"Education is a lifetime inheritance. It is a lifetime insurance. Education is the key to success, a bus to a brighter future for our people."
- Zukiswa, Age 16, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
It started with a small idea: 30 uniforms for 30 vulnerable children at Longuo Primary School in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. This would be the theme of my 30 birthday party. Family and friends would donate $30 to fund school uniforms for 30 vulnerable children. Then something happened, I got a message from a friend, Jake Guay, who told me that he and his father were going to match our donation and fund the rest of the school uniforms. In not time, Jake Guay also fundraised school fees for the vulnerable children at Longuo Primary School. The moment I found out, I was in awe and a friend who heard our conversation said, "Sometimes angels come in human form."
In April 2013, I hopped on an 11 hour bus ride from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania, and the following day I entered a classroom to find 69 children and their headmistress greeting me with a song. Their tiny voices echoed throughout the room and I tried not to tear up as clapped to the rhythm of the music. Once their voices faded, Lusajo Mwamakula, Secretary General of YES Tanzania, and I handed out treats to the children, and alongside the headmistress, preceded to hand out the 69 school uniforms (shoes, socks, shorts / skirt and a dress shirt). Once all the children had their gifts in hand they raced to another classroom and returned dressed in their new school attire.
I returned to Dar es Salaam with a glow. I was so grateful we were able to help this group of vulnerable children, so I shared the story with a few friends. Within weeks, if not days, Cecilia, a colleague and friend, announced that she and her partner wanted to donate their wedding gifts to Longuo Primary School. Cecilia and Frans were married in August and with the help of YES Tanzania purchased 730 textbooks (English, Swahili, and Mathematics) for Standard 1 to Standard 7.
What started as a small idea flourished and within 8 months thanks to a group of generous people we were able to give so much more than I had anticipated. I want to thank the people who have contributed to Project Matumaini, especially Cecilia Brumer and Frans Nylin, and Jake Guay and Andre Guay, because without you these children would not have a conducive environment to learn.
Asanteni sana! (Thank you!)