Foundations for the Future
Here at BTF, we believe that the power of education works to change lives for the better, whether one has a master’s degree or a primary education. Since 2014, we have been funding Saving Grace, a free school in Arusha, Tanzania. Saving Grace provides education to 72 local children, all of whom come from impoverished families who would otherwise be unable to send their children to school due to the costs of school supplies, uniforms, and other materials. Our approach to education focuses on real world learning, teaching our students not only academics, but also life skills to be used both at home and later in life.
In 2015, it was estimated that 5.7 million adults aged 15 and above were illiterate in Tanzania. Although primary education is mandatory in Tanzania, millions of students are either not attending school or failing to learn the basics of literacy and numeracy. Literacy is a crucial skill for the empowerment of all people. Data shows that higher literacy rates correlate with increased national growth and wealth. Such an outcome is essential for the growth and improvement of Tanzania and other sub-Saharan nations, where approximately 33% of the world’s most impoverished people live. 
Last year, Brighter Tanzania Foundation was able to provide students with a new library and books, helping to further enhance our student’s success both in and out of school. However, books are simply not enough to help these students reach their fullest potential. To exacerbate the problem, many of these students lack the basic facilities that we take for granted and understand to be essential to the health and wellbeing of our own children. A number of these students lack regular access to nutritious food, and often must eat in conditions we would find unacceptable. Currently, the school only provides students with enough space for their lessons, as well a small kitchen and dormitory. Limited by a small, rented rented facility on a modest plot of land, we are unable to provide schooling for students after grade 1. Although our impact is still very much beneficial, we feel that there is so much more we can do to make a difference in the lives of eager students.
To continue growing with the student body, Saving Grace needs to purchase a plot of land. Tanzanian law dictates a minimum of 3 acres in order to offer all primary grades. However, we feel that 3 acres doesn’t provide much in the way of expansion opportunities, and we aim to purchase a total of 10 acres over the course of this campaign.
We have broken our project into three phases. In the first phase, we will purchase the initial 3 acres needed for Saving Grace to become a fully certified primary school. The initial build will include classrooms, dormitories, kitchen, dining hall, library, office, storage, and toilets. We will also incorporate a garden and additional recreational space.
In phase 2, an additional 3 acres will be purchased, and a dozen new classrooms will be added. Further, the existing kitchen and library can be upgraded and expanded at this time.
In the last phase of the project, the final 4 acres of land will be purchased. With the addition of this land, we will be able to provide the school with an athletic facility, computer and science labs, and additional classrooms and dormitories.
What We Need
Building all of this isn’t cheap. Thankfully, the cost to build a new school is much cheaper in Tanzania than it would be in the US. We estimate that the total cost will add up to around roughly $200,000. Although this is by no means a small amount, the benefits it will provide will be seen forever in the lives our students build for themselves, their families, and their community. This amount would provide funding for labor and materials for the school, as well as for the equipment and seeds needed to set up a functioning garden.
Phase 1 of the project will cost approximately $65,000. Of this amount, $54,000 will cover the cost of land. Materials will cost about $10,000, and labor to build the structure will be an additional $8,000. Additional desks and other classroom furnishings will run about $2,000.
With all ambitious projects comes some form of risk. For this one, the biggest risk comes from not raising enough funds to fully build what we need. If this happens, we may be forced to forgo some of our intended upgrades, diminishing the effectiveness of what we hope to accomplish. Additionally, it is often the case that building estimates are often lower than the actual, final expense. To counter that, we will be choosing with great caution how our funds are spent. We will not allow for excess spending in the slightest to ensure that each dollar is used as wisely and efficiently as possible.
Because land will be procured in stages, there is the possibility that someone may purchase the adjacent plot of land, which would greatly hinder our planned expansion. This, thankfully, is fairly unlikely, given the fairly remote location in which we are buying and the rising cost of land throughout Tanzania.
Finally, there is the risk of expanding too quickly. If this happens, we may not be able to afford teacher salaries, food, or books for the students. We will need to review the cost of maintaining the school with each upgrade to keep this from happening.
With each step we plan to take the utmost precaution in order to minimize all risks.
Ways you can help
The best way you can help support our cause is to make a monetary donation of any amount. No matter how small, each donation will directly impact the lives of impoverished students in Tanzania, who will forever be grateful for your generous chance for a better life. If you are unable to donate, we would love for you to follow us on social media and share our campaign on your own pages and feeds. You are more than welcome to use any of our photos and links to help raise awareness!
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UIS Data Centre, “Education: Literacy Rate.” Retrieved from http://data.uis.unesco.org/Index.aspx?queryid=166.
The Borgen Project, “5 Poverty Statistics on Sub-Saharan Africa.” Retrieved from http://borgenproject.org/5-poverty-statistics-on-sub-saharan-africa/.