Greetings from Tanzania! I am writing to you to convey the sincere appreciation of the students and teachers of Losinoni Primary School for the much-needed support you have provided to their school lunch program.
Last week, I had the opportunity to travel out to Losinoni village, a rural Maasai community in northern Tanzania. I arrived to Losinoni late in the afternoon, and I was greeted by a choir of singing students, who had written their own song to thank their friends in the US for all of their incredible support.
The students are so grateful for school lunch they have now been eating every day for the last year. They walk miles to and from school each day, usually with only an evening meal of “ugali” – stiff corn gritz. Now that they have porridge and groundnuts everyday at school, the teachers report that they are able to focus while in the classroom. Additionally, attendance has increased by 30% since the school lunch started!
On the day I visited, 97% of students were in class that day – remarkable for a poor, rural community where many students are kept home to do household chores and take care of the farm and livestock. But many of the mothers are now coming together to make beaded bracelets and keychains, which AfricAid sells in the US, with all of the proceeds returning to the school lunch program (http://africaid.com/blog/?page_id=25). As a result, parents in the community are feeling a much greater sense of pride and investment in their children’s education, and they are making sure that their kids go to school everyday!
One of the most exciting pieces of news is that 45 out of 46 Grade Seven students went on to secondary school this past year! It’s hard to convey the magnitude of this achievement by the school. It is rare for any school in Tanzania to have near a 100% transition rate to secondary school, much less a rural school like Losinoni. (When AfricAid started working at the school in 2003, only 13 of 45 students went on to secondary school each year.) The head of school believes that the school lunch program has played a significant role in making this possible, as it incentivizes students to show up and also greatly helps their learning while in the classroom!
Thank you for all that you have done to make this possible for the students at Losinoni Primary School! Your efforts have truly yielded exceptional changes in the lives of the students, teachers and entire community. The village of Losinoni is slowly being transformed – can you imagine the ripple effect that will take place when those 45 secondary school graduates start to return to their community? Pretty incredible. Thank you for making this hope-filled new future possible in Losinoni.
With much appreciation,
Executive Director, AfricAid
P.S. For another creative way to support Losinoni Primary School, please check out the children’s books written BY Losinoni students! www.firstpersonpublishing.com