EMPOWER 25 SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS IN TANZANIA: STEP BY STEP LEARNING CENTRE, SSLC, REPORT NUMBER 3, JANUARY 2021.
A. EFFECTS OF COVID-19
Due to the lingering effects of COVID-19 and the return of tourists from other parts of the world, we continued to take all the recommended precautions against the spread of corona virus. The homebased program described in the last report continued until we closed for the Christmas break. We have started back on campus this week with renovations and putting in place all requirements before the students come back from Monday 18th. We have
ØPlaced hand washing stations and sanitizers at strategic places
ØSpaced student desks at 2 meter intervals
ØPurchased of 2 temperature guns to monitor temperature of staff and students
ØFixed all windows and doors to ensure fresh air
ØPurchased face masks for use each time we are unsure
ØMade a proposal for funding for COVID -10 relief items for students and their families
ØInformed parents and guardians to not send their children to school if they are sick or have a fever
B. BACK AT SCHOOL
While the homebased program went well, the caretakers and four adult students who live near the school continued with the outdoor Income Generating Projects (IGPs) all of which continue to grow towards viability and sustainability. The chicken project in particular is a great story:
Five years ago the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) offered SSLC some money to buy eggs for the students but we preferred to use it for a chicken project so that we are able in future to raise our own chicken and have a more lasting source of eggs and income. Well, it has paid off. A board member donated his sophisticated (so we thought at the time) chick house to us and so that initial funding was enough not only to purchase 25 free range chickens to start with but also build a small goat house and purchase 2 local goats. Two years later both projects grew to 75 chickens, enough eggs to supplement the students’ diet, a much larger goat house with 2 rotational grazing grounds on either side and 23 goats! The goat project now has 53 goats including 4 kids that were born in November!
In February 2020, 17 volunteer students and 2 professors from Pepperdine University came on an Educational tour to Tanzania through Edutours, raised funds and built a huge chicken house for SSLC, enough to raise a batch of 1,000 broiler chicks at ago! We were all set to start with 350 chicks but on 16th March, all schools were closed due to COVID-19. We resumed in June but with most of the students on a newly devised Home Based Program. Four adult students who could walk to school (rather than use public transport or the school bus) continued with the outdoor Income generating Projects (IGPs). On 4th September 2020, we brought our first batch of beautiful yellow 350 broiler chicks. In just an hectic 4 weeks of intensive feeding and care, we were selling grown chicken of at least 1.2 kilograms for 6,000/= wholesale and 6,500/= retail. On 19th November 2020, we brought in a second batch of 400 chicks this time targeting high demands for chicken during Christmas festivities. We made good sales. We are now set to bring a third batch in the last week of this month so that all students will participate in this very therapeutic and rewarding project.
It was not all rosy because not all the chicks survived. It was somewhat difficult to enter the market and an unexpected additional expense for a big fridge for prompt storage was mandatory. The longer you keep the chicks, the more they eat into the profits. Otherwise, the returns are good: with a minimal of 350 chicken, we are able to not only break even, but also make a profit enough to give each student a small stipend to take home and a little bit to put in their savings. We are counting the chicken project as successful, profitable and sustainable.
C. ENGAGEMENT WITH GLOBAL GIVING
One of our big achievements in 2020 was earning a permanent place on GlobalGiving’s huge platform during GlobalGiving Accelerator, March 2020. We had access to information on improving our fundraising and organization. Above all, we connected with generous donors who became our crucial support and kept the program running in a year that was a threat to the survival of this wonderful program for our students. We attended several webinars and participated in all the GlobalGiving campaigns except the last one. We were very happy with our outcome given that it was our first year of partnership with GlobalGiving. For that, we are immensely grateful to GlobalGiving and all our generous donors.
For 2021, we intend to be even more active on the GlobalGiving platform. We have already engaged a supporter to start a fundraiser through GlobalGiving! We hope 2021 will be kinder and more fruitful than 2020.