Hello dear friends!
I’m just back from Tanzania where I spent precious moments with our three remaining students Shedrack, Naomi and Baraka, who will celebrate their higher ed graduations in 2023: Shed will complete his one-year Tour Guide program and Chinese Language course and Naomi and Baraka will each earn their three-year college degrees. So too was I thrilled to sit down with some former CSP students (Charles E. who runs a small transportation business, Kantonah who is employed full-time at a cafe and moonlights as a safari guide, and Glory who volunteers at FAME Medical in the Pharmacy), program partners and friends of our Child Sponsorship Program, which just began its 14th year of operations! As we look to 2023 when our three remaining students will celebrate their higher ed graduations, we are on the cusp of our Final Act: the full winddown of our ambitious program! Accordingly, below are a handful of exciting updates.
Dreams | On my last evening in Tanzania, I sat across the table from Shed, Naomi and Baraka. Though I admittedly experience flashback moments to when they were ten years old and just beginning their journey with JOS in 2010, I was ever aware that I was sitting with three remarkable young adults who are so thoughtful, articulate and ferociously pursuing their dreams. Their eyes, minds and hearts are set on being a tour guide, a clinical officer, and mechanical engineer, respectively. We laughed as we exchanged 12+ years of memories: from their first time visiting Tumaini Junior School for placement tests in 2010 to their Form IV graduations and most recently, their pending graduations from college.
The Beginning | Back in 2009 when we began the CSP, we enrolled the eldest children in school for they had the least amount of time before being independent adults. Over the years, our program has supported more than 20 students across educational courses, from primary and secondary school to higher education studies (vocational and college courses). In fact, you’ll recall in 2017 we began our Kesho Fund to focus on higher ed support. And now, on the eve of Shed’s, Naomi’s and Baraka’s graduations, this Final Act of support is taking shape to ensure smooth transitions to adulthood, including the potential of university scholarships.
The Final Act | In 2023, upon graduation, our students will have two final avenues of support: a one-time transition year grant OR up to 3 years of university-level support, followed by a one-time transition year grant.
For Shedrack, our Kesho Fund will offer up to twelve months of support as he secures employment. Since it’s common for graduates to be offered volunteer/internship opportunities, JOS is committing to a one-time transition year grant of $1,500.00USD towards Shed’s living costs, including rent, food, transport, medical needs and incidentals.
And, for Naomi and Baraka, they might be eligible for government-awarded university scholarships – we’ll know more mid-2023 – in which case JOS will commit to up to three years of support at $1,500.00USD/year towards their living costs, including rent, food, transport, medical needs and incidentals. Upon completion of university, they will also be offered a one-time transition year grant.
Our Final Act’s Goal of $30,000.00 | Given these unique opportunities for Shed, Naomi and Baraka, our Final Act will include a campaign to secure nearly $30,000.00USD so that our final ~4 years of student needs, including a modest salary for our invaluable Tanzanian partner Yusuf, and a small emergency fund, are met. I’m thrilled to be organizing a 2023 fundraiser in New York City which will have a virtual silent auction component for those who wish to be involved from afar. The auction will feature some fabulous Tanzanian treats, including tea and coffee, clothing, beadwork, sisal baskets and original art (photography and paintings) by local artists and our students! Should you wish to get involved immediately, we’re already collecting donations towards this Final Act – click DONATE and choose “Child Sponsorship Program.” Stay tuned for fundraiser and auction news soon! And, we will have another special fundraising opportunity in the future: a Mount Kilimanjaro climb with myself and several of our students! Details will be shared soon on this exciting adventure, which will require a minimum $2,500 fundraising goal towards the CSP. If you’re keen to be added to the “interested” list, please email me [email protected].
Stepping Back | And finally, with these changes and the students’ continued journeys towards independence, I too will be transitioning from my role of full-time CSP manager once the students graduate in 2023. Though a truly bittersweet moment, as their independence grows, Yusuf’s hands-on support from Tanzania best fits the students’ needs.
What a glorious adventure we have shared with these three stunning students – and with those who have already graduated. I’m so grateful we’ve shared in celebrating alongside them as they pursue their dreams and transition into adulthood.
With a grateful heart and wishing you a warm holiday season,