Megan Foo's Blog

Featured Community Member: Ben Whelan, Tanzanian Children's Fund

Founded in 2004, TCF began supporting a home and family for a number of children living in impoverished circumstances. Today, TCF continues to support a loving home and family for 116 children living at RVCV, while running a number of successful community projects including two schools, a free clinic and a microfinance program for over 450 clients!
[b]What inspires you to work with The Tanzanian Children’s Fund?[/b]
Ben Whelan: A number of things, but the main one would have to be the integrity of TCF’s work. TCF sets realistic goals – based on the needs of the surrounding community – and then works diligently to achieve those goals.
[b]How has The Tanzanian Children’s Fund fulfilled its mission of improving the lives of marginalized children in Tanzania?[/b]
Ben Whelan: TCF has and continues to improve the lives of Tanzanian children in a number of ways. We improve their access to medical care, reducing a wide range of medical maladies. We provide children with the means to obtain an advanced education, meaning they can grow into successful adults providing for families of their own. And we financially empower families through a successful microfinance program, enabling families to raise their standard of living.
[b]On a personal level, what does giving mean to you?[/b]
Ben Whelan: Giving means being aware of those in need and choosing to donate your time or resources to them, in a manner that helps alleviate their need.
[b]Can you tell us more about The Tanzanian Children’s Fund's educational programs?[/b]
Ben Whelan: TCF sponsors a number of children and young adults through various levels of education. Our two main programs are the on-going improvement of two local government schools. We have partnered with Gyetighi Primary School for a number of years, 10 years ago the graduation rate was less than 20%, for the past 3 years it has been 100%. In October 2013, we began a similar partnership with Oldeani Secondary School. With over 700 students between both schools, there are substantially more young people obtaining an education now, and for years to come.
[b]How does The Tanzanian Children’s Fund measure impact?[/b]
Ben Whelan: In a number of quantifiable ways. The difference in pass rate for the Standard 7 National Exam at Gyetighi: 19% to 100% in 10 years. The high percentage of microfinance clients who have successfully repaid and subsequently increased their loans over 6 years. The general health of the local population which has now been improved to such a degree that the Tidlund Foundation, no longer feel like their free health screenings are required here. And also the academic success of the 116 children living at RVCV. These are just a few examples of the many ways in which TCF measures impact!
[b]What are your hopes for The Tanzanian Children’s Fund’s future?[/b]
Ben Whelan: We foresee the future of TCF’s impact rippling across northern Tanzania for generations to come. We hope that, the 116 children who call RVCV home will go on to become successful, influential and well meaning citizens in our surrounding area. Personally helping peers and community members to break free from existing cycles of poverty. Once the renovation of Oldeani Secondary School is complete, generations of individuals will have access to a quality education at the primary [i]and[/i] secondary level. Enabling them to break themselves free from poverty, as well as their extended families over subsequent years!

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