We're extremely happy to report that, so far, all our project participants have been spared contracting the COVID-19 infection. All, however, have endured the suffering of the drastic changes to life that the virus has imposed. Friends and family members have died, schools were closed and perhaps the worst: there is now yet another unseen enemy to fear, in addition to Malaria, Typhoid, Cholera, TB, Ebola and AIDS, which all pose serious threats to life.
But here's the good news! We have lots of opportunity to offer practical help to the community in the form of workshops and seminars on prevention, nutrition, and sanitation! Our school facilities are the perfect platform to expand our Medical and Outreach Programs, and to showcase good role modelling in our village.
Here's a short video of Mary, our VVS chairperson, demonstrating the new hand-washing station, located front and center as you arrive. The voice of the camera man is Derrick. When you hear "hamna Corona" this means "no Corona"! And when Mary says "safi" that means "clean"!
Government school closures have proved chaotic globally; but in our case they gave us the opportunity to begin construction on the next two classrooms of our primary school. Thanks to a generous legacy donation, the funds to continue expanding our facilities are secure, and the brand new upstairs classrooms will be finished and ready to be used soon. This is ahead of schedule, but will allow us to ensure plenty of space for our students. As you can see, the large windows provide excellent ventilation, which is also an important preventative health measure. Next up on the construction to-do list is the new kitchen. If you are interested in receiving our four-year building schedule, please send your request to email@example.com We have plenty to build, and welcome all donors to participate!
The almost completed primary classrooms
Business Model vs Charitable Social Enterprise
In the compilation of documentation for our charity's Year End, once again we realize that the terminology for completing government forms comes from the business model. With no offence intended to the business community, how can a truly Not-For-Profit charitable organization publish a “Profit and Loss” statement? How can we continue to use terms which invoke the concept of “business as usual” and seek to better “the bottom line”? We are not a business, and yet we are expected to use business terms. (To request a copy of the CanaDares Society 2020 Annual Reports, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our project's school (the Education Program) differs markedly from most other schools in Tanzania for a number of reasons. But for me (Lynda Kearns, Project Director), the most significant difference is that since we operate it as a program within a not-for-profit charitable organization, our ultimate goal is to help raise the standard of living for our participants. Not to make a profit. This means that all child participants (students) receive the best education that we can offer without lowering our established standards of operation. The low school fees that parents pay are meant to cover the expenses of running the school, including the costs of our sixteen participants who are living in the Residential Program.
Up to the Covid-19 closure, those fees came very close to covering the school expenses. In future, barring any additional Covid-19 interruptions, we hope to subsidize our other programs, and eventually remaining funds after expenses will be applied to subsidizing students outside of our Residential Program, in the general community.
There does not seem to be a model for speaking of and reporting on a charitable social enterprise. Perhaps it's time to create one. We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts and ideas. Send them to email@example.com Then stay tuned here for more on this innovative shifting of consciousness.
During the three months that our school was closed down for Covid-19, we needed to continue paying our teachers by order of the government. That expense came out of our operating funds for the Residential Project, since no fees could be collected. We are asking for a special contribution at this time, to help cover the teachers' salaries, as well as all the extra soap and disinfectant, new individual floor mats, extra desks and benches, and other costs incurred by the shut down.
Here are our teachers making new floor mats. They are made of used/cleaned cement bags from the construction, and covered in new local cotton yardage.
The completed floor mats
Continuing Teacher Education
Just prior to the Covid-19 shut down, all teachers took a first aid course run by Thomas. All teachers passed with flying colours, and are excited to have these new skills under their belt.
Here are the teachers proudly showing their first aid completion certificates with instructor Thomas
Thank you so much to you, our donors, for continuing to support the Residential and Education Programs at VVS during these trying times. We send out our best wishes of health and well being to you and your family!
Sincerely, Lynda Kearns Project Director Tegan Ness Board Member Patrick Brown Board Member Barb Phillips Board Member