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Erasto Introduces Himself as Scholarship Director

8 May

By Erasto Kyando

Tell us a little about yourself- where are you from, what do you do in your spare time/what are your hobbies?

My name is Erasto Felix Kyando, Kinga by tribe, born in July 27, 1986 the second born in a family of three children. I was born in Tanga, the northeastern part of Tanzania and later in 1999 my parents shifted to Mbeya, the southern highland part of Tanzania where they currently live. During my spare time I enjoy reading books and watching movies. My hobbies are traveling, teaching, landscaping and designing gardens because I am a lover of beauty and nature. Furthermore I enjoy photography so much.

How did you first learn about TFFT?

I first learned about TFFT through the vacancy ad on the Arusha Times Newspaper and later further on the TFFT’s website.

What about TFFT’s mission inspires you?

I was very much inspired by TFFT’s mission and the fact that TFFT deals with the less privileged kids, especially orphans. I am very much aware of the challenges these kids face and how their future is at risk. Furthermore, I believe that most of these kids are talented but lacking someone who can inspire them and help them to explore what they have and use them for the good of the entire society.

What attracted you to the position as Scholarship Director?
  • I am passionate about working with children and youth
  • I believe working for the organization would help me grow in this vocation of working with marginalized children
  • I want to share the experiences and skills I have with the kids and youth and contribute to TFFT’s mission
  • It has always been my dream to work directly with the society and have a direct impact on it

Going to the TFFT office for my interview and meeting the staff and the time I was afforded by Fratern during the process to meet the kids in school also deepened my desire to be a part of the group. I am happy to be given the chance to work with TFFT.

What previous life experiences do you believe have prepared you for your role as Scholarship Director?

In primary school I was the Head Prefect, after finishing my secondary education I joined the Tanzania Youth Ministries, a Tanzanian-based Christian organization which strive to “change the lives of the youth so that they in turn change the world.” During all the time I have been involved in this organization I served in different leadership positions including Hai District Chairperson, Kilimanjaro Region Vice Chairperson, Mvomero District Secretary, and “Outreach Program Coordinator” for three years in which I was involved in preaching and teaching the Word, organizing various outreach missions, conducting various fundraising activities as well as coaching and mentoring youths and young professionals within and outside the University.

In the University Students Body, I also served as Deputy Minister for Affiliation and Internal Affairs, responsible for general maintenance of peace and harmony within the University. After graduation from college I worked as a Secondary School Teacher and among my duties were:

  • Teaching and facilitating students in the class.
  • Maintaining and monitoring student’s social, psychological and cognitive development
  • Guiding and Counseling students on different educational and non educational matters
  • Coordinating, inspiring and motivating students to discover and use their talents and potentialities.
  • An overseer of the  daily activities taking place in the class.

Therefore,the above information are part of my experiences which will be very applicable in my position as a Scholarship Program Director.

What are your goals for the year?

  • To identify the kids who struggle with their studies and develop a collective strategy together with partner school teachers for helping them
  • Timely visitation and maintenance of close communication with foster families and partner orphanages in order to identify kids’ social and emotional needs during the period they stay at these places
  • Monitor children’s health by checking in with the schools nurses, responding to their health needs immediately and take them to the hospital whenever they require doctor’s attention
  • Developing a model to identify and promote TFFT scholarship children’s talents and potentials by involving them in different activities that will expose their talents
  • Monitoring and adhering to a detailed budget for the supply of the children’s needs and items in a cost effective way
  • Maintaining a sound relationship with partner schools by handling any TFFT-partner school matters with great care and consideration
  • Conducting research to discover new private boarding schools for future partnership with TFFT

What life skills will you prioritize for cultivating our students?

  • Public speaking skills
  • Leadership skills by encouraging those who have leadership abilities to contest for student government posts
  • Self-reliance skills by holding them accountable for their personal properties, other students’ and public properties
  • Instilling a sense of self-confidence, healthy self image as well as self-discipline such as time management skills

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I believe in positivity and possibility and so whenever a conducive environment and positive inspiration are provided for somebody to learn, one can grow to no limit and do wonders. Therefore I would really appreciate your cooperation in working as a team so that together we can create this conducive environment for these kids to grow. I am looking forward to be the best I can and learn much from the TFFT team. Asante sana.

****

Thank you, Erasto!! We are confident in your ability to positively shape and guide our scholarship kids to help them each believe in themselves and life’s endless possibilities.

Annual Fund Update: We have almost raised $13,000 for the Annual Fund… $3,250 so far this week! We need to raise another $37,000 to reach our matching challenge of $50,000. You can make your 2012 contribution here.

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Erasto Kyando, TFFT’s New Scholarship Director

7 May

Erasto Kyando

 

Today we introduce you to another new addition to the TFFT Team. A few months ago we had to say goodbye to Josh Nassari as Scholarship Director. Josh left to pursue his dream of a career in politics, and we watched with pride as he won his first election last month. Since Josh left, we have been in search of someone to fill his shoes. Of course filling the position was top priority, but our standards are quite high, and we were waiting for a perfect fit. In the interim Fratern, Melissa, Hedwiga, and Daniel each took on extra work and stayed busy around the clock to make sure TFFT didn’t skip a beat in the absence of a Scholarship Director.

It is the Scholarship Director who oversees all of the children, charts the kids’ progress, and intervenes wherever there is a concern. Think it’s hard to keep track of your kids’ shoe sizes? Our Scholarship Director has 82 kids to keep straight–that’s 164 feet and 820 toes to protect!! Imagine having 82 report cards to review and teacher conferences to attend! The Scholarship Director is also the liaison between the sponsors and their scholarship students. Delivering notes and packages to the students and mailing out progress reports and letters from the students to the sponsors is also a time consuming part of the job.

Needless to say, the job is not an easy one, and finding the right person resembles looking for a needle in a haystack, but our patience paid off. We found just the person for the role, and Erasto Kyando is shining as the new Scholarship Director. On April 29th all the kids went back to school after their month long break between terms. At the time, Erasto had not even officially begun the job, yet he enthusiastically showed up to help the team transport the kids back to school. Coordinating foster home pickups for 82 children is no simple task, and Erasto rose to the occasion without hesitation. We are so lucky to have him. He fits right in with the team; our kids love him already; Meghann and I are eager to join the rest of the Team in Tanzania in June.

 

Erasto with a group of TFFT scholars

 

Tomorrow you will hear from Erasto himself!

Busy Wednesday + a Video

28 Mar

Hello! Today is a busy day for us in Charlotte. We have a meeting at 9am with two very talented individuals (with enormous hearts) who are going to make big things happen for TFFT. One is in New Zealand. One is in Texas. We’re meeting on Google+ to begin a collaboration that has us bursting with excitement. We cannot wait to share the details with you as soon as we’re able!

We are also looking forward to the women’s luncheon we are hosting at The Foundation For The Carolinas this afternoon. We plan to show this video clip, and we thought we should share it with you here as well!

 

Then we’ll end the day at Navigating the Future, Wake Forest University’s Symposium for Nonprofit Organizations. Should be a very interesting day… we’ll be sure to report back. We hope your Wednesday is filled with inspiration!

My First Flight

21 Mar

By Irene Peter, TFFT scholarship student

My name is Irene Peter. I am a Form 3 student at Usa River Academy and one of the scholars of The Foundation for Tomorrow. My best subjects are Physics, Chemistry, English, Geography and Mathematics. My ambition is to become an international pilot.

It was around 6:15am of 6th March, 2012 when Hedwiga came at school to pick me up. It was raining. She took me to the TFFT Office where we met Meghann who took me to Arusha Airport. There we met George Mavroudis who had just arrived. Meghann took some pictures of me at the airport. When George went to check on the plane I took my time looking at some stores selling cultural products around the place.

Thereafter, Meghann came and told me to check in.  I was surprised when during check in I was asked to remove everything made of metal that I was wearing and kept them in a place where I could get them after checking in. When I pass through the door the alarm sounded so I had to go back and remove my watch then it was ok.

After checking in, Meghann took some pictures of me as I was on the way to the plane. She also took pictures of me with George. Then George introduced me to the pilot. His name is Jack.

After introductions I boarded the plane. I was given the seat for the co-pilot! I was handed my earphones and once seated, Jack started to give me instructions. He told me to fasten my seatbelt and to get ready for the takeoff. The whole time Meghann was taking more pictures of me. Then it was time to say goodbye to her. We were about to take off! I was so excited but I was nervous as well.

Before the plane took off Jack switched on the radios and started the engine. Jack started communicating with the tower control and gave them some information about our departure. As a co-pilot, I was hearing all the conversation through my earphones.

When the plane started to lift off the ground, I had to concentrate on what Jack was doing to stop myself from feeling scared. When I looked through the window and saw that we were actually floating on air, a crazy thought came to mind: what if we fall down? I tried to shake it off and think positive thoughts instead and focus on this wonderful opportunity that I was given. Nothing bad will happen. My fear vanished.

While we were flying, Jack had conversations with many tower controls. But after that, he switched off and he started conversing with me. He pointed to me some of the instruments in the plane and explained their functions. I cannot remember the name of all the instruments but I assure you I remember their functions.

When we were about to land I noticed one of the instruments that Jack showed me which shows the distance of the plane from the ground, the number was decreasing fast then slowed down as the plane decreased the speed of sloping down.

Landing the aircraft was not as scary as taking off. After landing we waited for minutes for some passengers to board for. As we were waiting for the passengers I asked them about the function of a locker in the plane. What I understood from George’s and Jack’s explanation was that it is an air filter.

With all the passengers ready, we took off again and flew over Manyara National Park and Lake Manyara. This time around, I let myself enjoy the view and not concentrate much on what Jack was doing. This is my first time to see these places and what a first—to see them from the sky! I took everything in and it was if my heart would burst. I saw the clouds and rivers and lakes and tributaries and rocks!

This was a wonderful gift from George Mavroudis and I will thank God everyday for this opportunity. God willing, this is a memory I would happily narrate to my grandchildren. Thank you, George, for fulfilling part of my goals and dreams. And thank you TFFT for making it all happen for me. Thank you very much!

I am Vaileth, Future Accountant!

12 Mar


By Vaileth, TFFT Scholarship Student

I am Vaileth Pallangyo, 18 years old, from Nkoaranga village.  I received my primary school education at Nkoaranga and after passing the class 7 national exam I was selected to attend Nshupu Secondary School. I stayed at Nshupu until Form 2 then shifted to Usa River Academy with the help of The Foundation For Tomorrow. I started Form 1 again in 2008 and finished O level in 2011. Graduating from secondary school is one of the happiest moments of my life.

I spend my free time reading novels and poetry because my English teacher at URA once told me that if I want to improve my English speaking skills I need to be friends with books. I believed him and I want to think I am improving. Some of my favorite stories include “Three Suitors, One Husband,” “This Time Tomorrow,” “Song of Lawino,” “Pass Like a Shadow,” and “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind” which I read during the Christmas break last year with the rest of the TFFT secondary kids.

Aside from reading, I also love playing netball and chatting with friends. At home I also do domestic or household chores like cooking, washing clothes, chopping firewood, and cleaning the house.

Bookkeeping is my favorite subject in school. Some students dislike it but I find balancing books challenging. Trial balance, balance sheet, control account and joint venture account, three-column cashbook—these are just some of the terms I learned from my bookkeeping class. It is not easy but I think bookkeeping also develops one’s attention to details. And because bookkeeping is my favorite subject, would you be surprised if I say I hope to become an accountant someday? I would run my own company after gaining enough experience working in other companies. I believe this is possible. I can make this happen. My elders at TFFT always tell me I can do it.

The Foundation for Tomorrow supported me a lot not just in school but also in life skills. After finishing my O level, they gave me, Ombeni, and Isaac (the other two TFFT scholars who finished O level with me) the opportunity to study Computer. While doing this, we were also matched to partner organizations for our internship. My first internship was with Nkoaranga Orphanage. From my computer class, I proceed to the orphanage to help with the children. I played with them, assisted in feeding them as well as cleaning them up.

After finishing my Computer course, I was assigned to work as an intern at TFFT. At TFFT, I help with typing some documents, filing, and also working in the Full Circle Room at URA. I make sure that the room is tidy and neat. I decorated the room and arranged the books in our new bookshelf. I feel happy with the improvement in the room. Maybe this is what you call feeling of fulfillment? It looks more attractive now, a good place to learn. I am enjoying my internship at TFFT. The staff members are like my family, my elder brothers and sisters. We laugh a lot but also they make sure I do my work seriously. I also know that my internship is meant to teach me work skills and a way for them to keep me busy and avoid temptation to play around.  But I promised them I will be serious in my studies and stay focused on reaching my dream to be an accountant.

Thank you, Vaileth!! As always, leave your thoughts/words of encouragement for Vaileth below. We hope your week is off to a good start. We’ll be back later this week with the post on Meghann’s trip and the strategic planning sessions. Lots of good stuff coming your way!

In order for you to more fully understand her story, here is a brief overview of the Tanzanian school system. In Tanzania, after seven years of primary education (similar to elementary and middle school in the U.S.), the students proceed to secondary school, which is broken into four years of O Levels and then either A Levels, Certificate Level, or Vocational Training. After the first four years of secondary school (O Levels), the students take the O Level Exams. The exam scores  determine what the next step will be (A Levels, Certificate Level, or Vocational Training). Much of what Vaileth shares below explains what she did during the four-month break waiting for the O Level Exam results. Daniel Stephen, Program Coordinator for TFFT’s After School Tuition Program, interviewed Valieth for this post.

Meet Rosemary

8 Mar

In honor of National Women’s Day we would like to celebrate all the young women in our Scholarship Program who inspire us every day. In doing so, we’re pleased to introduce to you to Rosemary, one of the students who worked with Adam on the Narrative Project.

My name is Rosemary, I am eleven years old and I am in Standard Five. My favorite subject in school is English and I really love to sing choir songs. My best friends are Joyce, Onisa, Ashura and Janeth. The thing I love most about myself is my self-esteem and that I am really funny. I am also good at drawing. In addition to singing I also love acting, and always enjoy doing things with my friends.

I came from a region in Tanzania called Palesika. Both of my parents are deceased. I never had the opportunity to see them because they died when I was very young. I don’t have any brothers or sisters. I was raised in Nkoaranga Orphanage and life was good growing up there because Mama Pendo was the one who took care of me. When I was very young my dream was to be a doctor. I knew it was impossible to achieve my goals and dreams at this time though, I needed to get an education first.

The saddest moment in my life was when I realized that I don’t have parents, not even one. I felt really lonely. I thought my life would always be bad. I gained hope that my life could be good later when I joined The Foundation for Tomorrow.

I joined The Foundation for Tomorrow in 2007 after coming from Nkoaranga Orphanage. TFFT gave me a good life. TFFT gave me education. I will use this education in a good way so as to keep moving forward in my life. My goal is to continue studying until the end in order to get a good job. Yes, if God is on my side I will achieve my dream.

You can leave a note for Rosemary or any of our sweet girls in the comments below. If you’d like, you can read Sophia’s narrative here, and please remember our discussion on the truths revealed through writing here. We are so proud of all our young girls and the confident, compassionate, talented women we are watching them become!

*Photographs by the wonderful Anne Rhett

TFFT Kiddos Continue To Shine

8 Feb

Written by: Josh Nassari, TFFT Scholarship Director

Mambo!!

On Friday February 3, 2012 was a big day at Usa River Academy. It was actually a different Friday. Normally if you step in this school at around 10 a.m. students and teachers will all be in their respective classrooms proceeding with studies, but this was definitely a different one. Even if you hadn’t been to this school before you could tell that something was going on. When we walked into the school compound we were given a sign that we should go directly to the dining/conference hall. The kids were all dressed nicely, the conference hall was well arranged, students were seated according to their grades, and no body was in the staff room.

As we walked into the conference hall, everyone was standing up attentively singing the National anthem and of course the school anthem. Usa River Academy had organized the day to reward the best performers in the last year’s National Exams. These were 2011 Class Four Students, 2011 Class Seven (primary school graduates) as well as 2011 From Two Students.

TFFT was well represented amongst the best performers. There was a total of twelve kids who were mentioned to receive awards, and four (a third) of them were TFFT kids. It’s very encouraging to see an amazing performance from children who were very disadvantaged, children with poor educational backgrounds, and children who have gone through so much in the past. Really, I experience the difference TFFT makes to its scholarship children every day.

Joyce Elipokea received an award as a second student in her classroom in the Class Four National exams.

The Beautiful Joyce

Salvatory Seth positioned as the first student in the class Seven National Exam.

Salvatory with Fratern (our Managing Director) at Graduation in September

Ombeni Elisante was the most improving student in the Class Seven National Examination

Sweet Ombeni

Richard Augustino positioned the first student in the Form Two National Exam.

Mr. Richard Augustino!

They all received certificates from the School Management and handled to them by the Usa River Academy Director in hand with TFFT Director. The Class three students (Age 7-9) were well equipped to entertain the crowd with songs written and performed in French language.

Apart from the above students, Irene Peter emerged as the first girl in the Form Two National Exam. She also positioned the 5th student entirely and she was also the First in English as she scored 90% (A+ according to Tanzania grading system). “There are only four boys ahead of me, and next time there will be no body ahead of me”. This is what Irene keeps telling us, and we are very confident that she could definitely make her dreams come true.

Irene, right, with Nicemary (TFFT Scholar) and Melissa (Teacher Training Director)

Overall TFFT students did pretty well and we are so proud of them.

Go TFFT Go!!!!