While AfricAid continues to believe that the establishment of a new Montessori learning center is an important and worthy endeavor, it has determined that the complexities associated with establishing a new school in Tanzania are significant, and require considerable additional time and analysis in order to deal with them. As a result, AfricAid has decided to put the project on hold for the meantime, pending further reseach by AfricAid representatives into the requirements associated with opening and certifying a school, and an in-depth, on-site analysis of the feasibility of the project itself. The support of donors for the project is much appreciated, and will be important for AfricAid in undergoing the needed research and analysis. AfricAid still hopes to be able to reactivate the project at some future date.
In 2013, 11 schools in Tanzania received textbooks. These textbooks make a huge impact in the lives of the students and we cannot thank you all enough for being apart of this amazing outreach! Without text books, teachers struggle to teach the necessary information for students to learn school subjects. Textbooks allow students to not only see the information on the chalk board, but also see photos and find classroom activities designed for specific subjects and grade levels! Books allow children to re-examine the course content after the teacher has taught on the subject. Many students, as in all countries, often need time to study content multiple times to fully understand and textbooks make this possible. The previous Interim Director, Betsy Hoke's face lights up when she tells the story of seeing the children receive the books in 2013. They are always overjoyed and very thankful. AfricAid would love to expand this program to further schools needing textbooks in 2014. Without you we cannot make that happen, so join us in providing thousands of students in Tanzania with textbooks this year!
For this update, I would like to share my personal experience with the challenges African students face in terms of meals. Before I became the Operations Manager for AfricAid, I spent 8 months volunteering in Uganda. I spent a lot of my time visiting primary and secondary schools to play soccer and interact with the kids. When I first heard and saw how little food children receive at school, I was heart broken. Many girls I met told me about their daily one hour walk each way to and from school. This walk was normally done after they finished their morning work of collecting firewood, washing dishes, preparing tea and collecting water, which left them exhausted once they finally arrive at school. With many schools not having the funds to provide a lunch, most students grew tired and had a difficult time focusing in class. As school is already expensive for many rural households, families do not have enough money to contribute to the school for lunch expenses, making school meals a distant dream. These same issues are occuring in many rural and semi urban locations throughout Africa, Tanzania being one of them. When I joined AfricAid's team and learned of the School Lunch Program, I was so pleased to learn that we are providing lunch for students at Losinoni Primary School in Tanzania. Even better, we are involving the community in the effort with students' mothers making bracelets to sell here in the US as contribution to the food costs! This program is truly making a big difference in the lives of the 650 students. Imagine what it would be like to try to focus and keep up with your studies with an empty stomach. Now students at Losinoni are receiving higher marks and are able to concentrate in class. Thank you all for making this happen and we look forward to continuing this project in 2014 and years to come!