Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For a really detailed explanation, read the Who We Are. In short, I went to Africa to summit Kilimanjaro, had a life-altering experience spending a week with the porters, and felt compelled to do something to help them. In speaking with them it’s clear that their children are top priority, and that due to their meager earnings it is nearly impossible for most of them to afford sending their children to private school.
Currently, there isn’t one school that all the children are going to. First, the porters come from multiple communities, some being hours apart from each other. Just with our original Fab Five families, they come from villages in and around both Moshi and Arusha, which are two hours apart. So we’re dealing with multiple schools. Our long-range goal is to BUILD two schools - one closer to Moshi, and then one closer to Arusha.
Public schools teach only in Swahili. And only two countries in Africa speak Swahili – Tanzania and Kenya. In order to open these children up to maximum opportunity, it’s critical they’re taught in English. Secondarily, the meals being provided at private school offer a game-changing condition for these children; studies have shown that proper nutrition is paramount to a child being able to learn and retain.
$900 covers so much more than private school tuition. It covers their tuition, books, uniforms, and two meals while at school during the day. It also includes health insurance, and transportation to and from school.
Those whose parents desire to send them to Catholic private school will need to seek the remaining funding elsewhere right now as our goal is to provide the same amount per child as we get established.
Two children were originally sponsored in time to start school on January 8, 2020. The first, Maureen, was able to start her secondary education off on the right foot, and her younger sister, Caren, was able to make the shift while still in primary school.
The growth since then has been so amazing! We set a goal for 2020 of 8 kidz; we ended up with 18. Our goal in 2021 was to add 21. We hit that too! We now have 64 students in the program, and looking to sponsor more.
There is no shortage of children in Tanzania who want a better education and a real chance at a better life.
I intentionally selected the “Fab Five” – the workers in our crew that I developed the most trusting relationships with – so that I could maintain very close conversation with them. Respicius Baitwa, our head guide, has agreed to be my primary point of contact in ongoing communications with all of the porters. He is well respected, having worked on the mountain for 22 years and having summited 500 times. I saw it firsthand while I was there, and communications with the others have affirmed my belief.
There’s a critical point for these children; if they don’t make the transition to private school by the time they enter their secondary education (U.S. equivalent of high school), it becomes exponentially more difficult for them to catch up in terms of learning and being taught in English. Our short-term focus was to get the eldest children sponsored and moved as soon as possible, and then start working to get the younger kids moved over.
Because so many sponsors stepped up immediately, we were able to get all of the original 16 children sponsored, and two more, by the end of 2020!
Our goal is 21 in 2021, and we already have 3 fully-funded and a 4th committed.
$900 will cover an entire year of tuition for many of the private schools, as well as uniforms, school supplies, and more! As costs rise, we will evaluate annually whether a greater amount is needed.
All children must take the equivalent of an entrance exam to test where they currently are academically. With passing results from that exam, they can then apply to be accepted into one of the private schools.
There is no cost to take the test to determine if the child is qualified to move into private school.
We’re very sensitive to making sure these kids have a realistic hope for their immediate futures. Consider this - there were over 30 porters just on our climb, so possibly 87 children or more between them. Would you like to be a child who takes the test, passes, and then is told we’re not sure how soon we’ll be able to move you - it could be years. That’s unfair to the children.
Part of the bigger vision is to someday build a school, and that would provide a very tangible way to have these students come back later on and get involved. Short of that, we are considering the possibility of each of these students, once they have graduated and are earning money, to consider making whatever level of contribution they can to help a future child be able to transition to better schooling. We’re early in this process and open to ideas!