Ongoing Projects 

Loveness and Ericki hard at work in the orphanage pre-school
At age five, the children need sponsors to attend school. We work with The Foundation for Tomorrow, an incredible nonprofit started by a former volunteer, who facilitate sponsorship. For $1,100 per year for nine years, you can pay the cost of their tuition, room, board, and uniforms for a local boarding school. In addition, TFFT provides medical care, tutoring, extracurriculars, and oversight during school vacations – whenever possible, the children return to their families of origin, and any others are set up with temporary foster families during the breaks.

The fantastic Stevie, Ericki and Dainess were our first group to start school, this past January – and they’re doing fantastically well and thriving! They would never have had this type of opportunity without your help, and we are profoundly grateful, both to their year-to-year sponsors (the Crisps, Butlers, Goldbergs, Harts, and Al-Azawies), and to everyone who contributed towards their two year up-front payment. 

For the upcoming school year, which begins in January 2013, there are four children ready to begin school from the orphanage: Abdulli, Andrea, David, and Pendo. Pendo already has year-to-year sponsorship, but we are seeking full, half, or quarter sponsors for the other children ($1,100, $550, or $225 USD respectively for nine years). TFFT also requires an additional two-year up front payment to ensure that, should the sponsors drop out, the children will be able to continue to attend school. In aid of that, we are currently attempting to raise the additional two years’ tuition – $2,200 per child, or $8,800 total – to ensure that they can start school on time. We are well on our way with overflow from the generosity of donors to last year’s project education, and will be kicking off our drive in earnest later in the year!
Education makes a world of difference for these kids. Without it, they will probably be shuffled to another orphanage, where education usually stops at age 10, and go on to become house servants, at best. With a sponsor and education, they can do amazing things.

Micro Grants Project

We believe in doing everything we can to help willing families to care for orphaned children, reducing the dependency on orphanages and keeping children fully integrated in their communities. To further this goal, we are introducing a pilot project this summer to assist these families to start or expand businesses that will lead to self-sufficiency and allow them to continue to care for their children. Read more about the project and our team here.

Mamas’ Salary Fund

Currently, the Nkoaranga mamas are currently drastically underpaid and often can barely adequately provide for their own families – surviving on as little as a dollar per day. That they continue to do this work is a testament to their love for the children, as well as to how difficult the situation in Tanzania currently is. I would very much like to work out a way to boost workers’ salaries to match their living expenses in order to attract and retain quality staff, as well as to implement or affiliate with local community development projects, allowing staff, for instance, the opportunity to start their own chicken farms with chicks purchased at a discount from the orphanage. Our first goal is to raise all the mamas’ salaries by 10%, which will cost approximately $2,100 US per year. Since June 2011, we have been sending over booster payments equal to 10% of their salary every 3 months. Already the mamas are using it to implement some very interesting projects of their own!

Orphanage Staff

Mama Linda (with Zawadi), the first staff person hired with The Small Things funds! 
Currently, there are between two and three caretakers at any given time for thirty children. The orphanage is desperate to hire more staff, but they cannot do it without help. Consider that those women need to complete, every single day, shopping for thirty children, preparing food from scratch for thirty children, washing clothes for thirty children, changing and washing cloth diapers for at least ten children, and running school for all the rest. When the water is out, or a child is sick, a mama will be unavailable for anything else until the problem is resolved. The mamas are heroic – but they are human. The children are resilient – but not invulnerable. It costs $100 USD, or about £65 GBP, to employ a caretaker for a month. Not all of us can commit to that full amount – but what about half of it? What about a quarter of it? If we can get the financial backing from you, we will hire new staff and have them working with these children SOON. We have already hired the incredible Mama Linda, who played a huge role in saving little Peace’s life, and we hope to hire more staff soon Find out more here.

Ongoing Staff Education

The mamas have expressed interest in continuing their education, and we are only too happy to help! We are currently sponsoring English classes for all mamas who wish to take them. This improves their ability to interact with and manage the volunteers, as well as their ability to help the kids to learn and keep up their English skills. Mama Pendo is also taking an intensive supervisory management course this August to help her develop her skills as she continues to tackle the formidable challenges of running the orphanage. 

Vitamins and Formula
The kids are now on a daily vitamin regimen, with added Iron and Vitamin D, since we observed both rickets and iron deficiency in the children (eating dirt, sucking on metal, stringy nails). Additionally, children were previously being switched from formula to a milk/porridge/peanut butter mixture called uji at around three months, due to the price of formula, although their systems are really unprepared for anything but formula until at least six months. We suspect this is the cause of some height stunting and early vitamin deficiency among the children, since their diets are otherwise excellent. As a result, we are funding the purchase of formula for all babies up to six months of age, as well as daily vitamins for all children eating solid food and liquid vitamins for those under a year.
Completed Projects 

With the help of you generous people, we have completed installation of a well and pump to provide water to the hospital and orphanage, which was previously without water as much as one quarter of the time. This has led to immeasurable increases in hygiene, comfort, and safety – the kids have fewer infections, are less dehydrated, their clothes, cups, and plates are cleaner, and the mamas have more time to spend with them. The hospital saves significant money on bringing in water for the wards when the pipes are down, in addition to allowing drastically improved hygiene for the workers and for patients. Lives WILL be saved by this project, and I couldn’t be prouder. See more about the well project here.

Project “Light Up the Night”
As you know, power is always a huge problem in the orphanage. The actual electrical system within the orphanage is old and nonfunctional in some areas, while in other areas outlets are located within reach of little fingers. It was also a short in the electrical system that caused a horrific fire on Valentine’s day 2009, which seriously injured two children and would have killed all seven children under 9 months had it not been for the heroic intervention of Mama Cantate. In addition to the safety aspects of night lighting for feeding and changing (and avoiding using dangerous candles or kerosene lanterns), when the power is out it means that all clothes must be washed by hand, seriously increasing the already intense burden on the mamas.

Through Project “Light Up the Night,” we have completely rewired the orphanage and installed solar lighting, to keep our gorgeous children safe, as well as installed solar lighting in the hospital maternity ward, saving the lives of women and preventing children from being orphaned in the first place. See all the details on the project on our dedicated page.

Project MAJI

Through Project MAJI (water), working with Bethan Crisp, we raised over $1,000 for water filtration systems for the orphanage and hospital. The filters can clean over 5,000 gallons of water per day, with no electricity – MASSIVE help to the both the children and the extremely hard working mama’s at the orphanage. This saves the orphanage a huge amount of time and money, given the quantity and expense of gas used to boil untreated water, in addition to the problems that arise when children are thirsty and no water is available. In the inpatient hospital wards, the bucket systems are even more crucial, as there are no facilities to boil water at all, so patients who are already severely ill are at serious risk from parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

We chose this system for the orphanage because it is mechanical and therefore does not depend on tenuous electricity, does not need replacement filters, can be fitted directly into the orphanage plumbing, thereby cleaning not only the drinking water, but also the water used to wash hands and dishes. This similar bucket system, which will be used in the hospital wards and elsewhere, has already been successfully implemented by several international nonprofits in Kenya, Haiti, Pakistan, and Fiji.

Thanks to the great people at Business Connect, we were able to get not just three, but SEVEN bucket systems! So the orphanage has clean water directly from the tap through a plumbed-in system, each hospital ward has its own bucket filtration system, and the local school and Mama Rachel’s orphanage both also have clean water. Read more about our successful installation, here!

The chicken coop is up and running with between ten and fifteen hens and a small flock of chicks at any given time. The kids receive invaluable protein and calories through the eggs, and over time additionally benefit from the addition of meat to their diets as the younger chicks grow. It also serves as a buffer for the orphanage in times of financial hardship, allowing them to continue to provide high quality food to the kids all year round without being forced to forgo their own salaries. See more on the chickens here.

A large tract has been prepared and planted with corn, eggplants, tomatoes, cabbages, spinach, watermelons, cucumbers, carrots, squash, bell peppers, okra and more. The plot already contained two immature mango trees and a guava plant. The goal is to significantly increase the variety and nutrition density of the children’s diets, while reducing the orphanage’s costs. See the impact it’s made!

Redesigning the playground

The playground had some seriously dangerous features – including a metal slide that tilted at about a forty five degree angle, a metal carousel that was half rusted through and can pin limbs underneath it, and the trampoline that had large holes in it from a tree falling on it last year. With the help of Millie and Mikarla and KATZ Volunteering, we were able to revamp the entire playground, and it looks fantastic! Check out before and after photos!

To find out how you can help, please see our “Get Involved” page.