Naturally, as proud as I am of what we achieved in Tanzania last time we went out there, there are a few things that could have been done better.
One notable thing was that we didn’t spend as long at the School as I would have liked us to, and furthermore, it also felt like we didn’t have as much time as we could have had to get to know the KYGN kids. That’s not to say that the girls didn’t throw themselves in to interacting with the children – far from it. But it’s difficult to really get to know them well in the space of a week.
The trip last time had the library we built at its core, an undertaking which, among other things, required us to raise £8000. The library itself still needs developing, but the need for money to be raised for it is not really there anymore (aside from for books, but that’s another issue). However, we naturally wanted to keep supporting KYGN financially as much as we could.
Rather neatly, we had an opportunity to partially address both these issues with the fantastic ‘Sponsor a Class’ scheme that KYGN runs. In exchange for donating £100 a month (or £1200 a year), the person/company in question gets to become a ‘gold sponsor’, as they are providing the class with the means and resources to be educated for that month/year. The tangible proof arrives in the form of regular reports updating you on the academic and overall progress of the children.
It’s an excellent scheme and one that helps to give us concrete evidence that the money we are sending them is being well spent. It also provides us with a way in to getting to know the children, although not on an individual basis…
Which is where the pen pal scheme I came up with enters the equation. One of the UK-based benefactors of KYGN was able to get the kids of the class we are sponsoring to write us letters, which our girls have since replied to and we have sent back. It is hoped that there will be at least a couple more exchanges, but sending post out to Tanzania is not something that’s so easily achieved…we’ll see!
That’s not to say that we won’t be interacting with children in other classes; our library based and classroom based lessons will encompass all classes, as will other activities we plan for the. But the fact our girls will know more about the children of the class they are sponsoring before they head out there will certainly ensure the foundations for a profound emotional connection with ALL the children are made.
Of course, we don’t want our monetary support for KYGN to stop there – we have other fundraising-based projects in the pipeline. But that’s another blog post for another day…