Jambo, Dear Friends!

Board Chair Dave Tolmie and Executive Director Jeryl Levin have just returned from Faraja School, and we’re so excited to share our updates.

First, the Spring rains. We were lucky that the considerable downpours happened mainly in the evening in Kilimanjaro, as you have probably read that many people around the country and in Kenya have been impacted. Everyone at Faraja is fine and the children are thriving, as you will see in this update. 

Although never in peril, our daily path to the school involved crossing more than a few “lakes” in the road—deep pockets of water and submerged cornfields.

On our visit, Faraja School was buzzing with visitors from Arusha and the nearby town of Sanja Juu. Hundreds came to volunteer, including doctors and nurses. They made lunch for the students, took to the playground and basketball court, read books, danced and sang. The weather cooperated and it was a grand day for everyone.

A HUGE Thank You to all Faraja Sponsors. Your student letters were delivered and the students could not wait to read them and write you back. Watch your mail in the next month for a special message. 

Receiving and writing sponsor letters


Faraja’s new kindergarten class is now settling in and we need sponsors!  As of this writing, 12 new sponsors have stepped up and we couldn’t be more grateful. Is sponsorship of a Faraja student in your future? Your partnership with Faraja is truly priceless, and the return is pure love and watching a child succeed against all odds. Consider a Family Sponsorship—many of our sponsors make it a family affair. Several “gift” a sponsorship to their children or grandchildren. Email us and we’ll share how you can transform a child’s life! 

Many of our new students need sponsors. Is that possibly you?

On campus, we were also thrilled to welcome a group of Faraja alumni, including our resident “documentarian,” Emmanuel Makala, who is helping us to tell the Faraja story far and wide.  Emmanuel graduated Faraja in 2012 and is now graduating university in Dar es Salaam with a degree in social work. Emmanuel has created a What’sApp group to keep us connected to alumni across the country. 

Emmanuel Makala (above) and Faraja’s Alumni Ambassador Council. Recognize anyone? 

About an hour from the Faraja campus sits Patandi Secondary School. Patandi is the first inclusive secondary school to be built in Tanzania with supportive infrastructure and equipment for able-bodied and disabled students, and is attended by many Faraja graduates. We spent hours catching up with our former students and head schoolmistress, Janeth Molell. Patandi is one of our 11 partners in the Faraja Forward program. 


The students at Patandi recall every detail of their Faraja experience, including expressing their love to Bibi and Babu (Joann and Don Tolmie) and to all the “people in America.” They shared memories and told us that “Faraja was our paradise.” 

As you may know, Faraja Forward is a new initiative of the Faraja Fund Foundation, which makes it possible to change the harsh reality that defines the lives of children with disabilities who, through no fault of their own, live at the margins of society. Many have never seen a doctor or stepped foot in a school.  They are hidden away. 


Working with and through the dedicated partners of Faraja Forward and with donor support, we are changing that reality. At our partner planning retreat, we spent the day advancing solutions that lead to better lives for children with disabilities. 


Our trip to Tanzania was a great success. Of course, the beautiful love, smiles and achievements of the Faraja students are never forgotten and that’s what keeps us all going. A resounding “thumbs up” to all of you who make this work possible!


A wise person said that you can’t leave Kili until you see the summit.

We will be back soon and perhaps next time you will join us? 

Thank you for your partnership with Faraja and for transforming the lives of these precious children!


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Disability is NOT Inability!