Barbara Baggett with JB Journeys traveled with Moja Tu and shared this letter with us of her experience.
“Much has been written recently about negative repercussions from foreign aid. As a donor to various organizations, I have been personally concerned that my donations are actually beneficial. Unknowingly, well meaning donors may be contributing to projects that actually stifle advancement.
After spending a week in Kenya with Moja Tu founders and donors, I feel certain that the organizations’ efforts will be tremendously beneficial to the children of the Tania Integrated Rehabilitation Center (a special needs & main stream orphanage and school near Nairobi.) My perception of 2 underlying philosophies that impress me are:
1. The success of educational opportunities is dependent on fostering confidence and self esteem.
2. The goal of assisting the Tania Center and it’s children is to foster self sufficiency.
A damaging effect of aid is the creation of dependance. Moja Tu is working with the founders and teachers of the Center to develop a sustainable community. Specifically, goals include: improving the school infrastructure to attract and retain good teachers and students from the surrounding community that can pay for school, recruiting agri & aquaculture consultants to increase yield in order to create cash crops. Funding scholarships is basic, but does not guarantee the success of these students.
The orphans at Tania Center come from unbelievably tragic situations, which for various reasons, left them abandoned. Moja Tu’s model is to create one on one relationships between the donor (sponsor) and the student. Their core belief is that personal encouragement will foster the self esteem and confidence necessary for these children to make the most of their educational opportunity. Sponsors are encouraged to form a bond with their student, mentor them, discuss viable, realistic career options with secondary school students and always spread the messages of hope: Do your best….work hard…make the most of your education opportunity…You are valued.
The young woman I am sponsoring, age 14, ran to meet me, embracing me, showering me with gratitude. When she received her new uniform (they are required of school children in Kenya), her sense of pride was palpable. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to assist not only with financial aid, but loving guidance. I am so looking forward to the future, when the success of Moja Tu is measured by self supporting, educated, contributing members of the Kenyan – and world – community.
With gratitude to Moja Tu – Barbara Baggett, JB Journeys.”