Dearest Friends of Ota,
Oh my, I was about to post an update when I realized that the last update I wrote never made its way from our newsletter on to this blog! I blame the sugar-induced comma I enter every year during the holiday season. I will post the most recent update in another day or two, but for now treat yourselves to the late (but still wonderful) update I wrote in December about our wonderful employees and donors:
The final countdown has begun! In less than one week our students will travel back to Kambarage Primary School and begin their third school break program with us. Last newsletter I updated you on our new syllabus, so I want to take the opportunity now to send you some exciting administrative updates — and no, “exciting administrative updates” is not an oxymoron when you work with a program as dynamic as The Ota Initiative!
I received wonderful news from our head teacher in Tanzania this past week that we will not have to recruit any new group leaders for this upcoming program. Employing high school and college students is an excellent way to promote youth development and help students pay for their school fees, but one down side is that we will experience some turnover as students graduate from school or move to different areas. However we will have ZERO turnover this program as five group leaders from our two previous programs have signed up to help us run our third program.
I was thrilled to receive this news for several reasons. The first is obviously that we will benefit from having experienced group leaders with a strong understanding of the program and how it is run. Not only will things run more smoothly, but the group leaders will be better acquainted with Ota’s teaching methods and will thus do a better job of working with our students and teaching them the materials.
The fact that our employees continue returning to us also shows that they find their work with Ota to be meaningful and worthwhile. Some of our group leaders for the first program could not work the second program for personal reasons, but they now have come back a year later to work the third program. Some of our leaders had the option to stay at school over break but instead are travelling across the country to stay with family and work with Ota. It is extremely rewarding to see that our staff values the mission of this organization and want to remain involved.
It is also extremely rewarding to see how much you all, the people on this email list, value Ota’s work. You live thousands of miles from Tanzania and will likely never meet out students but still you give to our program. Many of you are repeat donors who have donated to every single program we have run. Many of you have given hundreds – even thousands – of dollars to us. Many of you do not have the ability to donate large amounts of money (don’t worry, I don’t either), but you have given what you can simply because you care, and that is truly amazing. I am floored by the generosity of donations Ota has received these last few weeks, and I am not lying our exaggerating in any way when I say we would not be running this upcoming program without your contributions. There is still time to give – and please, consider making a donation to help us offer even more resources to our students! – but I would like to thank you all for making the third program of The OtaInitiative financially possible.
I hope you all enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving with good people and good food, and I hope you realize how truly valuable you are to the work we do.
Best wishes and many thanks,
The Ota Initiative