Educating the Community… Not Just the Students

In the past week, EdPowerment and its volunteers cast our educational net to include (1) guardians of our students and (2) other teaching professionals. By advancing the knowledge of parents and teachers, we enhance the prospects of our students.

First, we tackled the idea of savings. For many village “peasants†this is a little understood concept. Many distrust banks and many more struggle so much with today’s demands that they simply don’t grasp how putting away even “kidogo†– a little – every week, will help them achieve a personal goal. In this case, the goal is to build a nest-egg, so that when their Form 3 students graduate from the Boarding School (currently funded by EdPowerment) they can continue to vocational or high school studies. Without this next step, it is unlikely that their children’s secondary education can turn into an income-producing job.

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Mama Grace with the guardians of many of our students.

First our management met with volunteers from Cross Cultural Solutions to plan out two weeks of classes for guardians on the very basics of financial management and savings. Surprisingly, it did not take much for many of the mamas and babas to get the concept of compounding. Our enthusiastic volunteers, Lily and Dan Gehring, worked through numbers to illustrate how savings can grow – and the last day of the workshop, a representative of EXIM bank talked to the group,   re-ieterating many of the points made by the volunteers. Of course, our technology team led by Frank supported these presentations. Once again, the collaboration of staff and volunteers yielded an invaluable educational event. 

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And this past weekend, our autism/special needs advocacy program, Autism Connects Tanzania, broke new ground by presenting on intellectual disabilities and autism to special needs teachers at the invitation of a private school in Moshi.

Grace Lyimo and Kerri Elliot went to Hope International where they outlined different intellectual disabilities, elaborated on autism and its symptoms, and then worked through case studies with an engaged audience of educators.

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Two volunteers from the U.S., Florence Simcoe and Connie Pantel, a social worker and special needs teacher, attended the workshop, adding their insights to discussions that have only just begun in the Tanzanian educational system. Teacher evaluations called for more such workshops where they can share and learn,

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Florence joins Tanzanian educators in a case study discussion.