at each turn. Compounded with your support, we were able to best serve the community that relies on our support. In turn, the scholars were able to demonstrate great leadership, courage, and commitment to their studies, persevering in the midst of intractable problems. With the pandemic came the greatest education crisis of our lifetimes, with 1.5 billion children affected by school closures, and those most vulnerable at an even greater disadvantage. In times of crisis, vulnerable communities are at the greatest risk.

Change starts with you. We have had the incredible opportunity to see the impact of your generous support firsthand in the lives of the children, teachers, and community members that we serve. With your support, you are creating sustainable change in these communities. Education offers hope for a better life, a way out of poverty, the opportunity to pursue a dream. Investing in young people has made a significant impact this year. Below are some of the highlights of 2020.

Scholarship:

At the start of this year, we welcomed six new children to the Scholarship Program. We loved watching them learn and grow over the year, and are looking forward to their twelve year journey with TFFT. Just this month, we celebrated Grace for receiving the ‘Outstanding Academic Performance’ award at Family Day!

Grace receiving her award at Family Day

Our Scholarship Program, focused on depth, grounds education in a Whole Child Approach to account for the different ways young people grow and learn. In addition to providing tuition and board at one of TFFT’s 19 partner schools, TFFT offers personalized developmental guidance, health and psychosocial support, and life skills to teach essential life skills, build confidence, and deepen personal understanding. The Scholarship Program offered many exciting opportunities to our 105 scholars this year, including internships, career planning workshops, community service opportunities, and other hands-on activities for growth and development. Thank you to all of our sponsors for providing scholars with life-changing educational opportunities.

After lots of hard work and many hours of preparation, all TFFT scholars who sat for national examinations this year passed! As agents of change, you power the potential of TFFT’s scholars, developing the next generation of Africa’s leaders and accelerating the continent’s growth. To hear directly from a TFFT scholar, read Miriam’s blog post here.

We celebrated a massive milestone for twelve scholars: graduation from primary school. This milestone is not a given for all Tanzanian students, as only three out of five children in Tanzania transition from primary to secondary school. Fortunately with your support, they have reached this point and are continuing with their education in secondary school.

Graduation at Arusha Modern School

We also celebrated Irene’s graduation from Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam. She is the first TFFT scholar to graduate from college and is a powerful role model and source of inspiration for the TFFT scholars who will follow in her footsteps. The graduates’ road to success comes from hard work, grit, and determination as well as the support they received from the TFFT community every step of the way. This year’s graduates are thrilled about their successes which made graduation possible, and are excited to move forward confidently as they pursue their goals and dreams.

TFFT scholar, Irene, graduating from college

Teacher Training:

TFFT’s Teacher Training Program continued to embolden Tanzanian teachers by providing training, lesson plan coaching and resource creation workshops, resources for learning, and incentives. Training and innovative resources enhance teachers’ ability to not only deliver the curriculum effectively and dynamically, but to ensure that every student is consistently engaged and supported throughout the learning process. Teachers, working in tandem with school administrators and other steadfast partners on the ground, are paving the way for TFFT’s scholars. When facing obstacles, the best leaders rise to the occasion. Our educators have been no different during COVID-19. As Thabo noted, “Teachers were so committed to the cause amidst the crisis such that teachers travelled some great distance from their homes to convene for the virtual training in two groups, over two smartphones, to observe social distancing.”

Our teachers recognize their power as true leaders and agents of change. This year, the Teacher Training team trained over 700 teachers on a wide range of topics, including child rights and protection and students-centered learning. To read more about this year’s Teacher Training initiatives, click here, here, and here. We were delighted to welcome Mariah to our Teacher Training team, and are incredibly grateful for the skills and expertise she brings to our Organization.

Tufundishane is a TFFT publication written for teachers by teachers. Tufundishane creates a platform for teachers to share their ideas and examples of best teaching practice with the wider educational community. Written in Swahili, Tufundishane is a biannual magazine that covers a variety of educationally relevant topics that can promote discussions, work to build community and collegiality between teachers, and affirm the efforts of those striving to improve teaching. This year, our team distributed 1,000 copies of Tufundishane to teachers across the region.

Share the Love:

TFFT’s annual youth-led fundraising campaign, Share the Love, embodies the power of collective impact and is our favorite way to engage and energize TFFT’s youngest supporters to take action as ambassadors for TFFT. Thank you to all Share the Love leaders for serving as advocates, spreading awareness, and raising funds for TFFT. We were excited to introduce a new component, TFFTees, a T-shirt design competition, where we encouraged leaders to design a T-shirt that best showcases TFFT’s work. Lillian’s design, which embodies the TFFT spirit, received the most votes. In a close second came North, whose amazing tribute to TFFT’s Whole Child approach became TFFT’s official stationery. To all those who participated, we are grateful for your time, talent, and dedication to this campaign! Click here to read more.

COVID-19 Emergency Response:

“This period has been an opportunity to live and practice our values by responding to the urgent and long-term needs of the community we serve while working with all key stakeholders. Because of our work, we are convinced it can only get better from here!”
-Thabisani Ncube (TFFT Country Director)

Crisis is a great leveler. We have all been affected by COVID-19, yet, the pandemic has exposed massive inequalities. Unsurprisingly, vulnerable populations, including TFFT scholars and their families, are disproportionately affected and facing hardships they have never known. TFFT scholars and their families faced food and clean water scarcity, job insecurity, lack of proper resources to protect their health, among many other threats.

Despite much uncertainty, one thing became clear: the important role of our community. We are moved by the incredible bravery of scholars as they adapt to uncertainty; their courage and leadership has been felt throughout their communities as they educate others about precautionary measures. We have seen the centrality of school and teachers in keeping learning alive.

When scholars returned home during school closures, we acted fast. Students were immediately cut off from the vital support and protection that the education system provides. Our team worked diligently 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 continued to pursue our mission, keeping the needs of vulnerable and orphan children at the top of our agenda.

These are the ways TFFT navigated this global health crisis:

  1. 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. It was our job to offer the necessary support during this time so that the TFFT scholars and their families could best care for one another. As soon as the TFFT scholars returned to the homes of their parents or guardians, in need of food, clean water, and necessary resources to protect their health, they received an outpouring of love and support from you during the Annual Fund. Thank you for recognizing their great need by providing support in the form of Emergency Relief Packets and donations to this year’s Annual Fund.
  2. Sharing resources and knowledge: We provided TFFT scholars with educational tools and resources about preventative measures, developed by the World Health Organization, so they can dispel rumors about the spread of the disease by sharing factual information. In this way, TFFT scholars were empowered to serve as leaders in their homes and communities in this time of crisis. We were encouraged to see TFFT scholars and alumni empower their families and communities in the midst of the pandemic. For example, Einoth, a TFFT alumnae and university student, returned to her mother’s home in a remote Maasai village when COVID-19 began. She quickly learned that she was the only one in the area educated about the virus. Einoth spent her days visiting other communities in order to share awareness and preventative measures.
  3. Communication and coordination with schools: We worked closely with our partner schools to coordinate study plans and learning resources for scholars so that they do not fall behind in their studies. While students were at home, they continued to strive for excellence in the face of adversity, demonstrating resilience and commitment to their education. We are proud of their determination.
  4. Support along the Road to Recovery: When school resumed after a three month closure, our Scholarship Program offered comprehensive tutoring support to students who had fallen behind in order to bridge achievement disparities and make up for disproportionate learning losses. Our Psychosocial and Health Program addressed the scholars’ well-being in both one-on-one and group counseling sessions to help them cope with the pressures of managing studies after a long absence.
  5. Developing support for parents and guardians: We developed 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.
  6. Partnerships: We utilized the strength of partnerships, resulting in improved quality of care, better alignment of goals, and most efficient use of resources. As The Lunch Project‘s implementing partner, our teams worked together to distribute emergency relief packets to the families of over 1,000 vulnerable children who are normally fed through The Lunch Project’s school feeding programs.

During COVID-19, our team delivered 105 emergency relief packets, carried out 95 home visits, delivered 72 school assignments, provided 63 families with food supplies, and distributed 500 printed fact sheets to members of the community. Since students returned to the classroom, one of our top priorities has been ensuring that schools have the proper equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus. So that students can take all necessary precautions, we have provided hand washing stations to schools across the Arusha area, serving 2,000 students.

In unexpected ways, the TFFT team has experienced tremendous growth during this period. Certain programs, like the Teacher Training Program and Positive Parenting workshops, went virtual! While challenging because of internet connectivity and the large number of participants in both trainings, the shift to virtual learning allowed us to connect with harder to reach trainees and explore an effective platform we will utilize in the future. Click on relevant blogs here, here, here, here, here, here, and here to learn more about how the TFFT community navigated the COVID-19 crisis.

Your support of this year’s Annual Fund campaign made it possible for us to both provide COVID-19 relief, as well as cover the critical expenses that enable TFFT to operate on a daily basis. Your Annual Fund gift ensured that TFFT can best care for our community at all times. With your investment, young learners continue to access their right to education so they can reach their full potential, thrive in their community, and carry the future of their nation. Thank you for being an agent of change during COVID-19 by supporting our Annual Fund.

Team TFFT:

Ensuring equitable access to quality education is an uphill climb and a team sport! This year, an incredible team submitted Mount Kilimanjaro with Team TFFT, to support TFFT’s initiatives. Additionally, seven athletes tackled the challenging Kilimanjaro Half Marathon to power the potential of TFFT scholars! We are incredibly grateful to these agents of change for serving as TFFT ambassadors and beating inequitable access to quality education to the finish line.

Because both the New York City and Chicago marathons were cancelled this year due to COVID-19, our runners put their energy into a competition to see which team was faster at running a marathon relay. The runners raced into action to see what they were capable of accomplishing together, while apart. It was a very close race, but Team NYC won with a marathon time of 3 hours and 49 minutes!

In order to make miles matter despite the changed nature of Team TFFT this year, we launched “Going the Distance to Social Distance”, a virtual workout event, to raise funds for TFFT’s COVID-19 emergency relief effort. While we sheltered in place, we invited Team TFFT athletes to donate one of their social distancing workouts to raise funds for TFFT. 27 athletes participated in this virtual athletic journey!

International Youth Day:

On International Youth Day, TFFT alumni Issack, Nicemary, Eliupendo, Vaileth, and Ombeni, participated in the African Court Coalition Stakeholders Roundtable Discussion, an upcoming network of youth for youth in Arusha. Issack contributed, “For youth to be empowered, institutions supporting youth have to go beyond just sharing knowledge to incubating and supporting youth intervention.”

2020’s S.O.S. Gala:

Virtual success! Your support of this year’s Gala made it possible for us to raise over $170,000! This number, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is outstanding and we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we received from the TFFT community over the weekend. This year’s Gala was unlike any that we have hosted before! Thank you for virtually venturing South of the Sahara to discover the stories of the TFFT community firsthand. The scholars and staff were thrilled to guide you, their cheerleaders, through their world. This year’s event called for a new way of celebrating- and you really rose to the occasion. From far and away, you went above and beyond. We had faith in the strength of this community to continue to power the potential of scholars, despite the different nature of this year’s event, and we were right! We shared the stories from NaomiDavid, and the Boorman sisters this year at our Gala. Our scholars and staff kicked the night off in their welcome video here. The entire online Gala is here (which lasts an hour), should you wish to watch! Read Thabo’s thank you message here.

Giving Tuesday:

Once again, we have you to thank because you pulled off another successful Giving Tuesday by raising over $20,000! With many worthy causes to choose from, and in a difficult year where we are not all in the best positions to give, we are grateful that you supported TFFT. We were excited to introduce our Giving Tuesday special: TFFT’s “We Bloom Better Together” collection! If you are still interested in shopping for art from a unique collaboration between TFFT scholars and the incredibly talented collage artist and painter, Maria Driscoll, click here.

Family Day:

We recently hosted TFFT’s annual Family Day, one of the highlights of our year! This occasion is a chance for our scholars to celebrate the accomplishments of the year with their families, friends, and TFFT staff.⁣ We recognized many scholars for outstanding academic performances and remarkable academic improvements. We also paid tribute to many parents and guardians to honor for demonstrating deep commitment and support of their child’s educational scholarship with TFFT. TFFT welcomed ten new scholars to the Scholarship Program, and welcomed them into the family at Family Day. To learn more about how these scholars were identified click here. We’re so encouraged by the TFFT family coming together, cultivating community, and celebrating one another as they reflect on their experience with TFFT in 2020.

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Our holiday campaign is about to come to a close, but there is STILL time if you would like to contribute! Click here to give a gift that will help ensure equitable access and emotional support to vulnerable children.

Thoughts from the TFFT family:

We are honored to be part of a community of diverse individuals, brought together by a shared humanity, compassion, and hope for equality. You, our agents of change, are a crucial piece of the puzzle that help empower Tanzanian students, teachers, and communities. In turn, the students, teachers, and community members support each other’s dreams and welcome you into their lives to be moved and inspired. This is the true strength of the TFFT community. Together, we form a community bursting with limitless potential and promise, fostering a sense of community and belonging for all.

“Being Angel’s sponsor has given me a greater purpose than myself. She has shown me it’s the simple things in life that truly matter. My soul is full of love and joy every time I see Angel, in person or when I see the picture of her on my refrigerator. She has given me way more than I have put in and it gives me such pride knowing I helped a small bit on her path to become the woman she wants to be.” -Candice (TFFT sponsor)

“One of the really remarkable things about TFFT is that it attracts such interesting supporters. My family has become intertwined with many of the passionate donors, so much so that TFFT’s annual S.O.S. Gala is a reunion with mission-driven individuals, united by a common passion.” -Tim (TFFT board member)

“As a student in Charlotte, I am blessed with the privilege of having the resources that I need for school, being taught by wonderfully trained teachers, and being a part of a community that works to foster the education and health of all students. Through The Foundation For Tomorrow, myself and other volunteers are able to provide these privileges to students who wouldn’t normally have access to them, simply because of where they were born. TFFT’s goals and actions mean so much to me, as in my eyes there is no truer cause than helping to inspire and support young students in need.” -Cate (TFFT volunteer and ambassador)

As we look forward to many exciting things in the future, including the graduations of scholars, career moves for alumni, and the opening of TFFT’s Learning Centre, we are grateful that you are by our side. TFFT believes that empowering young leaders to make a difference in their communities is a powerful way to spark change. We have seen that our young scholars have been ready to step up and tackle challenges with resilience. The scholars and teachers we support are working to build a future brimming with more hope, opportunity, and equality. Your support ensures their work continues! Thank you for accelerating their leadership as they build a better future where all people can thrive.

With gratitude,

Miller

2020-12-31T01:40:49+00:00