Educating the disadvantaged
It has been a very long time since I have provided an update. My apologies. TSF has kept me been very busy!
Thanks to some generous support in 2021, we were able to finish the school year successfully. Over 50 children were educated in four grades in 2021! Not only did they receive a quality education, they were served two nutritious meals every day and many were bused to the campus.
2021 was hectic for me as I was kept very busy from May through December, setting up at arts markets and selling beautiful Tanzanian Art. We had a very successful year and were also able to support 10 artists families as well. This provided them the opportunity to send their children to school too. Tourism has not yet rebounded and many in Tanzania are still suffering. The ten artists we support would also be suffering without our support. They are so grateful to be our partners and we are grateful for them as well.
We hosted our own Holiday market from Thanksgiving to Christmas offering space in a vacant retail location. This was a successful fundraiser for us and it has kept us going through the down months of January thru April. It also provided us with the opportunity to sell our art in a prime location for an entire month. It was a lot of work and long hours, but worth the effort our board and I invested. It was not only successful for TSF, but also for the 40+ small businesses that participated. It kept me very busy for the three months; planning, organizing and hosting. We look forward to having an even better Holiday Market in 2022.
2022: In the USA while things are relatively quiet in the fundraising dept, the school has been very busy beginning its new school year. The school year begins in January and it is a time of great financial need for Fr. Christmas Academy. They were busy buying uniforms, books, hiring teachers, registering new students, organizing bus routes, buying food, new plates and cups and more. We were happy to have helped with all of those expenditures.
The school was running for six weeks before I arrived! Yes, I finally went back to Tanzania for the month of March! It had been 23 months since I was last there and although two years went by, being there felt like I never missed a beat. It was wonderful to be back, meeting new students and teachers, spending time reviewing the school operations, the financials, catching up on everything and enjoying some warm weather too. It was also nice to spend time with the artisans and I picked up 134 new paintings, coffee, tea and so much more.
I was there for only four weeks, and the time flew by. 23 months ago, I left wanting to come back to the USA. This time I left wanting to go back to Tanzania. I hope to squeeze in another trip this Fall. But until then, I have a lot of work to the in the USA and a lot of fundraising to do. Our calendar is getting full beginning in May and I am trying to catch up on all the administrative work that a one man (unpaid) director has to do. Often times, I feel like I need a staff of 10 to get everything done, but I am slowly going through the list, and this newsletter has been at the top of the list for a long time.
News on the 2022 school year at Fr. Christmas Academy.
The school is growing with a new grade added every year. We now have five classes from Pre-school to Grade 3. As our school grows so do the monthly expenses. While half of the students (there are 58 students) pay school fees, another 10% that are expected to pay school fees, but have yet too, we are carrying the load of the other 50%. We are also supporting 75% of the bus costs and due to rising costs all around the world, the cost of running the school bus has gone up, due to the high price of oil all around the world. We also support 50% of the school meals for our students and since Tanzania gets 70% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, the cost of food is soaring too. The cost of school supplies is increasing too; a ream of paper once cost $5 is no $7.50! Inflation is worldwide! Imagine how the increased prices impacted the many who earn $2 a day, or on the high side $200 a month? Life continues to be hard in Tanzania. The worry on peoples faces is apparent.
That is why our work is so important. Education is the way out of the poverty our students come from. The meals they receive at school provide their nutrients for the entire day. We are changing the lives of our students and staff.
We can’t do it without your support. We don’t receive any large grants, the majority of our funding comes from hard work and generous supporters. We need your help so we can continue to support education to disadvantaged children.
Keep in mind that the tourism industry has yet to rebound. While more and more are traveling to Tanzania, it is not nearly what it used to be. I am amazed that we continue what we set out to do…it’s been a challenging two years for TSF in both the USA and in Tanzania.
Want to help? What do we need? to give some perspective…
$35 a month feeds a child for a month ( 53 students looking for sponsor)
$50 a month sponsors the education of a pre school/kindergarten student (10 students looking for sponsors)
$100 a month sponsors a grade school student (17 looking for sponsors)
$250 a month sponsors a teacher (we have 5 teachers)
$800 a month sponsors the school bus
We also have desks that need repairing and repainting, classrooms, kitchen, bathrooms that need repainting, unfinished classroom to finish and so much more. We built it and now it needs to be maintained.
We also partnered with a tour operator to arrange an epic two week trip to Tanzania, one that encompasses volunteering, some unique experiences with either a safari (including zip lining) or Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. Minimum 4 people and they leave once a month.
My apologies again, for this very delayed newsletter! I hope the next update doesn’t take this long.
Thank you to all who have supported our work in 2021, we would not be here today without you.
If you are in a position to help, we would appreciate you choosing TSF in 2022.
Please visit: www.tanzaniaschoolfoundation.org/donate to be the change you want to see in the world.
I have included some photos of my time in Tanzania…enjoy.