It was just a bit more than a year ago that I first shared with you about ELIMAA School. I was nervous to publicly share what we were doing, fearing that if we failed, I would have to own up to that publicly, too.
But this past year has seen huge advances for ELIMAA School. And now we’re ready to grow!
When Kakasii and I first got involved with ELIMAA School, the daily attendance was 11 to 18 students, ranging from 4 to 7 years old. As we just wrapped up the third term of the year last week, we have 33 students enrolled!
And the students are doing great! The majority of them are A and B students, with just a few falling below, mostly because of inconsistent attendance–something we continue to work on with parents.
Here are our top students of the term (from left to right): Mulhat, Monica and Anna.
You might notice that Monica looks a bit older than most of the ELIMAA Students. She is–she is 9 years old and had never been to school before starting at ELIMAA. Her uncle brought her to us to at least help her read and write and then someday hoped to send her to a vocational training program to learn a trade. We’ve committed to not only help Monica catch up with other kids her age, but as soon as she’s done so, we’ll help her uncle pay her school fees so that she doesn’t have to wait until she’s old enough for vocational training to continue her education. Read on to learn how you can help us support Monica…
To make sure that all of the students can focus on learning and not about whether they’ll get anything to eat that day, we continue to provide a large cup of hot porridge mid-morning of every school day to keep tummies full and minds focused.
We were also able this year to brighten up our classroom with new tables and chairs. Previously the students had been sitting on the floor, which worked out okay until they were ready to focus more on their handwriting. Then it became difficult to have proper posture for writing. So, thanks especially to the Sunday school students at Trinity Lutheran Church in Winside, Nebraska (USA), we were able to get tables and chairs for the students. The Sunday school kids raised $350 and also got matching funds from Thrivent, totaling exactly what we needed (as a bonus, we were able to support a local carpenter and his employees by giving them the work of making the tables and chairs).
There was a lot of excitement at ELIMAA the day we pulled up with a pick-up load of red, blue, yellow and green tables and chairs!
The kids sat down right away and started in on their handwriting lessons.
And one final highlight of the year came just last month, when we were able to serve the wider Kwa Morombo community, the village where ELIMAA is located, with a distribution of Lutheran World Relief quilts, school kits and personal care kits to about 80 households.
If you’ve known me for long, you likely know that I committed 12 years of my career to working for Lutheran World Relief, much of that time focusing on LWR’s Quilt & Kit Ministry. So to be able to combine my love of LWR with my love of the ELIMAA students and their community was a dream come true.
What made that day extra special, though, was a group of visitors that helped with the distribution. A delegation from Women of the ELCA, an organization I had the pleasure of working closely with when I was at LWR, came to ELIMAA that day to help hand out quilts and kits to the families who came to the school, and also made home deliveries to some of the elderly and disabled community members who couldn’t make it to the school to collect their items.
The ELIMAA students just love their new school kit bags.
And they are using their personal care kits in hygiene lessons, learning how to properly wash their hands and stay well-groomed.
So, it’s really been a wonderful year at ELIMAA School. And that’s largely because you have so generously supported this project. And now as we look to 2016, it’s clear that we need to grow, and we need your continued help to do so. We have at least 8 more students on a waiting list, which means we really do need to split the children into two classes (4 and 5 years olds, and 6 and 7 year olds) so that the teaching can be better tailored to their learning levels. That means we need to:
- Hire a second teacher
- Make some improvements to the school building to accommodate a second classroom
We also need to increase the salaries of our current staff, Witness (the teacher) and Teresia (the kitchen attendant), to keep up with the cost of living in Tanzania. Times are hard for people earning a local salary as the costs of goods has increased significantly–in my own grocery shopping for our family I’ve seen the price of bread increase by 20% and the cost of milk by nearly 30%. We want to pay our staff fairly and make sure they can provide for their families while we also assist the families in Kwa Morombo who don’t have the means to do so.
Will you help us jump start our funding for 2016 to make sure we have the resources we need to grow and serve more families in need? Besides providing low-cost and sometimes free education, we are now also trying to help with other needs, like Monica’s school fees and distributing quilts and kits to struggling households. A gift to ELIMAA School in December will ensure we can move forward with the second teacher and classroom, and help more people in need. Please give today!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support of ELIMAA School!
P.S. Missed the update video I posted on Facebook? Check it out here: