I have been waiting to announce the outcome of our initial fundraising efforts for Project Tanzania 2009 because donations have continued to come in. The goal I had set out in my mind was $1,800. Approximately 40 families were kind enough to see the value in our efforts toward building healthy futures for Tanzanian children and donated to our project .
Project Tanzania 2009 was born from our desire to build community and healthy futures for children. Together Mike and I wanted to transform the celebration of our upcoming wedding into a powerful and lasting legacy.
Well we did it! I am happy to say that we have exceeded that goal and raised a total of $2,225 $2,400 [updated amount thanks to last minute donations] which will ALL be donated to World Vision’s Survive Five program.
When Mike and I travelled to Tanzania in August 2009, our purpose there was rooted in connecting with our sponsored child, Miriamu, learning about her community, and providing much-needed educational supplies to her primary school. A big part of OUR education there was that we wanted to learn first-hand about the needs of children in Tanzania.
We learned there is no greater need or better gift than health.
To all who donated to the project, I want you to know that your generous contributions will support a widespread implementation of the Survive Five Program in Tanzania to strengthen health and build a future for all children. For the amount of money that we raised, more than 500 children under the age of 5 will now have the chance to grow into healthy and happy people.
The next phase of this project will include an email campaign to colleagues and professionals within our circles to encourage them to contribute to the great work Survive Five will accomplish in Tanzania. All donations from here on out will be made directly through the World Vision site. Go to the site to make a donation right away or to get Ana Alves contact information. She will walk you through the rest. Don’t forget to reference iNSPiRED PRACTiCE when you talk with her!
I owe some big thank yous not only to the over 80 people who attended our August 30 event and with grace and hope contributed to Project Tanzania 2009 but also to the many people who worked behind the scenes on making this project a reality.
Project Tanzania 2009 would not have been possible without the passionate support and participation of the following people:
- Chantal Scerri (World Vision Canada): Chantal is an amazingly passionate woman that I must say World Vision Canada is very LUCKY to have. She was the one who presented us with the Survive Five program proposal and believed in us and the legacy we wanted to create. Thank you for your passion.
- Diane Kelly (World Vision Canada): A truly committed WV worker, Diane coordinated our sponsorship visit with less than 2 months notice and let me say that without that the opportunity to connect with this sweet little girl a thousand miles away would have never reached reality. Thank you for all of your hard work.
- Fabian Shemtawa (World Vision Tanzania): There are no words that could truly articulate our thanks to Fabian. We learned so much from him, about his life and his work. He shared insights into the communities that struggle in his home country but that they do so with hope and determination. He is a pioneer of change and my heart is full when I think of how happy he is to be strengthening communities through the work of World Vision Tanzania. Thank you for your joy.
- Peter Rwechungura (Kinampanda Area Development Program): Peter was not only our good luck charm but perhaps one of the most gracious individuals we met while in Tanzania. He missed his ride to Arusha for a WV training session just so he could be present for our sponsorship visit. And he was easily the ONLY reason we made it through our hitchhiking adventure from Singida after our landrover broke down. Thank you Peter for your hospitality and grace.
- Kitukutu Primary School: This wonderful primary school we visited is where Miriamu and her two sisters Msalawelu and Ulzanita spend their days. The welcome we received at the school made us feel like celebrities. The children were unbelievably sweet and really moved us. One day, I plan to return to that school to do more than visit. But until then I must thank them for their open hearts and beautiful song. (Note: We have a wonderful video of the kids singing but I have yet to be able to extract the clip. My brother is working on it so I hope to see some progress and be able to post it in the near future.)
- The Kilimba Family: The greatest thanks from Mike and I must go to Miriamu and her family. We were overwhelmed (to say the least) by their generosity of spirit. They welcomed us as family – not strangers – into their home and showered us with gifts. They are good people who radiate love. I am so blessed to have been gifted with my own family and it warms my heart that Miriamu has been blessed this way also. Asante sana! (‘Thank you so much!’)
Finally I must thank those people who have walked with us on our journey. I was tearing up while writing our wedding ceremony over the weekend at the thought of the community that has nurtured both Mike and I throughout our lives – as individuals and as a couple. I don’t know whether it is luck or blessings or what – but I can tell you that it is just right.
Big love and appreciation must go to my mom and dad – Eddie Calisto-Tavares & Gilbert Tavares – for planting seeds of generosity and love of community in the hearts of their children. Project Tanzania 2009 is a testament to the values they have instilled in me. My mom always said to me:
Give unselfishly to the world…do not expect anything in return. Just do it to make the world a better place. These are surely words to live by and they crescendo in my mind every day as I live and breathe.
Special thanks to all who helped in making our Seeds of Love & Hope event on August 30, 2009 a wonderful success. We are so grateful to: Eddie Calisto-Tavares, Gilbert Tavares, Khorie Calisto-Tavares, Emanuel Calisto, Brad Tyler-West, Mickenzie Tyler-West, Laura Calisto, Charlie Calisto, Judy Calisto, Jean Foderick, Carol Foderick, Lucy Calisto, Chaise Calisto, Manuel Calisto, Maria dos Anjos Tavares, and Marina Grinchuk.
On behalf of Mike and I, thank you again to everyone who attended the event and sent in donations for Project Tanzania 2009. We are honoured by your hope, conviction and generosity.