Every year we look to further our mission of providing quality education, free healthcare, and economic opportunity to a community of 10,000 people. Within our catchment area, nearly two thirds of the population consists of children age 17 and below. With an average annual income of $300, many community members rely on seasonal coffee picking, which pays less than $2 per day. Unfortunately, the coffee picking season is short, lasting only 6 weeks. Any money earned picking coffee is allocated to house improvements, food, water, and other basic necessities. Materials such as shoes and clothes are in high demand but can’t be prioritized for most families in the Oldeani Ward. For children who walk 2 to 3 hours each day to attend Gyetighi Primary School (GPS), shoes can become a barrier to receiving an education.
In 2007, we began our partnership with the Tanzanian government to manage GPS. On the outside, the dire state of the school was visible – infrastructure was crumbling. On the inside, the standard of education was failing. Since beginning this partnership, the National Exam pass rate for Standard 7 has jumped from 30% to 98%. We are seeing students succeed and advance to levels they never thought possible. In a community where only 25% of members are employed full-time, receiving an education is essential to breaking free from a cycle of generational poverty. While TCF works to provide a strong network of teachers, teaching aids, daily meals, and supplies, there are personal needs such as clothes and shoes that families continue to struggle to deliver.
On a sunny summer morning at the end of August, our team of volunteers, TCF staff, and long-time supporters carried 70+ boxes of shoes to GPS. Laughter filled the hallways as curious faces appeared in classroom windows, eyes widening with wonder. After each foot was measured and a pair of new shoes delivered, we collected hundreds of old shoes – hanging on by a final thread. Through the help of our loyal supporters and the generosity of an organization known as Soles4Souls, we were able to provide over 500 children at GPS and our RVCV Daycare Program with a new pair of shoes. The impact is seen in both the time it now takes children to travel to school with a durable pair of shoes and the health problems prevented. Asante Sana to all of the special people who made this event so successful!