Monthly Archives: April 2019
By India Howell, Founder
Thanks to the recent leadership transition, I have more time (and energy) to spend late afternoons cooking, allowing me to launch the Mama India Dinner Party Series. A fun new twist on spending the evenings with my kids and it is so much fun! Yes, I have always eaten dinner with the kids living in my house, but now that most of these kids are away at college, I have more room around the table and am able to invite different age groups over from various houses for dinner a few times each week.
Growing up in a family where meal time was sacred, few things feel more like “family” than the simple act of sitting down and sharing a home cooked meal together. However, now I realize why my parents made eating together such a priority — it is amazing how much you can glean about where a kid is “at” over dinner. I am able to share special moments with my kids where they really open up and reveal all kinds of hopes, dreams and worries.
Early in my new Mama India Dinner Party Series, I learned that Geriki and Neema Safari had decided to run for Class President at Oldeani Secondary School. Next time they came to dinner, they had both won. Yes, this meant cookies with Nutella for desert to celebrate! I also discovered that the Chemistry teacher at Oldeani Secondary is a super-star who loves teaching so much that ALL of my kids now love Chemistry. And who knew that Sharifa was trying out being a vegetarian? Or that Helena had left the shy teenage girl years behind and has since become a great conversationalist? However, perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that if there is enough cheese acting as a disguise, I can get my kids of all ages to eat any kind of vegetable!
And now I must brag a bit. Without exception, after every one of these dinners all of the kids jump up to help do the dishes. Granted a few seem to have named themselves in charge of entertainment during this process rather than drying duty! We put on the music and gab, laugh and sing through the chore that ultimately does not seem like a chore at all because it is actually fun! After 15 years of barely boiling water, the idea of cooking for large groups of kids seemed daunting. But remembering that hungry teenagers will eat just about anything, combined now with the amazing memories I have already built with my kids during the Mama India Dinner Party Series, I can’t wait to have them all around the table again.
By Peter Leon Mmassy, Founder & Executive Director
As an organization, the Tanzanian Children’s Fund is dedicated to working alongside our local community to create a brighter future for the families who call it home. In doing so, we work closely with local leadership and government officials to establish the support we need to ensure that the change we create is sustainable and inclusive.
At the Rift Valley Children’s Village (RVCV), we recently welcomed 35 District Officials from the local government for a site visit. Located 45 minutes down a dusty-dirt road, it isn’t often that people stop by for a visit, so many hadn’t seen our campus in years. After I finished touring our community and showing the progress we have made at RVCV and our partner schools, these leaders were left speechless. In awe of the change we have made and more eager than ever to work with us and support our mission.
Their visit reminded me that our partners near and far are who make our work possible. Whether it be a government official who helps ensure we have the staff we need at our schools, or a sponsor who provides the support that allows our children to follow their dreams, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you.
Asante sana (thank you) for your unwavering generosity that makes our work possible. I hope you enjoy learning more about just some of the progress you have helped us achieve.
By Elissa Zirinsky,
These are the women we all admire endlessly. They are the beating, joyful heart of the Rift Valley Children’s Village – 20 women who give everything to care for 97 children.
When I think about the model for the Children’s Village – small family units of children growing up in safe and supportive homes – I know that it all comes down to these extraordinary women. As House Mamas, they provide the unconditional love and comfort that all children need in order to grow into confident and healthy adults.
Most of these women have been with the kids since they arrived at the Children’s Village, and have built everlasting relationships with the children they helped raise. We see it everyday in the countless small gestures of love: Bobo resting his head on Mama Renee’s lap while they sit together on the front veranda; a whole house of children sprinting across the field to hug Mama Meti as she returns from her off-days; or a college kid sneaking back over to his original home for dinner with his favorite mama.
For Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate these fierce, nurturing, and strong women. These are the women holding up not only our village but also the greater community beyond our gates. These are the women who make our world run!
JOIN US IN RAISING $25,000 IN HONOR OF OUR MAMAS. EVERY DOLLAR GIVEN WILL BE MATCHED—ALLOWING YOU TO DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT!
To contribute, please visit: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/celebrateallmamas
For 15 years, Tanzanian Children’s Fund has been committed to providing free and quality healthcare to our community of 10,000. While treating over 120 patients each week at our Rural Community Health Clinic, our health team began to notice a pattern: patients were returning with the same preventable illnesses week after week. This fueled our decision to launch a Public Health Program and has motivated newly appointed Director of Public Health, Sheyanga Beecher, to create an action plan for community wellness.
Since launching this exciting new program in January, we have implemented a series of public health initiatives to assist women, children, and other vulnerable populations within the Oldeani community. In Tanzania, physicians record height, weight, and administer vaccines to infants, but they do not provide mothers with any guidance on what they can do to support their newborn or what they should expect as their babies grow and develop.
Our new Mama ni Mimi (Mama and Me) class seeks to fill that gap by educating mothers on topics such as proper nutrition, sleep cycles, and the importance of play in a child’s development. The class has created a new community where all mothers can feel empowered and prepared. “The more seasoned mothers offer advice to first time mothers, and all mothers are encouraged to share their experiences of joy, stress, and concern with the group,” Sheyanga explained.
Sheyanga and our on-site Registered Nurse, Katie Anderson, have also added comprehensive health classes to the Gyetighi Primary School curriculum.
Students are taught topics ranging from proper hygiene to basic first-aid to ensure a holistic education and continued success. Whether it be introducing a new song that teaches students how to properly wash their hands or offering essential life-skills to help guide their development, we are providing all of our students with the knowledge they need to achieve a bright and healthy future.
With a variety of other dynamic initiatives underway, including nutrition support and disease prevention seminars, our Public Health Program is already making major strides in addressing common health issues before they become medical emergencies. Action that allows children and families to access the opportunities they deserve!
March 18, 2019 is a date that will forever be remembered. Well, maybe only for all children under 8 at the Rift Valley Children’s Village, as it marks the date that we opened our new playground!
A fun new playground is sure to bring excitement to any group of toddlers, but our new playground had an impact that stemmed far beyond the sheer joy it created. It worked to further unite the 30 children participating in our Daycare Program.
Whether they are in preschool or toddler time; new to the program or have grown-up spending their days with us, the playground has opened their eyes to new adventures they can all share together. Turning these joyful children into pirate ship captains, rock-wall mountain climbers, and see-saw kangaroos!
So if it is a day that further bonds our happy children, we are ready to make it an official RVCV holiday!