Your Actions Give A Big Impact for Children

I am writing you today with good news – and a heartfelt plea for support. The good news is that real progress is being made in the remote villages and impoverished Kambasegala and Kisondela Wards of Tanzania. For example:

Estwida, a widowed mother of four, had no means to support her family or send her children to school. With a ‘starter’ flock of eight chickens, the family now has eggs and meat – and the children have shoes, workbooks, and uniforms, all they need to attend school.

At Africa Bridge, we believe in the human potential of these fragile communities, and in the human capacity to support those in need, even in a year defined by uncertainty and global crisis.

In this extraordinary time, Africa Bridge has continued to provide vulnerable children and families in with life-sustaining resources, including education about the novel Corona virus and COVID19 and HIV prevention. We do this because we are committed to improving the lives of Tanzania’s young people – in times of ease and times of crisis, our dedication is unwavering.

Why? Because we believe in empowering families to provide brighter futures for their children. Because sustainable social initiatives and co-operative, collaborative agricultural programs weave a stronger social fabric, even in communities challenged by poverty, isolation, and lack of access to robust health services and public education. Put simply, we help because we can – and because we must.

Your gifts go directly to enriching their lives, improving health and well-being, and nurturing their economic independence.

  1. A gift of $1000 means a cow and a bull for a dairy co-operative – giving families access to nutritious milk and rich crop-growing fertilizer, both sources of extra income.
  2. $250 sends five children to school for a year, providing tuition along with vital uniforms, workbooks, and shoes – often the only pair a child may own.
  3. $100 funds a full year of children’s club enrichment and education for 25 children.

In a time of crisis, it is easy to see what is broken and requires repair. At Africa Bridge, we see what is working – our relationships in Tanzania, in the communities we serve – and we challenge you, our supporters, to stand strong with us. We hope you will consider supporting our work in this difficult season; please visit our website to give as you are able or use the enclosed envelope to mail your gift.

Many thanks,

Sharon

Executive Director

Kisondela Ward Quarter 3 Report

Greetings!
Please enjoy the Kisondela Ward Quarter 3 Report.

Project Summary:
Direct population benefited:  1,346 children and 635 guardians.
6 Villages in Tanzania:  Ndubi, Bugoba, Lutete, Kibatata, Mpuga, Isuba
Project Duration:  2016 – March 2021

Forty-seven members of the Most Vulnerable Children’s Committee (MVCC) and seven Empowerment Facilitators (EF) conducted a mentoring visit with our Africa Bridge staff.  The Spider-web tool was used so that those in attendance could see how to record and access co-op activities for each quarter. Families are starting to see the benefits of the co-ops and they are excited to see the project progress this report format.  

Africa Bridge staff and the MVCC met with the Rungwe District Education Officer to conduct a follow-up on health education.  This follow-up was conducted in 8 schools (7 primary and 1 secondary).  All schools did engage in life skills, gender issues, sexual reproduction, HIV/AIDS and STD’s topics. 577 boys and 754 girls participated in the program.  Students have gained confidence in talking with their teachers about concerns they may have regarding their health. The number of pregnancy cases is dropping.
Specifically in the secondary school, the number of pregnancy cases was five in 2018 and is only one case in 2020.  

Children’s Club meetings were held again this quarter and children were very happy to be able to participate again now that the COVID-19 restrictions have been removed regarding gatherings. Children played football and number games and continued to learn about child abuse and how to report out if needed. 

MVC home visits included the following services:  cleanness advise, school and academic counseling, soap and petroleum jelly, financial support, health insurance card, school sweaters, exercise books and pens, clothes and food.  650 boys and 566 girls received these services. 

The cows in schools project was reviewed and evaluated on how to continue to improve.  Africa Bridge staff met with teachers, students and government leaders to evaluate the funds needed to provide minerals for the cows, appropriate roof for the cow shed and how to stock grass for the cow. 

Africa Bridge staff met with co-op leaders to discuss the importance of nest boxes.  Cleaning the nest box to prevent contamination of eggs and the importance of scheduled vaccinations were discussed. 

An inventory of the number of avocado trees was completed.  The number of trees alive is 3,726.  We were pleased to see that many of the farmers who had trees that died had already replanted trees.  Inputs/fertilizers were sprayed on all trees to increase fruit production. Next year, the government and MVCC leaders realize that they will need to purchase these inputs for the trees. 

Thirty-one members of the Ward Steering Committee met and shared insights on the status of the program.  Representatives from each village discussed the success and challenges this year due to not holding meetings due to COVID-19 prevention. 

To our This Is My Village members – Thank you for your support of this program over the years!  Please let me know if anyone has questions.  

Asante,
Sharon
Executive Director

Kambasegela Ward Report

Greetings!  
Please enjoy the Kambasegela Ward Quarter 3 Report.  

Project Summary:
Direct population benefited:  985 children plus 359 guardians
3 Villages in Tanzania:  Kambasegela, Mbambo, Katela
Project duration:  August 2017 – August 2022.

Twenty-seven members of the Most Vulnerable Children’s Committee (MVCC) and  six Empowerment Facilitators (EF) conducted a mentoring visit with our Africa Bridge staff.   The Spider-web tool was used so that they may learn how to record project results and access co-op activities each quarter. The Katela village is doing slightly better with the chicken projects than the other two villages. Now, the EF’s are sharing what they have done to have this increase in Katela. Everyone is happy to be back to attending monthly meetings after the shut-down due to COVID-19 prevention as required by the government. 

Chicken co-ops in Mbambo experienced more death of chickens than the other two villages.  The care of your chicken training was conducted again in the Mbambo village.  And, staff shared the importance of giving timely vaccinations to chickens is critical to the sustainability of the co-op.  All co-op members received additional instruction on proper management and disposal of vaccines. In the three villages, 1,668 chickens were inspected and 1,167 chickens were vaccinated. 

MVCC supervision follow-ups went very well this past quarter for all beneficiaries.  MVCC members emphasized project management and child care. 

The Ward Steering Committee meeting was well attended and held in the Kambasegela Ward office.  Twenty-nine people attended out of thirty-two expected attendees.  The MVCC and EF’s met with the new Kambasegela village leadership in July to explain the Africa Bridge program model. The importance of collecting data for reports was discussed in detail.  Africa Bridge staff worked closely with the village livestock officer to conduct chicken management training for all co-op members.  The academic progress of students was discussed and EF’s and MVCC will continue to track this work. The revised well-being survey was presented at the July meeting and completed over three days in September.  The next meeting will take place late in November. 

Children’s Club Quarterly meetings were conducted in each village. Out of 745 children, 217 girls attended and 196 boys attended the meeting. The children enjoyed storytelling, riddles and songs.  And, the typical football, netball, skipping ropes and number games.  A question and answer session was used to facilitate the awareness of child abuse and what to do.  Printed silhouettes were used during this session.

Africa Bridge staff and the Busokelo Council Education Officers met to conduct a two-day follow-up visit in all five schools – 3 primary schools and 2 secondary schools. Teachers and students spend one day each week to review health issues – life skills, sexual reproduction, and gender issues. Currently, 184 boys and 196 girls are in the program.  

286 households were visited this past quarter and the following services were provided:  Cleanness advise, academic counseling, soap and petroleum jelly, exercise books and pens, financial support and food.  

Thank you for your support and interest in our program!  Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Asante,
Sharon
Executive Director

Lwitiko’s Story Told by Barry Childs

12 years ago, I and 10 Africa Bridge donors first met Lwitiko Kadenge in village of Igembe, Tanzania. We sat on makeshift benches together with the villagers under a beautiful shade tree. After the formal introductory protocol, the village Chairman introduced us to one of the many orphans. It was Lwitiko. The Chairman then did something most unusual. He asked Lwitiko to present the formal village profile. Typically, this would be done by a village leader or an elder, not a child.

Lwitico at the time was a small, very thin 15-year-old boy, with a Primary School education.  Calmly he stood up and with great authority made the presentation. It was brilliant. It was so well, thought out, covering the essentials, yet short enough to maintain our attention.

Lwitiko, being an orphan was fortunate to have completed his Primary school education. However, his prospects of going to a good high school and perhaps gaining a college diploma were nonexistent. Despite the fact that Lwitiko excelled in school and the villagers considered him a genius, he could not conceive of ever leaving the village. Given the circumstances there was no way to further his education.

Through the generosity of donors like you, the lives of vulnerable children and their families in the 8 villages of Masoko were transformed. Lwitiko began to dream of a brighter future.

In the spring of 2014, he graduated from a high school for gifted children with distinctions in every subject. In October 2014 he started Medical School. This July 2019 I received an e-mail from Lwitiko describing what he had learned during a 3 month placement at Durham University Medical School….. in Great Britain. 

In November 2019 Lwitiko graduated as a doctor. His dream is to return to Igembe to practice.  Then in time start a community health initiative using the principles he has learned from Africa Bridge.

Lwitiko’s journey started as a most vulnerable orphan with no hope of escaping his fate…  to now he is living his dream.

At his inaugural address in 1992, Nelson Mandela said that we are all brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. We are all born to manifest the glory of God that is in each one of us. As we shine our light on others, we liberate them to share their talents and gifts.

I feel very fortunate that Africa Bridge has given me and many others the opportunity to shine our light on children like Lwitiko and to liberate them to be Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented and Fabulous.

Lwitiko will be joining us on Friday, October 23, 2020 for our annual Toast to Tanzania Event! Visit our Africa Bridge Website for event details.

Celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11

Barry Childs tells us Zinduna’s story

Zinduna lives in the small village of Mbeye. In 2003 both her parents died, leaving the four children orphaned. The village council proposed splitting the children up to live with close relatives.

Zinduna, who was 15 at the time and the eldest, objected to this idea. In order to keep the family together she became the head of the household caring for her brother and two younger sisters. She left primary school and started a small business selling fruit, vegetables, cooking oil and spices.

In 2005 she joined one of the early Africa Bridge co-ops. She says that “The experience of being a co-op member enabled me to increase the output of my land and to build a small shop for my business on the highway”. My vision was to help all my siblings to be well educated and to achieve their dreams”.

Despite the challenges of fluctuating costs of farm inputs, inclement weather and a robbery, Zinduna persisted and all the children, including Zinduna completed their education. She is now married with her own family.

With a little well aimed support it is remarkable what Zinduna has achieved. I am continually humbled by the actions of the children and adults in the villages where we work.

Love and Jacob & Garannetti

I first met Jacob and Garanetti Mwakakipesile from Bujesi village, Tanzania in 2008. Their four adult children had died, leaving the elderly couple to care for eleven grandchildren. On an income of approximately $1 a day, they had no hope of giving the family a good life. In the fall of 2008, the newly formed Bujesi MVC Committee (MVCC) nominated the family to be founder members of the new Bujesi cow coop. After 4 months of training, building a cow shelter and planting a pasture they received a 9-month-old heifer, and they named her “Tumaini,” which means hope.

Tumaini has transformed Jacob and Garanetti’s family. She has produced seven calves, thousands of gallons of milk and plenty of dung to fertilize their crops. Her first calf was donated to the cow coop, enabling another vulnerable family to increase their income, and her second calf was donated to the Most Vulnerable Children’s Committee. The sale of milk, calves and the increased yields of their crops, has raised their family income four-fold.

Today the grandchildren have a healthy diet and receive healthcare and a good education. The four eldest grandchildren have graduated from university, two granddaughters are in law school, and the remaining five children are in secondary school. In a country where very few can even aspire to go to a university, the achievements of the Mwakakipesile family are remarkable.

Asante Sana, Barry Childs, Founder

New Uniforms For Today For A Brighter Future Tomorrow!

When you or I walk into a dark room, we can flip a switch and there is light. If you lived in a village in rural Tanzania earning $1 to $3 a day, there is no switch, and few people even have electricity, nor can they afford kerosene for a lamp.

As our children grow up, we assume that they will go to school. In the villages we serve this is not so. School tuition is free; however, to attend school a child must have a school uniform, note books and a pair of shoes. Most of the families caring for vulnerable children cannot afford the $40 to $60 it takes to purchase uniforms, books, and necessary school supplies.

A few years ago, with big smiles on their faces, Orida Mwakaja and Gilbert Agray celebrated along with their classmates when a pickup truck loaded with boxes of new uniforms, crisp white shirts, apple-red sweaters and navy blue skirts for girls and shorts for boys, arrived at Kalalo Village primary school in southwestern Tanzania. The uniforms and other school supplies were a gift to the school’s Most Vulnerable Children made possible by donors from Africa Bridge.

Orida and Gilbert are proud — not just of their new uniforms, but of the education they are receiving. To realize their dreams, they study hard at school. Twelve-year-old Orida is in Standard 7, her last year of primary school. Although she is an orphan, Orida has big plans for her future. After completing primary school, she wants to attend secondary school for six years. Her hope is to continue her education at a university and become both a doctor and a businesswoman. “My favorite subject is math because it will help me to make a lot of money as a businesswoman,” Orida explains. When not studying or helping with home and farm chores, Orida enjoys running.

Eleven-year-old Gilbert is in Standard 6. His favorite subject is Swahili, Tanzania’s national language. Gilbert loves playing soccer, known as football in Tanzania,  and one day hopes to become an airline pilot.

Despite the new uniforms, Orida knows her school lacks some basic necessities. Orida explains,“My primary school’s seven classrooms need more desks, glass in the window frames to help keep out the cold in the winter, a toilet and, most importantly, more teachers,” Eight teachers are responsible for 427 students, with class sizes ranging from 53 to 80. Orida hopes her village will improve its schools because she believes education is important to improve the lives of villagers.

Africa Bridge creates agricultural co-ops in villages to promote self-sufficient agriculture that enables the villagers to improve their standard of living and provide a future for their vulnerable children, including orphaned children like Orida. Gilbert and Orida are proud of Kalalo Village’s increased emphasis on agriculture. The village grows maize, bananas, avocados, coffee and tea, in addition to raising cows. Gilbert relates: “I want Kalalo to be known for its agriculture.”

In a country that has seen its adult population significantly reduced by the spread of HIV/AIDS, resulting in large numbers of orphans and fewer resources, children such as Orida and Gilbert understand they must overcome many challenges if they are to succeed in school and obtain the education they desire.

However, students and families can see the positive changes already happening in their own village as the cow and avocado co-operatives started by Africa Bridge empower villagers to create economically sustainable businesses, grow more food and improve schools so that both the vulnerable children and families will all thrive.

Your gift of new uniforms helps children like Orida and Gilbert attend school today and gifts for the co-operatives will ensure they can continue to attend school in the future.

The Board of Africa Bridge challenges you to donate towards our school uniform drive and co-op programs. Between September 16 and October 31 2020, every dollar you donate will be matched by us. Your money will be doubled, therefore, sending hundreds of vulnerable children to school, while also investing in their future through improvements to the village co-operatives.

Many thanks for your consideration,

Barry Childs

Board Member and Africa Bridge Founder