The Ota Initiative: Take Two

Welcome back everyone!

Here is an email update I sent out last week before leaving for Tanzania. Sorry for the delay in posting, but here is a look at what we were up to this spring and what awaits us this summer!

I hope you all enjoyed your spring and are looking forward to another exciting Ota program this summer. Since I last wrote to you all in February, I have been busy working with our partners to ensure that we can run yet another successful program this June. Now, in just one short week, I will be heading back to Tanzania to prepare for our second program. Before then, I wanted to let you all know what we have been up to these past couple of months and what we aim to accomplish in the months to come.

First, I have excellent news: Ota will be expanding its elementary school-break program! Due to popular demand, instead of running the program for two weeks as we did in December, we will now be running it for three weeks. As you know, last program we explored the relationship between living and nonliving things with a specific focus on the needs of plants and animals. This next program we will expand on this by exploring the importance of water and air. We have many exciting activities planned, including planting a tree and hatching tadpoles. Along with focusing on our science theme, we also will continue to incorporate art projects and leadership lessons designed by the organization Global Visions Empowerment.

I am very happy that we have developed such a strong syllabus because the upcoming program will be even more important than the first one. For me, it is not enough to have run one successful program; I want The Ota Initiative to grow and expand for many years to come. However, it simply is not sustainable for me to continually return to Kayanga to run The Ota Initiative, so this will be the last time I return for the whole program. Whereas I directed the running of the last program, during this next session I will take a back seat as our head teacher and Amizade’s site director take over the running of the program. I will of course offer assistance, but this will be a test of our organizational structure and whether or not the program can continue on without me there. I have complete faith in our staff, and I am really excited to see them take control during this next program.

Once we run a second successful elementary school-break program, we can then look to expand into other areas, such as providing after-school programs and secondary school-break programs. That is for the future though. For now, we are focused on providing the best possible experience for our 25 students this June, something that would not be possible without the support of many people and organizations. For now, I would specifically like to thank the All People Be Happy Foundation. APBH provided funding for our first program in December, and it has now been kind enough to award us another grant to run our second program this summer.

The Ota Initiative is also indebted to you, the person reading this right now. Whether you provided monetary, program or moral support, we owe our success to your actions. If you are able, we ask that you once again express your support for our program by making a donation here. Please note that this link is on the website of Amizade, Ota’s sponsoring organization, but by clicking the link at the bottom of the page your donation will go directly to Ota, not another Amizade program. Even with APBH’s generous support, we still need a few hundred more dollars to run the quality program that our students deserve. Every dollar makes a difference, and I would like to personally thank you for whatever contribution you can make to this program I love.

I think I will end this here before I get too sappy, but please continue to look for more Ota updates in the weeks to come. Running our first successful program in December was a major highlight of my life, and I am even happier that Ota is able to return to Kayanga for a second program. It will be an exciting next couple of months, and I hope that you will enjoy reading the news of our progress just as much as I will enjoy writing.

 

Goodbye for now, and thank you once again.

Rebecca Gailey 

The Ota Initiative

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