Microgrants guest post: Riz

Hey everyone! I’m here to give you all a general update on the progress of our microgrants project, before my colleague Adam posts a more detailed version in a couple of days, but first I will take this time to tell you all that Bekka was right – Tanzania is AMAZING. Being here and working in the local community and orphanage has been much better than I anticipated, and I couldn’t be happier for this experience. But now, we get down to business.

The project is going extremely well, we’re ahead of schedule, which has given us plenty of time to head up to the orphanage and hang out with the kids – who’ve all fallen in love with us, and definitely us with them! They are amazing kids who are taken care of by wonderful, and patient mamas. Mama Pendo especially, must be some sort of baby whisperer (Watch out, Cesar Milan!), seeing as she has the magic to make a crying baby smile in seconds, she is truly an amazing woman.

We’ve met with a number of families who’re struggling to provide for themselves, and we are going to do our very best to give them the tools and materials they need to succeed – whether it be through the kukus (chickens!), or growing vegetables.

One situation in particular touched me the most – though that doesn’t discount the rest of the families we’ve met with. It is of a grandmother in her 80s, who lives with her grandson, Frankie. Unfortunately, both of Frankie’s parents are no longer around, giving his grandmother the responsibility of raising a young child on her own. Raising a child can be difficult at times for anybody – but for this grandmother, she’s doing it on an extremely low budget with which she can barely feed herself, so she sacrifices her hunger for the sake of her grandson. She told us she spends most nights crying because she doesn’t see a way out of this situation. It was a very moving meeting. As we were about to leave, she shook all of our hands with such passion, and told us that she thanks God that we came to see her.

Dad watching his son
during the first class

One other situation I was moved by included the story of a single father, raising his 6-year old son while trying to improve his struggling business. We met the young child, and he was full of zest (where do kids get the energy from?!), which was great to see. We want his father to have a successful business which produces enough revenue for him and his child to have a good life. We don’t want them to be neglected, not when they desperately need our help.

Hanging out with the teachers

That is why we’re doing this project, to allow families like these who deeply love their children to stay together without having to make such racking decisions. We want to help as much as we can, but by giving them the tools to improve their own futures, rather than through handouts.

While things have been going extremely well, we are working with a limited set of funds which is making us pay extra attention to finances. Currently we are trying to divide our original grant pool into 15 rather than 10 grants, which means less money for each person. We would very much appreciate any donations you can provide – even a small amount like $30 can go a long way to helping us help the families. So please give anything you can! We (and the families) appreciate it greatly.



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