Greens Farms Academy helps Unite construct a computer lab for the Heaven School

Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT, hosted a “Harmony for the Homeless” this past winter, run by the school’s community service club. They raised funds that helped us to build out a computer lab at the Heaven English-Medium School in Tanzania. In the school library, Unite installed folding tables against the walls and purchased stools, six laptops and a projector & screen. The teachers are using the laptops to enhance their curriculums. We will share more news about the use of the computer lab in the coming weeks and months.



Unite Partners with Swahili Coast to bring you Maasai Sandals & Accessories


SUMMER IS COMING!!!

Unite The World With Africa Foundation has partnered with Swahili Coast Design to bring you a one-time offer of 10% off hand-crafted Maasai-beaded sandals and Kikoy beach wraps made in East Africa. This promotion will run through April 30th, 2019.

PASSWORD: Welcome!

10% off coupon code: UNITE

50% of sales will be donated back to Unite to support our work to provide quality education, comprehensive care & leadership development programs to orphaned, impoverished and at-risk youth across Tanzania. 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER * CLICK HERE FOR THE CATALOG

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Swahili Coast is a North Carolina-based fair trade brand working in partnership with artisans in East Africa to handcraft sandals and accessories. Thier mission is to connect the incredible artistry and talents of East African Artisans to global markets using principles of fairness, dignity, and respect.

Swahilicoastdesign.com

CLICK HERE FOR THE CATALOG

Unite Sponsors Life Skills Training for the Teens at St. Joseph's Orphans Center

This month Unite engaged trainers from the Arusha-based NGO JobOrtunity to run a two-week-long customized life skills and personal development workshop at the St. Joseph's Orphans Center for seven of our secondary students and 10 of our university students who were home for holiday. The workshop included six modules taught mostly through experiential learning or "learning by doing." This was the first time any of these students have received any formal training of any kind, outside of the classroom. While many were a bit shy at first, eventually they stepped out of their comfort zones to seize this rare and unique opportunity to learn and grow. We are proud of them and will continue our work with JobOrtunity to provide our students with further trainings as possible over the months and years to come. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT.

The Unite Scholars Mentorship Program is UNDERWAY

In 2018 we launched our new UNITE SCHOLARS MENTOR program to provide additional support for our Unite Scholars who are now in university. Our team of trained and dedicated MENTORS are paired with our Scholars to help develop their creative & independent thinking as well as to teach them the essentials “soft skills” of professionalism necessary for success over time (e.g. effective oral and written communication skills, time management, presentation & personal branding, interpersonal skills, self confidence, how to interview and behave on the job, etc.). We believe in each and every one of our Unite Scholars and are committed to helping them maximize their potentials so that they may grow into leaders with the knowledge, talent, connections, and sustained commitment necessary to source solutions to challenges facing their communities and help shape the future of the African continent.

OUR Goal: TO Educate, mentor, empower and prepare
extraordinary Tanzanian youth to become global change agents.

Elements of the program include:

  • Ongoing communications and monthly meetings with their Mentors.

  • Working through our Unite Scholars Mentorship/Professional Development Curriculum as Mentor/Scholar pairs and in group settings.

  • Speaking series by with local professionals (experts in their fields).

  • Site visits to see and learn more about the work of local companies, hospitals, NGOs and businesses.

  • Meetings and networking opportunities with other scholars, mentors, international and local businesses and advisors.

  • Annual “Ted Talk Style” symposiums during which Scholars are invited to present about a topic of their choice to an international audiences.

Above: Mentor Rhoda Lugazia with Scholars Marystella Justine (business) and Winnifrida Gaspar (business); Advisor Anty Marche with Scholar Hosiana Thomas at the Tengeru Institute for Community Development; Mentor Dr. Raymond Mgeni with Godfrey Saitoti (medicine & surgery); Mentor Joan Mnzanva with Scholar Agnes Crispin (business); Mentor Joan Mnzanva with Scholar Simon Daniel (IT) and Scholar Genes Benedicte (Education); Mentor Dr. Raymond Mgeni with Scholar Jackson Daniel (medicine) and Scholar Douglas Fortunatus (Computer Engineering).

OUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST

This holiday season why not give the gifts of hope, love, education, opportunity & joy?

$20: Purchase a mosquito net to help prevent malaria. 

$35: Purchase a new holiday outfit for a child at the St. Joseph’s Orphans Center.
(Each child is allowed one new outfit a year.)

$50: Purchase a goat that will provide milk and meat.

$110: Sponsor the care of an expectant teen to have a safe vaginal delivery
at the Kivuluni Hospital.

$150: Buy uniforms, books & school supplies for a child for a year.

$200: Sponsor a year of “life skills & professional” mentoring support
for a Unite Scholar in University.

$250: Sponsor a Christmas celebratory meal for the 60+ members of
the St. Joseph’s Orphans Center family.

$340: Sponsor the care of an expectant teen to have a cesarean section
at the Kivuluni Hospital.

$375: Purchase a laptop for the new Heaven School Computer Lab
and/or for a Unite Scholar in university.

$400: Ship one 200lb barrel from the Unite States to Tanzania
filled with books & critical supplies.

$500: Sponsor a child from St. Joseph’s Orphans Center
to attend the Heaven Pre School.

$750: Sponsor a child from St. Joseph’s Orphans Center
to attend the Heaven Primary School.

$1,200: Sponsor a Unite Scholar to attend a quality

private secondary boarding school in Tanzania. 

TO GIVE THE GIFT OF ANY OF THE ITEMS ABOVE AND RECEIVE A LETTER FROM UNITE (OR HAVE IT SENT DIRECTLY TO THE PERSON YOU ARE GIVING IN HONOR OF), CLICK DONATE.

A 2018 Winter Update from Unite

We are held back not by the love we didn’t receive in the past,
but by the love we are not extending in the present.

~Marianne Williamson

Dear friends, 

I snapped this photograph above in October while driving through Mkuru, Maasailand, in Northern Tanzania. I include it here because to me it illustrates two of the most compelling stories of Africa: One that is told most often by the mainstream media, which is of the devastation caused by extreme poverty, ignorance and lack; and the other—the driving force behind Unite—which is of the “stupendous potential*” that can be found within youth everywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places and the most challenging of circumstances. Their potential is our opportunity.

Over the years while working to unlock and unleash the “stupendous potentials” of orphans and at-risk youth across Tanzania, I have witnessed time and time again how love, presence, hope and compassion can forever change the trajectory of lives. From “Baby Maria” who arrived at the St. Joseph’s Orphans Center as a severely malnourished and deformed two year old unable to walk or talk and who is now a smiling, healthy three-year old, running around chatting in Swahili and English, ready and eager to start Baby Class at Heaven School to Godfrey Daniel Saitoti who survived as a homeless street boy until he was 10 years old when Sister Crispina Mnate adopted him and enrolled him in school for the first time ever and who is now studying to be a surgeon at the Kampala International University in Uganda... the stories go on and on.

The youth we serve and those with whom we work know that with every privilege comes great responsibility and for their achievements all glory goes to God. Their big dreams are many and range from building an online e-library through which students in the remotest of villages can access books and lessons (Douglas) and working in medicine to care for the sick and destitute (Angela, Jackson & Godfrey) to pursuing careers in accounting and tax to encourage and enforce “ethical” business (Hilda, Lucy & Marystella) and opening “An African Knowledge Village” as a center of excellence for learning and knowledge sharing (Raymond). These youth have the commitment, determination, work ethic, resilience and faith—the potential—necessary for success. Our work is to free them from the chains of extreme poverty by meeting their basic human needs and providing them access to quality healthcare, education, strategic support programs and a global network. Most recently, we partnered with Future Stars Academy to roll out a physical education and sports program for the children of Heaven and lauched a Mentor Program to help our University Scholars prepare for their lives after graduation. As they grow and evolve, so do we.

As always, I am sincerely grateful to each of you for your interest in and support of Unite, and for your big dreams in service to humanity. The future depends on us. May we be fearless in extending our love! 

With blessings and prayers for peace,

Anne 

Anne Wells, Founder & Director, Unite The World With Africa Foundation           * The New African Commentary

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL WINTER REPORT

An October News Update

We’re off to Tanzania again next week and have lots of news to share. Click HERE to read about our upcoming trip, our goals and wish list, and more.

Pictured here, four of the hundreds of girls we will be meeting who have fled the traditional barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and found refuge at the  Hope for Girls Safe House i n Western Serengeti. Photo credit:  “In The Name of Your Daughter ,” a new award winning documentary by internationally renowned filmmaker Giselle Portenier.

Pictured here, four of the hundreds of girls we will be meeting who have fled the traditional barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and found refuge at the Hope for Girls Safe House in Western Serengeti. Photo credit: “In The Name of Your Daughter,” a new award winning documentary by internationally renowned filmmaker Giselle Portenier.

UNITE: Reflections, 10 Years Later...

We rise by lifting others.

~Robert Ingersoll

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Dear friends, 

I first landed in East Africa in 1991 as a 19-year-old student of wildlife management and almost instantaneously  the beauty and vastness of the land and the kindness and generosity of the people rooted themselves deep within my heart. During the three years that followed spent traveling, living, studying and working in and out of Tanzania, life was filled with wonder, adventure, excitement and, at times, great challenge and severe discomfort. When things became unbearable, as they did more than once—due to the mere good fortune of where and to whom I was born—I could evacuate and access safe lodging; clean water and healthy food; quality healthcare... Those around me could not, and the injustice of that inequality has haunted me ever since.

Years later, in January 2008, while sitting with my husband David in our suburban Connecticut home watching our three daughters, then ages 2, 4 and 6, play, I surprised even myself when I said out loud: “It is time for me to go back Tanzania and find a way to be part of the solution.” With no clear plan besides a heartfelt calling to serve, David and I landed in Dar Es Salaam five months later. There we were met by our friend Father Dennis Mnyanyi who picked us up in a borrowed vehicle from his village, an ancient Izuzu belonging to the Bishop. For hours we bounced along over barely-there roads to reach Dennis’ home, a simple cement structure with a tin roof nestled in the forested foothills of the Uluguru Mountains. Along the way, groups of smiling barefoot children chased our car calling out “Mnzungu! Mzungu!” (White person! White person). This familiar chant followed David and me over the next few weeks (and throughout every visit since) as we traveled the country meeting with NGOs (non-government organizations), clergy and non-profit leaders; visiting schools, hospitals and development projects; and witnessing what extreme poverty, resilience, courage and hospitality looks like.

It was then that the vision for Unite was born. Shortly thereafter we launched Unite The World With Africa LLC, a social enterprise under which we operate our Unite Tours Service Safaris, partnering with local outfitters to combine personalized wildlife safaris with opportunities for travelers to discover, learn, share and serve in the field. Under the LLC we have also purchased and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of African product to drive job creation and security for artisans across East Africa and to redefine what ethical fashion looks like here in Ameria. For the first few years we searched for and partnered with existing NGOs who were doing transformative work (and could meet our strict reporting criteria) and drove donor support through them; however, the call to venture farther afield, deeper in the bush, to serve and empower those living in greatest need was too strong, so in 2014 we incorporated our 501c3 Unite The World With Africa Foundation.

***

According to professor of African political thought at Cornell University Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, Africa’s largest crisis today is not a lack of water or food but instead it is a lack of knowledge. In Tanzania alone, there are ~25 million children under the age of 16 (43% of the population) who are eager to learn and desperate to receive an education; however, few will get the opportunity. Unite’s current key programs all now focus on addressing this knowledge crisis by creating and providing access to high-quality education—pre-primary through university—international mentorship and comprehensive life skills programs to empower the growth of leaders who can and will become the positive change agents and thought leaders of tomorrow

The flow of knowledge, of course, goes both ways. I personally have learned countless lessons working in and out of a culture so different than my own, where strangers are regularly welcomed to share last cups of tea, celebrate new life and honor the sick and dying; where there is no perceived need for speed; and where divine intervention is assumed, anticipated and even incorporated into life plans.

In Africa I have witnessed the enormity and complexity of human need and the fall out of good-yet-misguided intentions. I have felt the despair and loneliness of being met by cynicism, judgement and greed and the hope and joy of being met by open hearts and open minds. And I have learned that no matter how humble one’s circumstances, every human has a desire—and a right—to be seen, honored and validated. During a women’s meeting in rural Tanzania, each participant stepped forward to introduce herself... “I am Lightness. I have two children, and one rabbit.” “I am Sarah. I have five children and two goats.” “I am Mary. I have seven children and three cows.” A roar of applause followed each speaker who would then stand a bit taller, smile brightly and soak in the adoration. I think of these lovely women often when I am working with our sponsored children and am reminded me to slow down, be present, listen fully, validate even the smallest of accomplishments and say: “I see you. I hear you. You matter, and I love you.” 

Years ago I traveled with Sister Crispina Mnate, director of the St. Joseph’s Orphans Center, to a boarding school to visit a few of her teenage boys who are sponsored by Unite. When the boys walked to meet us, I noticed their toes sticking through their worn and tattered shoes. Since the school required them to run ~5 miles every morning, I thought it would be nice to buy them each a new pair of sneakers and a new pair school shoes. Sister Crispina reprimanded me. “Anne Wells,” she said sternly. “No more than one pair each. You must never take away their struggle.” Time and time again, I have experienced the wisdom in these words: More is not always better and easy can undermine. With this in mind Unite is small and focused by design. We are “in it” for the long haul, working closely alongside those we serve with near daily communications, in-country support staff and regular site visits by myself and other Board Members and Advisors not only to protect our investment but to do all that is necessary to achieve our shared greater goal of breaking the complex and multifaceted chains of extreme poverty—one of the greatest threats to Planet Earth today.

I am deeply grateful to each and every one of you who has supported this work in any and all ways, big and small, over this past decade; to our team of Advisors for their time, generosity and expertise; to our Board of Directors for their remarkable commitment and for making it possible for 100% of every donor dollar to be allocated directly to our programs in Africa; and to the couragous souls I have met along the way who have given up everything to live on the frontlines of this work. Together, you fuel my passion and help me resist the occassional tug of fatigue or allure of apathy. May we continue with our individual and collective efforts to love, heal and honor one another and ourselves. 

The stakes are high. All outcomes are possible. 

Yours in service,  
Anne Wells


The Knowledge Crisis

  • Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number (202 million) of children & adolescents on Earth who are in school but not learning the fundamental subjects of reading and math, with nearly 9 out of 10 between the ages of ~6 and 14 not meeting minimum proficiency levels.
  • Of those who complete primary education (~elementary school in the USA) in Tanzania, only 10% each year continue on to secondary school (~middle & high school in the USA), giving Tanzania the lowest secondary enrollment rate in Africa. Of those who do enroll in secondary school, only ~6% will pass their Form 4 Exams to successfully complete lower secondary; and only ~3.2% will enroll in higher secondary to complete their equivilent of an American high school education. 
  • Less than 1% of all Tanzanians complete any form of higher (tertiary) education.

Sources: University of Sussex, World Bank, Human Rights Watch; UNESCO; Girls Education Collaborative; Unicef; Problems Facing Education in Tanzania