Dear friends of Unite: Next week I leave again for Tanzania to work alongside Unite's friends and partners. As it is with every journey, I am filled with excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to do this work and deeply prayerful that Unite's mission will be fulfilled and that I can source the strength, courage and community necessary to persevere and grow. This trip I have the unique privilege of traveling with my entire family for the very first time: All three of our daughters will finally meet their "brothers and sisters" in Africa. It is a day I have dreamed of since first launching Unite 10 years ago. While we will have much more news to share upon our return, here please find some highlights from the first few months of 2018:
The Heaven Pre & Primary School is now in its 3rd year! In 2017 Heaven ranked in the top 10% of the 5,000+ primary schools nationwide. For the 2018 school year, Heaven has 186 students (baby class through Standard 5) and 9 teachers. Within the student body, students with initiative can now be awarded such positions as Head Boy & Head Girl and/or Prefects of Food, Academics, Environment, Sports & Games. Now powered by the local grid, Heaven is using computers and technology to support their teaching and learning initiatives. To further stock and grow the new school library, we are now in discussions with Better World Books, thanks to our advisor Nicole Watson. We are excited about the innovations we are seeing within the classrooms as well as the leadership in school management. Below, some recent photos of Heaven in action.
Current Projects & Capital Needs
This year at Heaven we are building a basketball sport court as part of our work to grow Heaven's physical education program, and we are currently fundraising to drill a borehole to secure an adequate and reliable water source. The sport court is nearly complete (below), and for the borehole we will meet with our water team next week to determine next steps. To date we have raised $5,000 towards this ~$20,000 project. If you would like to support our Water Campaign, please CLICK HERE.
St. Joseph's Orphanage
In January Sister Crispina Mnate, founder & director of The St. Joseph's Orphanage, was asked by the Tanzanian welfare officials to take on six new orphans. The children had been living in a small rural orphanage where they were not receiving adequate care and from where they could not attend school due to distance to travel and threats to their safety. Sister welcomed them (below) into her family, and thus we have welcomed them into ours as well. Unite is now seeking sponsors for them to attend Heaven's Pre School. The cost of annual sponsorship (which includes tuition, books, uniforms, medical and nutritional support, and more) is $500 a year.
Meet Agnes, David, Martha, William, Puis & Elizabeth.
Our University Scholars
Currently, thanks to the generosity of The Greer Foundation and a handful of other sponsors, Unite is able to support nine of the oldest orphans from St. Joseph's to attend university (four are featured below). In a country where less than 1/2 of 1% of the population ever even enrolls in higher education, we are so very proud of these young people for their hard work, fortitude, commitment and dedication. We are confident they will be the leaders and job-creators of tomorrow.