We’re back!  Happy February and Happy New Year to all.

The start of our year is one of welcomes, celebrations and renewed connections.

Karibou, Faraja Students!

Back to campus means the eagerly anticipated Sports Day, a day of physical activities and games developed by Faraja staff to meet the children where they are. Everyone participates, regardless of their disability… and everyone’s a winner.

Students also continue to sharpen their tailoring skills. Below they are sewing the Shamba dresses—clothing to wear after school hours.

Celebrate!

Faraja Class 4 students aced their national examinations, scoring FIRST among 71 schools in the district.  Faraja continues its trajectory of excellence.

Congratulations and Hongera Sana!

Welcome Back, Johari! 

Alumni often stop by Faraja to say hello and catch up. Johari Iddy graduated in 2012 and today she is studying at the prominent Tengeru Institute in Arusha, where she will receive her Bachelor’s degree in community development.

Johari is in regular contact with many Faraja alumni through the Whatsapp community. She, along with other Faraja alums, are assisting us with compiling a directory of all our graduates.

And We Warmly Welcomed Visitors from Across the Ocean.

Faraja Fund Foundation’s newest board member, Jean Ellis, traveled from Boston to Tanzania with husband Tom—and adult children Thomas, Elizabeth and David—for a once-in-a-lifetime family experience. They hiked Kili, took in a safari and spent the day at Faraja School.

Jean brings a wealth of lived experience to the Faraja Fund Foundation, including a long career in health care and as a volunteer for nonprofits big and small. She served as Board President for both the American Cancer Society (Boston Chapter) and the Junior League of Boston. She was a Board member of the Arthritis Foundation of Massachusetts, as well as Senior Warden at her local Episcopal church. We are so excited to work with Jean to drive our mission forward!

Our second Faraja visitor, Becki Vaughn, an occupational therapist based in North Carolina, is a longtime friend of founders Don and Joann Tolmie. Becki visited Tanzania for the first time on a mission to climb Kilimanjaro and spend the day at Faraja School. “I was so impressed with the joyfulness of the children and how very much they are just like children everywhere: interested in playing and learning, and finding friends.”

Becki and Faraja School Director, Tumsifu Munuo | Becki and Faraja Students

We are Growing!

We are also thrilled to report that Faraja School welcomed 26 new students into its community.  In next month’s newsletter, we will begin to introduce these boys and girls.

Word of Faraja School and its miracles is being shared far and wide across Tanzania.  Desperate families journey hundreds of miles—often over days—to bring their children to Faraja in hopes of a better life. YOU, our generous and caring community of supporters, make this work possible.

We’d love for you to spread the word of Faraja, so that we can continue to recruit caring sponsors for these deserving students, and prepare them academically, physically and emotionally for a productive and healthy future. There is no feeling quite like it!

 

I wish everyone could see what I witnessed. Children as young as 5 or 6 learn to operate
independently. They wash their clothes and hang them to dry. Every bed is impeccably made and the children proudly display their belongings – perhaps a Beanie Baby, Berenstain Bears book and English language greeting card – on the pillow. When class ends, they willingly sweep and empty the trash. And they pitch in to help one another – if a child’s wheelchair gets stuck on uneven pavement, another child steps in seamlessly and helps them on their way.

“My time at Faraja was joyful, not discouraging. Without minimizing the very real challenges these children face, I feel like Faraja is a little corner of the kingdom of God.” Faraja sponsor Amy Pagliarella

 

Lastly, But So Important…

Thank you for your incredible support in 2023. We are so grateful!

As you may know, in 2022 the Foundation announced its $2.5M Campaign to ensure the long-term future of Faraja School and to help more children who are suffering in isolation. So many of our friends responded to the call and affirmed our mission. Together, we have made enormous progress, raising over $1.8M toward our goal!

We are not stopping, and we could not move forward without YOU.