Introducing the Royal Make A Difference Library and Tech Center
Years ago, Elizabeth Ndjike, the headmaster of the Royal School in the village of Njia Panda in Tanzania, Africa, envisioned establishing a school where orphaned and vulnerable children would go to school and feel like royalty. She started teaching a handful of children from her home, and now has both a primary and secondary school which serves 500 students.
Theresa Grant, the founder of Make A Difference (MAD) liked Njikes school so much, that she and her partners decided to send 22 children from their orphanage to her school. However, Grant eventually came to realize that the school could benefit with a few more resources. Just like most schools in Tanzania, there was no library, technology center nor playground. The children played football (soccer) on a dirt field, but Grant hoped for them to know what a swing and slide were as well as to have books and computers to use. For most children in Grant’s home county, the United States, libraries, technology and playgrounds are quite common. Yet, in Tanzania they are a true luxury.
Soon Grant set out with a goal to build a library that would not only serve children at Elizabeth’s school, but up to 50,000 people in the surrounding Kilimanjaro area. The money slowly came in, but Grant decided this should not just be a foreign project. She convinced Elizabeth and the community to match every dollar that was contributed so that everyone would have ownership in the projects.
Below you can see the land and the first stage of building.
Today, MAD and the Royal School have not only built a library, they’ve built a technology center, and science lab all out of matching community funds. They are also just about to finish the school’s first ever basketball court.
The projects are going well, but they still need help with buying furniture and books. Please contact MAD at: info@MakeADifferenceNow.org to get involved in this community effort to make a difference.
Six More Make A Difference Students Graduate in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
MAD just had six more students graduate from primary school on to secondary school. The graduates were: Upendo, Gift, Christopher, Juma, Eliona and Joseph! For their graduation present we took them all on a walk into #Kenya (just near the border of Tanzania and our orphanage). It was an exciting day, as it was the first time the students had ever left their home country of Tanzania.
Upendo received an award certificate for best in running races, and Juma got an award certificate for best soccer player!
We couldn’t have any more pride. These children work hard and they’re very talented!
Applicants Rewarded $800 off Trip to Kilimanjaro
Everyone who applied for our trip to Kilimanjaro won $800 off their program fee.
Seven days of accommodation
All meals prepared by local chef
Driver and daily transport
Swahili class and orientation to culture
Open to anyone regardless of nationality or country
Must be at least 18 years-old
Strong desire to make a difference
Willingness and ability to transfer skill set to locals is essential
Applications will be accepted starting August 1st until August 25th 2014
Winner will be chosen on September 1st
Notification of award winner will be on September 2nd 2014
Applying is easy! In order to apply, send one paragraph (no more than 300 words) on how you think you can make a difference in Tanzania, Africa to info@MakeADifferenceNow.org by August 25th.
Priority will be placed on applicants who have a working knowledge or expertise in a certain field which the winner can train and pass on to locals within one week of his or her stay. We’re hoping to get applicants from carpenters and plumbers to film makers, strategic planners, Website designers to fundraisers.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a background in Website programming. We want you to first see how our organization operates and gives back in Tanzania and then we want you to train a team member on how to improve a process. Perhaps you do a workshop to teach our local Web designer how to make our Website more user-friendly for our volunteers and donors.
Identify a problem that you think you can help us with and then enable a local to continue on helping us after you leave. We know you’ve got the talent. Now tell us about it!
Available travel dates are October 5th to November 5th 2014 and March 10th – May 10th 2015 and November 5th to December 5th 2015
Make sure you check out our Website so you understand our mission and how you can better help us accomplish it! http://www.gomadnow.org
Revo and Deo were two of a few select students who received the chance to meet up with the International Director of Admissions at Harvard, Dr. Robin Worth today!
They learned all about the admissions process and what it takes to be a student at Harvard. The Director also asked them to talk about their favorite books. Revo and Deo both discussed how they were working on publishing their own books but also like ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Girl Gone Missing’.
May 6th 2014
Revo and Deo have been having Skype calls with Tamam Waritu. Tamam is a Harvard graduate from Africa. He has been coaching students and helping them prepare for college. MAD’s director, Theresa Grant found Tamam online and asked him if he would be willing to help Revo and Deo. He normally charges a fee, but because he was so impressed with the two students academic performance, leadership skills and drive, he has been waiving costs. We greatly appreciate his help! Thank you, Tamam!
Read more about Tamam here: http://www.tamamspeaks.com
Trip to Tanga
On Saturday April 26, 2014, we went on a trip with Mama Theresa. Six people (Mama Theresa, Courtney, Kunda, Omega, Christina & myself) went for three days. Our trip was enjoyable and amazing. The aim of the trip was to look for Advance Level schools and visit Subira and Jackie at Mother Theresa Secondary School; we also went to Pangani and Lushoto to learn different things. We visited several schools such as:
-Tanga Technical Secondary School: This is a government school and is among the best schools in Tanzania that are doing very well. The school offers science to students only and is for both girls and boys. Most of Tanzanian leaders have passed through this school, which provides the best education to the public.
-St. Christina Secondary School: The school is nice and the environment contains lots of trees for shade, a library, computers, science laboratories, etc. It has security cameras, 50 dogs, and security men for security at night. This is the school that Omega & I are going to for Advance Level for two years.
-Rosmini Secondary School: The school is also nice and has a library, computers, and beautiful classes with laboratories. Students run when passing in assembly areas and in front of offices and laboratories. Mama Theresa said Maria may study there for her Advance Levels one day.
We also visited Irente Farm in Lushoto. Irente Farm is a company that deals with biodiversity, which means they plant trees in order to get a natural forest after five years. Also Irente Farm has different industries like jam & juice production, bee keeping, and cheese, yogurt, & butter production. They have a children’s orphanage and a school for the blind. All of these programs are under the support of KKKT church in Lushoto. While we were there we learned how to make jam and juice with different fruits like plums and we learned how to make butter, yogurt & cheese.
The trip was an educational trip. We learned a lot and we also enjoyed it. I thank our Mama Theresa for doing this for us. I enjoyed it and I was happy to visit different places that I have never been to. Also I thank God for his protection and blessing. I am happy that I got into one of the schools I applied to and will be studying at the Advance Level.
Thank you very much! Love you all!
Theresa & Courtney just took Neema, Omega & Christina on a road trip, which wouldn’t have been possible without our trusty driver, Kunda! We left Himo Saturday morning and went to Same, which is about an hour & a half away. We stopped here at Jackie & Subira’s school to visit them briefly, see how they are liking their new school, and drop off some items to get them through the next month until their next holiday. They are loving it!
We then continued our trek to Pangani. The girls went on their first ferry ride! It was a short one- all of five minutes – but they enjoyed it. We stayed in Pangani Saturday night until Monday morning. Our bungalow was right on the beach! It was gorgeous! We walked along the beach and saw turtle hatcheries and a village; played foosball,ping pong, volleyball and cards; and just enjoyed our girl time!
Monday we drove to Tanga and visited St. Christina’s girls’ school. Neema & Omega will be attending the school starting May 17th for their two years of Advanced Level (12th & 13th grade before going to college), and are very excited! They ran into two girls they already knew while we were there. The school is very nice and big, and puts a lot of focus on the sciences. We also visited Rosmini Secondary School. This is a boys and girls boarding school. While none of our students are currently planning to attend, it is a good option for the future when more kids get to that level!
From Tanga we drove to Lushoto. Beautiful mountain area! We arrived quite late, so we had dinner and went to bed. The girls thought it was freezing up there! Tuesday morning we woke up and went on a short hike to Irente View Point. It is absolutely stunning; well worth waking up early for! The place we stayed at is a lodge in a biodiversity forest. We went on a tour of the jam & juice factory, and also where they make the cheese, milk, and yogurt. After 5 more hours of driving, we were home! The girls were exhausted, and will updating their blogs soon with their thoughts on the trip.
We had our first guardian meeting of 2014. Here are the minutes & some pictures!
Make A Difference (MAD) Quarterly Guardians Meeting
Saturday 19th April 2014, Kilimanjaro Kids Care Orphanage
Present: Theresa Grant (Founder), Erasmus (Assistant),Frank Nkya (Part-time assistant), Rabia Marijani (Upendo’s Guardian), Michael Temu (Neema’s Guardian), Nancy Tesha ( Maria’s Guardian), Magdalena Festo (Jonas and Innocent’s Guardian), Fatuma ( Juma and Shabani’s Guardian), Angel G (Benny and Christopher’s Guardian), Peter H ( Christina’s Guardian), Aristidy A. (Revo’s Brother), Silvia (Jackline’s Guardian), Prospa ( Mwenda’s Guardian). Absent: Deo, Cristina, Exuper, Gifty, Joseph and Peter’s Guardians
The Agenda as presented was adopted.
1. The Minutes of the 19th April Guardians meeting, as presented, were adopted.
2. Since last meeting: We will start reviewing the minutes of each meeting next meeting.
a) Introduction: Macrina started with opening prayers, and then Theresa welcomed all guests
b)Schools: Erasmus asked the kids to state the school they attend and its location
Deo, Revo, Neema and Omega received certificates for outstanding performance on their national exams. Deo and Revo received Division 1 (the highest) and Neema and Omega received division (next highest) 2. Erasmus handed all certificates of recognition from MAD.
c)Academics Improvement: Guardians were informed of academic strategies that have been implemented to help the children such as private and group tutoring. Christopher explained how private tutoring helped him improve his grades. He went from being ranked 49th in his class to 34th
d)Time for Stretching: Time to break and emphasize the importance of exercise.
e) Swimming Lessons: Frank explained how he has been conducting swimming lessons with the kids and announced the kids who put the most effort into the swimming lessons (Peter, Benny and Joseph). Frank has also been teaching the kids how to use computers
f) Volunteering Projects (Ideas)
Theresa in sharing the benefits of volunteerism explained that it is important for the kids to volunteer to help out their country as well as to increase their chance of getting into college. She explained that American universities not only consider grades, but also the voluntary activities that one has done. Guardians were asked to brainstorm a few voluntary activities that the kids can do in their villages.
The guardians came up with the following:
- Teaching other kids in the villages English when they go home for the holidays
- Helping create business plans for their crops and coffee businesses
g)Late coming from holidays and punishment: Theresa explained to the guardians the consequences for arriving late from holidays (Deduction of school fees)
h) Guardians and Kids talk: Guardians shared their views/dreams of what they would like the children to become in the future;
i) Maria’s guardian would like Maria to be a Teacher
ii) Mwenda’s guardian would like Mwenda to become a prosperous person no matter what he chooses for his career
iii) Jackline’s guardian would like Jackline to be a doctor
iv) Revo’s guardian would like Revo to be either a politician or a doctor
v) Neema’s guardian would like Neeema to be a Lawyer
The Kids shared their dreams with the guardians and who they would like to be in future:
Edward – Geologist, Benny – Doctor, Christopher – Doctor, Gift – Engineer, Shabani – Doctor, Mwenda – Engineer, Eliona – Pilot, Exuper – Artist, Revo – Engineer, Deo – Doctor, Jonsasi – Pilot, Innocent – Engineer, Juma – Engineer, Joseph – Police, Peter – Pilot, Neema – Accountant, Omega – Business women, Upendo – Doctor, Maria – Doctor, Christina – Doctor
i) Talent Show
Benny, Peter, Exuper and Mwenda performed while the other children watched outside.
j) MAD provided lunch for all the guardians and the children
k) House Mothers, Magdalena and Macrina Speak
– After Lunch Magdalena and Macrina shared their views with the guardians concerning the kids
– Macrina explained that the younger children are not making time for their studies. They don’t behave well compared to the older kids. Magdalena agreed.
l) Announcements: Theresa announced that Mr. Michael Temu (Neema’s guardian) will be the representative for the guardians and MAD Board of Directors.
m) Closing prayers by Theresa and Erasmus
n) Group picture
- Next meeting: Sep 13th 2014 before the children’s graduation at the Royal school from primary school.
Shabani and Mwenda are in grade 7 and are both in the top ten of their class! For doing so well in school, we were able to reward them with a horseback riding adventure. The boys were able to invite a friend each – Juma and Exuper were chosen. All four boys had never been horseback riding before and the second they each got on a horse, they were all smiles from ear to ear! They started by meeting the horses, grooming the horses, saddling them up, and then riding them. After learning how to walk the horses, they then learned how to trot. It was a great experience for all. Afterwards, the day became even more special with a sweet ending – a trip to an ice cream shop!!
MAD recently recognized eight of the children at the orphanage in Tanzania for academic preparation. All eight children have taken great care of their uniforms since the beginning of the year. In order to appreciate them for their efforts. They were awarded a trip to Kilimanjaro’s newest attraction, Zumbaland.
To celebrate Earth Day, we took some of the kids to a tree planting event, hosted by Simon Mtuy. Simon is the fastest man on Earth to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. He climbed it in 9 hours and 22 minutes, a feat that would take the normal person at least five days. He is a advocate of the environment and we were very lucky to be able to have our kids connect and learn from him.
On top of tree planting, the kids also participated in a 5k, with many other elite athletes from Tanzania, including the fastest woman in Tanzania. Many of them ran the entire way. At the end, everyone celebrated over some Mishkaki, fruit, and banana stew!
As a reward for doing well in school, we took some of the top performing students (as well as the younger girls for having the cleanest rooms) to the Cultural Heritage Museum in Arusha. The kids spent time wandering the many floors of the museum seeing all the different artifacts from ancient times in Africa as well as studying the paintings of animals, people, and places. They took time to pick their favorite piece of art and ended up making a drawing of their own out of it. There is some real artistic talent among these kids! A special thank you goes out to the Foothills Composite High School for making this wonderful day happen!
The kids are currently in the middle of their Easter holiday. Thanks to Leslie Prevish and friends, we were able to take half of them on a sporting adventure to a ropes course in Moshi (we will take the other half in June!). The ropes course was very unique to find, but it was an amazing find as it brought the kids so much joy. They did team building activities, worked on communication, learned new skills (like archery) and had to be creative in order to overcome challenges. It was an amazing day for all. The smiles and laughter alone showed us how much happiness the kids got out of the day!