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Just in case you were anxious about how Vijaliwa Vingi was affected by the COVID-19 virus, here is a newsletter to bring you up to date.

 

First of all: Yes, we're OK! 

 

In Tanzania, information about the COVID-19 pandemic is not easy to come by, and few cases have been recorded (there is little testing, though travelers at the airports are carefully screened). It is possible that the virus has not penetrated far into the country so far. Before Project Director Lynda Kearns left for Vancouver at the beginning of March she held an information session about the virus for all staff. This was well in advance of any widespread publicly available news. This increased our staff’s knowledge about COVID-19 and what to do to prevent it spreading at our site and in the community. We have no COVAD-19 cases among our children or staff.

 

At this time we have 35 children in residence - a new high for us – and five adults living on site. With other staff commuting from the adjacent village, we are still feeding 45 at lunchtime.

 

In anticipation of the pandemic, the Tanzanian government closed all schools, both public and private, and has recently extended the closure indefinitely.  Before the school was closed we had 112 children registered (including twenty of those who live on site). This brought our lunchtime crowd, including the teachers, to a total of 140.

 

With the school closed, the law says the teachers still must be paid and stay in contact via WhatsApp. Our Project Manager, Ditrick Msemwa, has been making a special effort to maintain contact with parents of the students. 

 

We have been giving some thought as to what we might do to provide continuing instruction at home for our primary school students. The children do not have easy access to computers as they would in Canada, but most parents do have phone access, and our teachers are working to send “homework” to most homes.

 

From last November to March we have seen weather patterns which remind us that climate change is affecting east Africa. You may have heard about the Indian Ocean Dipole, a mostly stationary climate system, which brought Australia hot drought conditions, and us continuing rains and a cyclone which took down some of our trees. The rains, in turn, brought swarms of locusts, laying waste to crops in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and South Sudan. We saw a few locusts, but not swarms; however, a new generation of locusts have been born not far to the north of us and we are watching them closely.

 

In farming news, we have replenished our chicken flock with 200 chicks, and the ducks and turkeys are doing well. The goats are fine too, though as usual difficult to catch every evening. We have two new cows living in a renovated barn; one has given birth, and the other is in an earlier stage of pregnancy. Our kids are drinking the milk, and we expect to increase our sales of milk soon in addition to resuming our egg sales. Another livestock addition has been rabbits. They will increase the protein content in the diet and reduce our reliance on meat purchases. Our garden produces fresh vegetables for the table, and we also have some thirty mature cashew nut trees which provide a cash crop. 

 

Lynda has been in North Vancouver since early March, staying in a coronavirus-free independent living facility. With restrictions on movement resulting from pandemic precautions, she has unfortunately not been able to meet with many CanaDares supporters since she returned. 

 

Continuing travel and border restrictions mean that she presently does not plan to return to Tanzania until October or November, so hopefully she will have the opportunity to meet you later in the year. In the meantime, she is in touch with manager Ditrick Msemwa nearly every day. She is also, of course, actively involved in planning for further growth of the school and its facilities.

 

As you can see, Vijaliwa Vingi expects to continue its planned growth after the pandemic passes, however long this may take. Our plans to achieve financial self-sufficiency with expansion of the school still hold, albeit with some delay this year. For this reason, CanaDares and VVS look forward to your continuing support for both operating expenses and for contributions to capital funding. 

 

Thank you.

 

Patrick Brown

Chair, CanaDares Society.

Email: tightrop@gmail.com

 

Telephone: (250)539-0051




 

QUICK FACTS ABOUT CANADARES AND VIJALIWA VINGI SOCIETIES:
A Refresher For You to Share With Any Interested Parties

 

CanaDares Society is an independent Canadian registered charity whose only function is to raise money to support Vijaliwa Vingi Society (VVS), a registered NGO in Tanzania. The two organizations are linked by a Joint Venture Agreement and meet all legal requirements of both governments. The Boards of Directors of both societies are unpaid volunteers (VVS' Board is all Tanzanian.)

 

CanaDares has minimal administrative costs. The founder and Project Director, social worker Lynda Kearns, is a member of both Boards, and normally spends half her time in Tanzania and half in Canada. When in Tanzania, she lives full time on the VVS site.

 

Lynda started VVS' core Residential Program in 2004 to care for children from dangerous circumstances; it is operating on a twenty acre plot of rural farmland about 60 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city.

Children have their own beds, running water, and three meals a day. Care and security staff are paid, and food and operating costs have been financed from the start by donations to CanaDares by Canadians.

 

VVS' new school began in 2017, and currently includes four levels of pre-primary classes, and primary classes through to grade three. As the school grows, one grade is being added per year. Currently, there are nine teaching staff, and volunteers from Canada are welcomed. Expenses for running the school are covered by school fees paid by parents, with special arrangements for families requiring financial assistance. Being a true not-for-profit organization, the sole objective is to create a safe and creative environment for children to learn. 

 

When school is in operation, a nutritious lunch is served to 140 in the dining building. The VVS school bus and van pick up children from the immediate area. With further growth of the school, we anticipate that all VVS costs can be met by fees in three or four years, and the reliance on donors will ease. Sale of eggs, milk, etc also make a contribution to operating costs. 

 

No financial assistance is received from either the Canadian or Tanzanian governments. All of the children in our Residential Program are brought to us by the Social Welfare department, or by the police.

 

Future expansion plans to the school call for six more classrooms, an expanded kitchen and dining facility, walls surrounding the school area, and further residential/boarding facilities for girls and boys, along with expanded water, electricity, and sewage systems and a second school bus.

 

Currently, the donor-supported operating cost budget is approximately $60,000 (Canadian) per year. Some of this is provided through pre-authorized monthly donations through Canadian banks. Costs of buildings and additional facilities are often covered by targeted donations.

 

CanaDares website: https://www.canadares.org/

 

Address:

CanaDares
#702 – 3633 Mt. Seymour Pkwy.
North Vancouver, BC, V7H 0A9



 
Copyright © 2020 CanaDares Society for Children in Tanzania, All rights reserved.


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