As far as years go, 2015 has been one of the fastest yet for all of us at JBFC. It is hard to know where the time has gone. As I sit here, thinking back on all that has been accomplished thanks to your generous support, it’s clear that things have been moving here at JBFC this year!
The first thing that jumps out when I think about this year is our first class of graduating secondary students. Twenty-eight students walked the stage on December 4th to receive their diplomas. These students have been trailblazers… they were also our very first 7thgrade class five years ago. They have been the leaders of our school- and were the first ones in each class to set the 100% pass rate on all national exams- a fact we are still able to boast this year!
JBFC’s Joseph & Mary Schools is proud of its accomplishments, but we continue to set our sights higher. This year we committed to developing the whole students and making sure no child gets left behind. Mr. Samo took on a new role as the dean of students and is leading our new office of student development. That office is charged with developing our technology program, character education and improving literacy. I believe all of the efforts put in place this year will really pay dividends in 2016.
Our school also got a big boost from our science-loving supporters. You all have done so much to help outfit Joseph & Mary’s new science lab. You’ve donated supplies and lab equipment. And our friends at Grumeti Reserve stepped up to completely renovate our lab, transforming it from a simple classroom to a fully-functioning lab, complete with new lab tables, sinks, and burners.
JBFC’s school isn’t the only part of campus that’s gotten spruced up in 2015. Thanks to our friends at 200 Orphanages, the girls got new furniture, a new storage shed, and a fresh coat of paint for the dorms. This year our family is also enduring a bittersweet milestone as we are currently in the process of saying farewell to our eight graduating residential girls.
Now that they have completed Form 4 and are continuing on their education, they will soon be beginning the next phase of their lives off of JBFC’s campus. But this isn’t really good-bye. JBFC is committed to helping these girls achieve their goals. They won’t find out their exam results until April of 2016. In the meantime, they’ll be living at a JBFC transition home in nearby Mwanza and taking extra classes to make sure they’re ready to continue their education. While I am so proud of these young women, we will definitely miss their leadership on our campus in Kitongo. We will be extremely excited to welcome even more girls to the JBFC family in 2016!
JBFC’s farm continues to provide tons of farm fresh meals week in and week out (over 400 pounds of fresh produce weekly), and our trees continue to grow big and strong. Thanks to your support and the hard work of our farm workers and kitchen staff, we were able to serve more than 220,000 meals to our students, staff and residential girls this year.
JBFC’s clinic also hit a milestone, celebrating a full year of improving the health of our community. Our clinic was able to treat more than 1,100 people this past year! All of these things on campus were made possible by your support.
2015 was also a great year for our volunteer program. We welcomed our first college study abroad partner, Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, NY) in January. And we continued to benefit from the hard work and generous hearts of more than 75 volunteers from all over the country. They have been instrumental in farm projects, tutoring at school, improving literacy, and of course, building relationships with our girls and staff.
JBFC also welcomed two new staff members in the US. Alyssa Doty is nearing the end of her first year as JBFC’s Office Manager. And Diana Booren joined the team as our new volunteer coordinator. Both Diana and Alyssa are making sure we can promptly serve you in the U.S. and grow our impact in Tanzania.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without you. Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers and support. You have helped us truly change the world in 2015. And we’re just getting started.
2016 will mark another major milestone for JBFC. We will celebrate ten years of ending poverty and changing lives in rural Tanzania. We wish you the best as you each of you wrap up 2015 and look forward to seeing you and sharing an incredible year in 2016!