It is easy to think of 2020 as only a challenging year as the Corona-19 virus pandemic impacted our school and home operations in Tanzania and our usual approaches to fundraising here at home. But, in truth, 2020 was also a year with some exciting milestones and accomplishments.
2020 marked and celebrated 10 years since the founding of the Precious Orphan’s Children’s home, 5 years from opening the Precious English Medium School, and our first secondary school graduates.
It was also a year of building. We had a substantial investment in the music program with the purchase of a large inventory of instruments and volunteer work with students and teachers on music education. We completed the Installation and expansion of internet access at the school to facilitate virtual education programs. There was a significant expansion of our farming capacity providing self-sufficiency for school and home meals and permitting support to school families affected by the pandemic. Finally, the breaking ground and beginning construction for a secondary school to provide Precious quality continuing education for our primary school graduates.
Our foray into virtual fundraising with a Zoom event confirmed the commitment and generosity of our remarkable donor base which, as always, is what makes possible everything we do and accomplish.
I have had the great pleasure and satisfaction of leading the Precious Project Board during 2019. My wife, Betsey, and I have been involved with Precious Project since 2012, before its formation as a 501 (c)3 foundation. We sponsor a child in the Home, John, who is in the 7th grade this year. His personal development from a lost child wandering at the bus station for days, to a happy, healthy, and accomplished young man is a metaphor for the whole project's growth and success. John's transformation reflects the true power driving our success - a heart connection creating a tangible transformation.
Along with educating and caring for high-risk children, we continued to improve and expand our physical facilities this past year. I hope that you will enjoy reading more about our year's achievements in this report. As always, our success rests on the foundation of your generosity as supporters of and donors to our project.
It has been an honor to serve as Board Chair of the Precious Project during 2018.
What we have accomplished is far beyond anything we dared to dream was possible! Now that they are free from the worries of food insecurity and lack of clean water, our students are becoming the creative thinkers that we hoped they would grow to be. We have continued to advance innovative, creative learning using modern technology. For example, our students use iPads which are integrated into the curriculum and powered by the PV Solar panels that adorn our campus. All of this in a village that just eight years ago had no supply of electricity!
As a Board we have decided to continue the journey that we have started and voted to build a secondary school. Our own Precious Secondary School will encourage our graduates to continue the development of values learned at Precious Primary School.
Thank you for your support and inspiration. Without it none of our progress would be possible!
Every major decision regarding Precious Project is the result of hours of collaborative discussions. In this way we learn from one another, listen to the community, and together make the difficult choices about how to invest limited resources. One of our first joint projects in Nshupu resulted in HIV/AIDS education and testing for hundreds of residents. Over time, we learned that the most pressing needs for these poor families were access to high quality education, adequate nutrition, and improved economic conditions for the largely female heads of household. We continually benchmark our efforts against the best models we can find in Tanzania. This has prompted an extensive investment in teacher training.
Our community ownership model ensures that everyone – from the youngest child in Nshupu to the village elders – embraces Precious Project as their own as much as it is a shared endeavor. As we look to the future, we feel fortunate to do so with a remarkably devoted group of donors. We are grateful to have earned their confidence and we look forward to sharing this adventure with old and new friends alike.
- Susanne Rheault and Gil Williams