Mother’s (and Mama’s) Day

My mom with Simoni last year

My mother is having a tough mother’s day – I am in graduate school in London, and my brother (and only sibling) is on a semester abroad in Australia – she is literally a quarter and half of the way around the world from us, respectively. I miss her, and I’m sorry not to be there – but at the end of the day, she’s instilled in my brother and me both the confidence to travel, to explore, to let our life path find us, and I am so grateful to her for that gift. Mine found me in a beautiful little girl named Zawadi, and I can’t wait until the day we have our first mother’s day together.

Me and my girl Zi
Unfortunately, for most of our incredible kids, there are no adoptive mothers waiting in the wings. So instead it’s up to all of us, the community of care that is The Small Things, to think on this day especially of what their mothers would have wanted them to have. Education. Opportunity. Safety. Health. Love. 
We are doing our best, and with your help we have achieved amazing things in the past year. We’ve started three kids in high quality Tanzanian boarding schools with the help of their sponsors, everyone who donated to their up-front costs, and The Foundation For Tomorrow – and in January, we hope to have found full sponsorship for the next four. With your help, we will give them education to take advantage of all the opportunities life has to offer – and with Tanzania’s rapid growth (over 6% per year) and more companies investing heavily in the continent, their future is looking bright. 
Mama Pendo with a group of former Nkoaranga orphanage
kids, now all thriving at school with TFFT
As for safety, we are more than 80% of the way to our goal for Light Up the Night, which has already rewired the orphanage, will be installing solar lighting in the orphanage this summer, and, if we can raise that last 20%, will fund solar lighting for the hospital maternity ward as well. We have raised sufficient funds to fulfill our commitments to the orphanage to keep them fully stocked with formula for all children up to six months as well as chewable and liquid vitamins – which the kids LOVE and ask for daily as their candy! We’ve also had success with our one-to-one 24/7 preemie care program, which has helped our (previously) little Peace to grow into a beautiful, chubby prince, and is currently funding care for little Ebenezer to catch up to his healthy new buddy Neema
Frankie with Dainess and Pray
Mama Neema
Mama Pendo with Farajah
Last but absolutely not least, these children need love to thrive. There are two parts to our responsibility here – encouraging and modelling ongoing commitment and engagement from volunteers, and supporting the incredible mamas who stay with these kids day in and day out for their first five years. We do that through ongoing salary support and funding new hires – one in January, the wonderful Mama Linda, and we are hoping for a second this summer. These kids may have had the bad luck to lose their mothers – but they have the mamas, and they have us, and we have their mothers’ memories to guide and inspire us. 
Thank you from each of the Nkoaranga kids –
and their twenty-plus siblings!
Please consider donating to support any or all of these projects through the How to Help page – we can’t do it without you! To those who have helped us come so far already, thank you – and you should feel some pride today, because in a way, everyone who has helped these projects has become part of our mothering effort. Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!

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