We had another great week at BCC! Throughout the week we met with the Municipal Special Education Director for the public schools in Moshi, met with a potential social business cooperative, visited a vocational center, and hosted a dinner with BCC’s director, Kaaya, and our safari driver friend, Jesse. This week was a little more relaxed than past weeks, but considering how much work we have been doing, it may be a good thing for us and for the sustainability of BCC.
The Municipal Special Education Director for Moshi, Joyce, was very excited about BCC’s plan for advocating for the public special education schools. As we will discuss in detail in our “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section this week, there is not near enough funding for the special education classrooms. There is also a very prevalent negative social stigma for people with disabilities and their families in Tanzanian society. Kaaya is working to start a Special Education Task Force that will unite NGOs, Tanzanian citizens, and the schools to advocate together on behalf of the special education classrooms and individual with disabilities. This is wonderful idea and we hope that everyone we meet with is as enthused about the program and future advocacy efforts as Joyce!
We visited a local vocational and educational school for children with disabilities called Imani School. It was a wonderful experience! The school is doing so much for children with disabilities! See below for a photo of two girls creating hats and scarves. We were able to meet with two of the children that BCC supports while we were at Imani. It was wonderful to hear how their perceptions of their lives have changed now that they have received further education and vocational training! This Tuesday we are taking 11 children that BCC supports to Imani to register for the program, which begins in January. This is the first registration opportunity that Imani offers, but we want to make sure more children are able to attend this wonderful program!
The major obstacle to making the suggestion to a caregiver that their child attend vocational school is the school fee. The school fee at Imani is not high, $400 for the year. That pays for general fees, room, and board for one year. Many families cannot afford to pay any fees because of extreme poverty in Tanzania. BCC does not receive any governmental funding, so its ability to provide assistance is nominal. If are interested in sponsoring a child who attends vocational school or have any ideas on funding sources for BCC please contact Mosaic! We look forward to updating everyone on how the registration goes!
We were also able to host a dinner for Kaaya and Jesse! We made Mexican food! We aren’t sure that the Mexican food was a hit, but the conversation was wonderful! Jesse is starting a tour and safari social business called North Star Tours and Safaris. You can view some information for his business at www.northstartoursandsafaris.com. We will discuss this in more detail later, but we will briefly describe the concept for social businesses. Social businesses are run exactly like regular businesses. The major difference is that instead of keeping profits, they are donated to a local NGO, used to advocate for a cause, or given to the greater community in another fashion. We met with Kaaya because Jesse wanted to announce to him that the profits for his business will go to BCC! While North Star Tours and Safaris is not finalized, it was great to discuss the possibilities with Kaaya!
This week will be very busy for us. As mentioned above, we will take 11 children to Imani School. We are also going to participate in a two day training with center staff to increase skill in first aid and awareness of acute medical issues with the children that BCC serves. On Friday we plan to visit the bag cooperative business. For dinner Friday we plan to go to Kaaya’s house so that he and his wife can teach us how to make Chipati and other Tanzanian food!