Hello, hello, hello, and many salaams to all! It is now November and I am more than halfway through my annual stateside sojourn during which I have been addressing administrative and fundraising concerns. This Fall has been fruitful - if a little rushed - and I am looking forward to a productive 2015 when I go back to Moshi at the end of December.
Since I've been in New York, the Project has been in Vumi's capable hands as she supervises the two other teachers. In addition to managing the current program, Vooms has begun investigating possibilities for expansion into the two neighboring schools of Msandaka and Kiboriloni.
As for the students, you already know that the 2013 group has, for the most part, been released back into the mainstream pool of pupils full-time, but with some follow-up where needed. The second group from 2014 is around the halfway mark through their tuition/curriculum modification program, and Vumi emails me weekly that they are all making great strides. Three children from 2013 whom we determined would be better off in a self-contained classroom are now at the Gabriella Children’s Rehabilitation Centre where they are being provided special education and boarding. So far, just one child from 2014 is at Gabriella but I am expecting to register at least one other little girl when I get back.
Please find below a bar graph created by Angi Stone-MacDonald depicting the progress of the 2013 students for the whole year of their intervention (the first six months results are posted alone in the entry titled "Angi of the Morning" from September). You can clearly see the huge difference between the initial assessment (green) and the midway assessment (red). The one-year mark (blue) shows a bit of slowing down for some of the kids but that is not unusual. As we have always stated, Toa Nafasi is about getting slow learners up-to-speed so that they can succeed within their communities. No one is trying to generate little Einsteins here; we just want all the kids to have a good chance of getting through the Tanzanian school system with the skills to make good lives for themselves. Of course, should we happen to stumble upon a tiny genius or two along the way, well, that would just be icing on the cake!!
In other news, we are preparing to hold the annual Toa Nafasi "friend-raiser" in the United States, once again in Washington DC (I was born and raised there) but also in New York (my college and post-college stomping grounds). It's been a busy few weeks plotting the invitations and guest lists, venues and catering, my speech, and most importantly, my outfit (!!), but I think we will be good to go once they roll around in a month (DC) and two weeks (NYC) respectively. Please contact me if you plan to be in either either location in mid-November and early December and would like an invitation!!
And, as I am keenly aware of the need to diversify our sources of funding in order to make The Toa Nafasi Project a public charity rather than a private foundation, I have turned my attention (polepole) to continuing the good work of Lizzy Conley, our short-term, part-time administrative assistant from the summer, and started working towards the procurement of a foundation grant. We have a few possibilities but it's tough-going and a lot of work, so if any readers out there know how to research opportunities and write proposals, give me a shout-out; you may have a job with The Toa Nafasi Project!!
That, my friends, is the haps for now. Back at you at the end of the week!!