Renewed Hope

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Dear Friends,

Spring has sprung, and I find myself with a renewed spring in my step as I look forward to the future.  I received my first vaccine and look forward to getting my second one next week.  I am also looking forward to a return of some normalcy, whatever that may look like.  I hope you are well and finding the same new energy that Spring brings.

Hard to believe that I have not been in Tanzania for one year. Time flies! While this past year has brought challenges we never could have imagined, I have enjoyed staying in the USA, the change of seasons and having weekends off.  I also enjoyed a year without jetlag six times a year.

I do miss spending time in Tanzania; I miss the kids, the teachers and my friends.  Today, there is renewed hope in a country I call my second home.  With the passing of the former President last month, President Samia Sululhu Hassan was sworn in today.   Everyone in Tanzania has hope again!  Today, she made an announcement that there will be a Covid 19 task force, freedom has been given back to the press and investors both locally and from abroad will be welcomed, without the threat of the government emptying their bank accounts.  While this is a great start, there is a lot of work to do. Tanzanians are looking forward to a new constitution and the return of democracy.  Small Steps…Big Hopes!  Today was her first official day as President!

I talked with Eric, the manager at the school and he too has renewed hope, that I will return one day and vaccines will be made available to all citizens there. Although,  I am not sure when that will be,  I feel so much better about the prospects than I did just a month ago.

Our small school has had it’s share of challenges.  Another electrical surge in March (almost exactly one year from the last one) knocked out our lights, refrigerator, copier and other electrical items.  We had to rewire 60% of the entire campus, including our volunteer house and  replace damaged items; another unexpected expensive endeavor.   We are lucky nothing caught fire.

Thank you, Thank you, to all of you who purchased Tanzanian paintings in our “Artwork  for Education” initiative.  A special thank you to Sound of a Smile organization which helped sell over $4000 in artwork for us! Together, we raised over $7000 for TSF!  The demand has been high, and we are expecting another shipment of 150 paintings this week.  The artisans we support are so excited, they were able to work for their own children’s school fees. Something they have missed over the past year.   I have updated website with some of the new paintings we are expecting to receive.    Click here to view.   Please note, there are hundreds more than what is online. Once shipment is received, I will photograph and upload to the website.

Father Christmas Academy & Sponsorships
Schools are on holiday in Tanzania for April vacation.  We partnered with the Fritz Family Foundation in Texas last month.  They shipped boxes of sporting equipment directly to FCA!  The children loved their new soccer balls, basketballs and more.  They are hoping to get a group of volunteers to Tanzania at the end of the year to build a basketball court at FCA!  Thank you Fritz Family Foundation.
Our students are excelling beyond our expectations!  They are our ambassadors; many villagers wish their children could have the opportunity of a free education.   We currently sponsor 40 children at FCA.  40 children who would otherwise not receive a quality education. We may need to reduce that number in the upcoming weeks.  FCA also has 20 paying students, and many are behind on their tuition.  We have six monthly student sponsors and three annual sponsors.  (Three for grade school and six for Pre K & Kindergarten).   Sponsorships help pay for the salaries at the school, buys food and books for the forty children.
Unfortunately, over the past four months, we have received many sponsorship cancellation notices from the payment processor –monthly sponsorship just ended, without a notification from the sponsor… We understand things change in everyone’s life from day to day, especially after the past year, we just wish before you hit cancel, send us an email letting us know your circumstances have changed, so we can personally thank you for your support.  We offer scholarships based on sponsorships.  The school year in Tanzania begins in January and ends in December. When a sponsor cancels unexpectedly, I have the heart wrenching job of advising the student and their families they can no longer attend FCA. They have many questions, that I cannot answer. It is not TSF that suffers from a cancellation, it is a child.   The trickle-down effect happens; because FCA’s budget is contingent on school fees.  When we get two, three, four sponsorship cancellations, the teachers, cooks and other staff can’t get their monthly salaries.  There are nine staff in Tanzania, Eric already had to layoff 3 others.
With that said we are looking for new student sponsors…Grade school children are $100 per month, Pre K & Kindergarten is $50 a month) if you can sponsor $25 a month (four individuals can sponsor one grade 2 child) or (two individuals can sponsor a child in Pre-K or Kindergarten) or $50, or $100 a month, we are in desperate need.  If you are considering sponsorship, we ask  that you sponsor a child through December and if you would like to cancel after then, let us know before we offer a child a scholarship for the upcoming year, if you would like to continue, let us know that too!
We invite supporters and sponsors to visit Tanzania when it is safe to do so.  We would love for you to meet the children and the wonderful hardworking staff in Tanzania.
Looking forward
We have scheduled some events for this summer and we are looking forward to returning to Gillette Stadium in September for fundraising opportunities during the Patriot football games.  We are planning an outdoor art gallery fundraiser in June and we hope more fundraising opportunities present themselves.
Our bus still needs repairs and while we made some progress on the unfinished classroom, we still have painting and furniture to go…and of course our monthly expenditures.

Thank you for reading this note to the end,  we recognize that we would be nothing without you. Thank you so much for your past and future support.

Hugs,

Christine

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