Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What we are doing in Tanzania (100 giving 22).

What are we doing in Tanzania?  I say "we" because though it is really my husband's job and work, I feel like I am a part of it because I support and care for our family.  We are in it together.  Mike works for a wonderful NGO called Project Concern International (PCI).  We moved here just about one year ago.  We are very thankful to have the opportunity to live here and do this work.  And what is the work?  Believe it or not, we are working with school children! Lots and lots of school children--70,000 school children!! Pretty amazing. They are doing a lot of really good work, but the biggest part of their work here in Tanzania is feeding children so they are not hungry in school. 

"The Food for Education program benefits 70,000 children and 880 teachers, and reaches approximately 260,000 community members in the districts of Musoma Rural and Bunda located in the Mara Region of Tanzania, which suffers from some of the highest levels of chronic poverty, persistent drought and food insecurity in the country. These challenges contribute to poor education outcomes in Mara Region, where the pass rates in primary school were a mere 52% for boys and only 34% for girls in 2011, the second worst region in the entire country (BEST, 2011). Prior to project interventions, 90% of female caregivers in Bunda and Musoma Rural districts reported that their children “rarely” or “never” consumed a meal prior to going to school. Through the Food for Education program, the daily meals provided to students in 103 schools are now resulting in significant increases in enrollment and attendance." (source)

As you might know, my thoughts and heart has been on school children a lot recently.  Not only sending off our girls to school (well, for two of them, it is home for school), but on the 70 children we are hoping to send to school this fall in eastern DRC.

For the 70 kids we have been supporting, they will likely never be a part of a government program like the one PCI is doing in Tanzania.  For many reasons, but one of them being that they live in remote areas and spread all over the territory of south Kivu in small village schools.  Our manager had to travel on a motorcycle for one entire day to find one of the schools, and that was just to visit ONE child.  And he was worth it to us. 

Traveling to visit school children in eastern DRC.
The school at the end of the journey

The two children at the end of the journey--brother and sister.

We would love to help all the children in the schools, every one of them deserve to not sit in school hungry.  And we are doing what we can with the children that are the most vulnerable.  The "orphans" that have lost their mothers (a child in that area of DRC is called an "orphan" when they have lost their mother).  We are not only paying their school fees, but we are making sure they have uniforms and notebooks so they can attend school.  And maybe one day we will even do more.  Maybe one day we will be able to help one of their villages in a bigger way.

But the first step is to get the kids to school.  Here in Tanzania, in the 103 schools that are targeted for the school feeding program, the students do not pay tuition; they are government schools.  In eastern DRC, that is not the case, the government schools are not free and many families cannot afford school fees.  7 million children do not attend school in DRC (source).  32% of all secondary aged students do not attend school in DRC (source).  The majority of the children we support to send to school are secondary students that would otherwise not be attending school.  This is a success story.

Honestly, fundraising is not easy.  I don't have anything flashy to share (and even my little giveaway is just that--little).  I'm not the best writer out there.  I can only do my best to advocate for the 70 children that would be easy to forget that live in eastern DRC.  I can only do my best to make sure we don't forget them.  When our manager finally was able to visit all the kids we support this year, the message he received from these kids over and over again was that they were happy to be able to go to school, that their lives were very hard, and yet, they said thank you.

Let's continue to give them hope for a brighter future, that they are not forgoten.  If 100 people each gave $22 we would be able to finish our fundraising and send all the children to school this fall.  Would you consider a one time donation of $22?  Any donations can be given through the paypal links on my blog or our website: www.reedsofhope.org.  Thank you!  

Yvonne, secondary school

Neema, secondary school

Byemere, secondary school

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