"Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire."
Anatole France

February 2016

By Vinnie on 2-04-2016

Happy New Year to all!

Here’s what’s been happening in Arusha over the past few months…

Christmas

Blandina and Otto did a fantastic job of managing the pre-Christmas rush. Thanks to their careful work, it has been ensured that all the children have a safe place to stay during the holiday, with a few students spending the time with Blandina & Otto’s families. We are very grateful to them for offering their homes over this time.
Blandina also hosted an end of year meeting with parents and guardians to discuss their involvement, encouraging them to take an active part in their children’s success.

As Christmas approached, Blandina and Otto took great pleasure in distributing the Christmas packages to the children (and their families). This year’s gift packages consisted of 2kgs of rice, 2kgs of beans & 1kg of sugar, along with some clothes and a wristwatch

Holidays

Haradali School closed for holidays on the 28th November and re-opened again on the 4th January, with all the students attending on time on the first day back – what a great start! For most of the children the time has come for new uniforms. New stationary is another one of the exciting things about starting a new year.  Blandina and Otto enjoyed helping all the kids prepare for the first week back at school.

In Arusha:

As we head into the warmer and wetter months there is plenty happening in Arusha, not least the start of the school term in January.
From a pilot project which uses bees to reduce conflict between elephants and people, to the general election and subsequent launch of a nation-wide anti-corruption campaign , there is plenty going on.
The general election was held at the end of last year. In Arusha, election time can cause unrest and possibly violence. Thankfully, none of the ACE children were adversely affected and voting was a largely peaceful affair. However, our communications were disrupted and we were unable to get information to sponsors as quickly as hoped. We are thankful for your patience during this time.

Please rest assured all invoices will be sent out very soon. As usual, please do not hesitate to email if you have any questions about your student’s schooling and/or welfare.

A big Happy Birthday to Vanessa A, Jackson and Jessica E who all had birthdays this January.

All our love from the ACE Team and community!

 The Year Ahead

With school now resumed some children are starting to settle into their new routines. 5 students have moved to Shepherds Primary, and 5 more moved up into Shepherds Secondary School. We are looking forward to watching them succeed! Haradali also opened a secondary school this year for boarding students. We have one student attending and are looking forward to seeing how the new school progresses. All the best to the newly inaugurated Haradali Winners Secondary School!

There will no doubt be challenges ahead, one of which is rising costs on things like school supplies and needs, medical treatments, and the costs associated with teenage and puberty health and welfare needs. This has put some pressure on our 2016 budget. However, the schools have not raised fees this year which is a big help. We plan to cover the additional costs through general fundraising and one-off donations, rather than having to pass on any fee increases to sponsors for 2016.

One of the big health and welfare challenges for ACE children is the mental challenge of managing, healing, and overcoming the trauma that a lot of them have experienced in the past. As the students develop and mature, we are finding that counseling sessions for those with traumatic pasts are really helping them to regain confidence, trust, and self-belief.

We are lucky to have a qualified volunteer from Denmark offering skype counseling sessions to our school teachers in order to better equip them to deal with the issues that the children in their class face each day. We look forward to seeing this initiative develop further and anticipate positive effects for the lives of the teachers.

School Achievement

Blandina and Otto have been working hard, as usual, to ensure all ACE children’s welfare, safety, motivation and performance are leading them towards success.

Goal setting with Blandina was conducted at the start of the year.  Furthermore, one of the new initiatives has been group discussions held on Saturday’s with the students and staff of ACE, who work together in study groups to improve the children’s grades.

During our visit to Arusha last September, we identified those children who needed extra academic support, which has meant we have been able to work with each child accordingly to help improve their performance at school. We have also paired some of our higher achieving students with those that are struggling. This buddy system is a great show of teamwork and support within the student body, and has had a generally positive effect on academic achievement. In just 4 months we have noticed significant changes within the children that were struggling with motivation and/or academic performance.

Sponsorship

For the sponsors who would like to send letters, photos, and/or gifts to their students in Arusha, here are the best ways to communicate:
Scan/email letters and photos to maryduncan2@gmail.com and we will have them passed on to your sponsor child. We will send back photos of your child with the letters as well as a response.
For gifts, the most cost-effective and safest option is to let us know (maryduncan2@gmail.com) what you’d like to give and we will buy the gift in Arusha and personally deliver it to your sponsor child. This saves on postage costs, emissions, and avoids the risk of probable theft/loss of the package. Importantly, buying locally also contributes to small businesses and the local economy in Arusha. If there are specific gifts that you have purchased that you would like to send, please contact us and we can provide you with private postage details. Please be aware that this still doesn’t guarantee safe delivery, and there may be extra charges incurred for receiving the parcel in Arusha, however it is still safer than standard post. Often, the best gift sponsors can give is encouragement. Please send us your letters and words of encouragement by email, and we will ensure they are received.

Sponsor invoices are currently being issued, and prompt payment would be much appreciated as the first instalment of school fees is due.

Spotlight on: Blandina

 This month we wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about the person ‘behind the scenes’ who works the hardest to keep the ACE program ticking, and personally ensures the effectiveness of all the sponsorship funds and donations. That person is, of course, Blandina.

Blandina (31), her husband Tusime, and their daughter Kemmy live in Arusha. Blandina works full-time with ACE and her dedication is extraordinary. She works hard and tirelessly in often difficult and thankless conditions. Her ability to work in a high intensity environment, on her own, is extraordinary.

Blandina’s job description includes liaison with students and families to ensure school attendance, monitoring student behaviour and achievements, uniform requirements, responding to medical emergencies, purchasing and provision of all school supplies, boarding supplies, uniforms, text books, stationery, and sourcing and providing medicines such as worming tablets and vitamins. She also conducts Saturday sessions with students on goal setting, hygiene, sexual health, and family values, as well as regularly conducting family home visits to evaluate living circumstances, health and safety.
This task in particular is extremely challenging as many students live in locations that are difficult to access, particularly during the rainy season.

The challenges of working within inaccessible and remote locations, dealing with medical and emergency situations, and meeting the varied needs and demands of 67 different students means Blandina’s job is no walk in the park, and highlights just what an exceptional person she is.

Both Haradali and Shepherds administration have told ACE on several occasions that Blandina is an exceptional person in every way. The students really light up when she is around, and she continues to prove her worth not only as a valuable asset to ACE, but as a good, kind and smart person, a leader in her community.

Sponsorship needed!

Alpha Daudi: I am in Grade three at Haradali Primary. I need a sponsor to help me stay at boarding school because my parents have split up and I have nowhere safe to live. Sometime I don’t get enough food at home

Omega Daudi. I am in Grade five at Haradali Primary. Me and my sister Alpha need sponsors to help us go to boarding school. Our older siblings left Arusha, but I want to finish school.
Thank you!

A very special thank you goes out to the following donors for their recent contributions to the ACE programme:

– Jessica Ball, for her very generous contribution to the cost of new uniforms and Christmas packages as a gift to both her family and the ACE children.
Current Fundraising Projects

Full Medical insurance for all ACE students for 2015 (USD 8000 total)