As I mentioned in a previous post, we had the privilege of visiting local schools where the children from both the orphanage and the 'Neighborhood Children' program attend through the support of GOEC. By ensuring that vulnerable or orphaned children can stay in school throughout the primary and secondary levels, and by working towards increasing their access to a primary education in English, they will have a better chance at  success in pursuing a post-secondary educational, vocational AND/OR viable employment opportunities.  If we truly see these children as the future leaders of Tanzania, then we must equip them with  supports (working with those that already exist) so they can fulfill their potential and make choices for their future.  Thadeus does exactly this by working with these communities to build upon existing supports and filling in the gaps where necessary.  One of these ‘gaps’ is the lack of access to quality education for all children, no matter what the barrier or circumstance – those with no one to care for them, living in poverty, lacking access to supports, and seemingly ‘forgotten’.   And so this is where the goals of the Gerladina Orphanage & Education Centre is meeting the challenge of working towards closing these ‘gaps’.

Most of us realize there are no easy answers to alleviating poverty, ensuring social justice and working towards positive sustainable development in this world.   The complex issues and barriers the people of Tanzania are facing, as with so many places on this diverse planet, cannot be simplified with single-minded strategies that exclude communities from plans and processes or undervalue the systems of supports already in place.  I am happy to be working with an organization that values the necessity of working with the community towards sustainable initiatives in order to ensure positive and lasting change. Through the work Thadeus does in Bukoba and the surrounding communities, we are now able to assist children who are marginalized due to poverty, illness or lack of access to education, health and support.  His dream of ensuring every child receives a quality education – orphaned or not - is slowly unfolding into a reality. We were inspired by his dedication to ensuring future generations not only live healthy and happy childhoods, but succeed in reaching their potential, excel despite numerous challenges, and become the next leaders and change-makers in their society.

 As Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”   It is this kind of ‘sustainability’ that I am willing to invest my time, money and focus on because I believe in development that will have a lasting impact for the future of Bukoba, of Tanzania, and all of Africa.

 

You can read more about GOEC’s Vision, Mission & Objectives on the website www.gerladina.com or feel free to contact any member of our board (including myself).  We’d be happy to chat with you further about the organization!