I Bet You Didn’t Know…

 …these facts about Tanzania:

►The country is a little more than two times the size of California
►The population just under 43 million people
►It is currently home to over 500,000 refugees
►Life expectancy is 52.85 years
►5.6% of the population is infected with HIV/Aids
►It is one of the most peaceful religious melting pots in the world with a population that is 35% Muslim, 35% Indigenous, 30% Christian
►Swahili and English are the official languages
►Gained independence from Britain in 1964
►Ranks near the bottom at #202 out of 228 countries in the world with $1500/GDP per capita
►Only 57% of children ages 5-14 attend school;of the 57%, only  87%  reach Grade 5
►Less than 21% of all students even get invited to enter Form 1 (high school)

Under government mandate all public school institutions teaching the U.S. equivalent of grades 1-8 teach classes in Swahili.  Ironically, all high school classes are taught in English.  Let’s look back at the numbers for a moment.  Out of 100 school age children in Tanzania, only 21 of the children make it through what we would call Grade 8 and get accepted to high school.  Of these 21 students, only 7 of them actually received a passing grade on the English portion of their National Exam.  The other 14 students entering Form 1 (high school) have a small – if any – chance of completing high school due to the fact that they can’t even truly understand what is being taught to them in English.

To state the obvious, it doesn’t make sense that the government mandate be to teach classes in Swahili to the younger children and in English to the older children.  But I digress.  I’m obviously not going to change any Tanzanian government regulations today.  Instead, I am sharing this insight with you to emphasize how important schools like Good Hope in Arusha are to the underprivileged orphans in Tanzania.  As an outsider it is easy to look at some of the obvious benefits:  the school rescues orphans from the streets, provides an education and a family-like atmosphere that nurtures the children.  Thanks to the help of JustUsFriends the kids are even able to receive medical care to ensure that they are healthy enough to stay in school and to protect them from life-threatening, yet treatable illnesses, like malaria or the flu. 

Here is something I bet you didn’t know:  privately funded schools supported by friends like you provide children who were born with nothing, the best chance to create a bright future for themselves.  You see, unlike the government run schools, Good Hope and other private schools like it teach the students English from the first day they walk into the classroom.  JustUsFriends is proud to partner with an organization like Good Hope that is committed to setting the orphans it serves up for success.  Like you, I am just another friend and supporter of JustUsFriends.  The only difference between you and I may be that I have had the fortune of visiting the country of Tanzania and witnessing the work Good Hope Orphanage does with my own eyes. 

The message of this post is simple:  I thought you’d like to know JustUsFriends isn’t in the business of building clinics or schools or orphanages, just to build them.  Instead, they are dedicated to the careful selection of viable projects that show true potential – projects that can truly change lives.

Thanks to you, JustUsFriends, Ally, and Good Hope, the orphans have a better chance than most Tanzanian kids to be one of those 7 out of 100 children.  They have a chance to beat the odds.

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5 Responses to I Bet You Didn’t Know…

  1. fbenton10 says:

    Great blog and so true! We can all make a difference in this world. The joy you feel in your heart when giving and helping others is so gratifying and fulfilling. This is the way we measure success, not by what you have, but how you give of yourself to others! God Bless the friends who are making this dream come true!

  2. Bob Bauge says:

    Great Blog….excited to get more involved in the “Just us Friends” cause. It would be great to know what the volunteer need is at the Orphanage, Medical Clinic and if there are any needs that can be met by people working in the US to assist with the planning/development and expansion of the altruism we are called to participate in.

    • Hi Bob! First, thank you so much for your excitement and interest in the work of JustUsFriends. Hopefully our post this morning helps to give you a little better idea of what we are doing here. Every day we are discovering what works best here, what more we need, and how we could serve the community in Arusha better. As soon as the clinic is completed we will have the space to accept another 3 or 4 volunteers. Volunteers with some sort of professional medical background are most needed. A dentist would be great, too!

      As for helping back home, there is always a need from a development standpoint. It’s only been 6 months since the idea for JustUsFriends became a reality. In a very short amount of time we have had many Friends join us in our cause. However, as I mentioned in the blog today, every day we are being contacted by more and more orphanages here in Arusha who are in need of medical support. We are dreaming big. We would like to see awareness for JustUsFriends grow in the states and need help getting the word out about what we are doing. And we can always use help with web development, promotional videos, marketing campaigns and fundraising. We hope to replicate our project here in Arusha in several other countries around the globe over the coming years, but we can’t do it without the support of Friends back home. If you have any ideas, skills or talents that you would like to share with JustUsFriends, please contact me at rebekah@justusfriends.us and we can work together to put together a plan of action.

      I can’t thank you enough for your desire to get involved! Thank you, Bob!

  3. Maru says:

    Hello JustUsFriends! Thanks for spreading awareness about this worthy cause and for creating the opportunity for the rest of the world to make a difference.
    As Bob asked, what are the volunteer needs? I definitely look forward to learning more about ways to help and get involved.

    – Maru

    • Maru, thank you so much for reading out blog. Your desire to be involved is truly an inspiration to us! Take a moment to read my response to Bob below. If you have any more questions or just what to connect, please feel free to send me an email! Rebekah

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