Thursday, December 11, 2014


This week the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winners accepted their prizes. One, 17 years old and female, and the other, 60 and male, champion the same cause: the human right of children to an education.

In Malala's words: 
“(The Nobel Prize) is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change... I'm here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice... It is not time to pity them. It is not time to pity them. It is time to take action, so it becomes the last time ... that we see a child deprived of education."

In Mr. Satyarthi's words:  
“I have come here to share the voices and dreams of our children, because they are all our children... We live in an age of rapid globalization... We are connected through high-speed Internet. We exchange goods and services in one single global market. Thousands of flights every day connect us to every corner of the globe.  But there is one serious disconnect. It is the lack of compassion...Let us globalize compassion.”

EdPowerment's Directors are often asked to explain - or defend - why we serve those in Tanzania, rather than the U.S.  The answer is what Mr. Satyarthi called global compassion: 
  • The youth we serve have been excluded from public education at the age of 13.  There is no school for them to attend.
  • The youth we serve live without running water, heat, electricity and sometimes food.  They cannot study at night and they cannot do anything productive during the day.
  • The youth we serve have no toilets, beds, closets, or other basics of advanced societies.
  • The youth we serve cannot get a job to help themselves- not even a low paying restaurant or retail job. They have no work opportunities.
  • The youth we serve cannot go to a public library to read a book or access a computer.  Most have never touched a computer.  Most attended primary schools with few or no teachers to teach basic reading and math.

This is global compassion.  This is why we work with discarded teens in one set of villages in Tanzania.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Year-end is the usual time for taking stock.  And so it is for EdPowerment. This year, in addition to focusing on our students and our work for the intellectually disabled, we also want to consider and share our collateral impact.

EdPowerment supports a staff of 7 full or part time Tanzanians at the Kilimahewa Educational Centre.  The salaries of each of these individuals have exponential meaning to them, their families (often extended) and even their communities.

  • Both female staff members (our head mistress and our cook) shoulder the responsibility of their children.  Their incomes provide food, childcare and schooling where there would otherwise be hunger and dejection. Instead of depending on other family members to help them get by, they support themselves and even help others.  Our headmistress, for example, has taken responsibility for one of our sponsored students for several years now.  
    Rebecca learning how to use teaching aids from Kerri and Jillian
    Rebecca teaching English
             Mama Asha (Neema) at our outdoor kitchen (jiko)
    Students enjoying her makande
  • Our chicken project and crop production manager is actually the father of one of our sponsored students.  For many years he ran a vegetable and sundries stand at a well located corner outside of Moshi.  A capricious government order earlier this year determined to clean up these stalls - although his stall was always well maintained.  In a sweep, his stall was destroyed and all its inventory taken.  He was crushed.  He now can once again provide for his family with dignity.  He is a real asset to Kilimahewa because of his loyalty and work ethic.
  • Our water project guard, who struggles with his own destructive habits and his wife's mental illness, now contributes in a positive way to his family.
  • Two of Kilimahewa's other teachers are exceptional young men.  One, who also works at a nearby private school, has been able to achieve real financial security for his family because of his extra income.  He also offers our students the perspective of an experienced teacher who knows how to coach a class on test-taking, study habits and critical thinking.  Our science teacher has an enthusiasm and willingness to learn that is contagious in his classrooms. In a country of unemployed college students, EdPowerment is offering a promising future to this promising young man.
    Godlisten in the foreground demonstrating how to solve a problem to our students.
In addition to these valued staff members, EdPowerment employs our older sponsored students during breaks between secondary school, high school and university studies.  Instead of continuing as dependents on families who cannot feed and clothe them, these young adults make a small salary and begin to learn how to use - and how to save money, a skill mostly lacking in Tanzania.  While teaching their younger counterparts, our sponsored student leaders learn how to organize and present themselves as professionals.

EdPowerment's impact transcends its direct educational programs, long-term sponsorships and workshops for special needs populations.  WE OFFER CRITICAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES TO HARD-WORKING INDIVIDUALS IN A COUNTRY MARKED BY UNEMPLOYMENT AND WASTED TALENT.