My family and I were volunteers with MAD in 2010. We have continued to stay involved with this organization because of the sustained impact it has on children, and because of the long term vision it provides. Not only does MAD support the education of disadvantaged children who have suffered the death of one or more parent, as a path out of poverty, but it also teaches them to give back to the community of which they are a part. The organization teaches children true leadership values, fosters a balanced diet in an area of the world where poor nutrition and malnutrition are quite prevalent, and helps provide for the medical needs of the children it supports. The children that MAD sponsors go on to rigorous secondary schools, and even apply to competitive colleges in Tanzania and the U.S. Because this organization has its roots set down locally, in Moshi, it is able to have a large impact on the community it serves in a truly sustainable manner.
Early last year I volunteered with Make A Difference (MAD), a small grassroots organization that is passionate about educating orphans and vulnerable children in Tanzania. I was so inspired by this organization that I took a sabbatical from my business and am volunteering for a year. Now eight months into this assignment I am more impressed than ever. Not only does MAD educate children, they do significant investments in the children's school. This not only supports all current students, but future students and the community.
The children are beautiful, smart, and grateful for the opportunity they've been given. I work closely with Theresa, the founder and Executive Director. She works hard, is creative in fundraising, spends money carefully, and has a vision for growth that will help MAD educate even more children.
Make A Difference has a unique and powerful focus on educating orphans as they provide support to develop them into leaders. I appreciate that they not only provide quality education but also care for the children holistically. This was apparent as I visited Tanzania earlier this year. They not only educate but provide housing, food, clothing, health care, enriching experiences outside of school, and the love and support that have resulted in children who are smart, polite, healthy, happy, and an absolute joy to be with. A focus on finding ways to support the larger community also inspired me. It may be by the children volunteering to help others, planting trees at one of the primary schools, or helping to build a community library that both the children and others can benefit from. So impressed with this non-profit I'm volunteering again next year.
Administrative Assistant (Current Employee)
" Providing quality education is the first and foremost goal for Make A Difference (MAD). Children are sent to private schools where quality education is provided. MAD is also dedicated to providing balanced diets, medical care and sports therapy to the children it supports. Additionally, MAD supports schools by building libraries and technology centers for the schools it sends its kids. MAD must hit high goals and by this way, its contribution to end poverty in Tanzania is great."
I had the great opportunity to volunteer with MAD in May. It was such a great experience meeting the MAD kids, visiting one of their villages, and helping at the Royal School. I could see how grateful the MAD kids were for the opportunities they've received through this org. They are so smart and have such a great attitude despite their difficult pasts. MAD is truly making a difference in their lives!
Make A Difference's attention to each and every orphaned child's education and overall well-being is phenomenal. They truly focus making them productive members of society with education and experiences they otherwise would never have without this organization. They are really Making a Difference in the world! I have been volunteering for many years of my life and I can truly say I am blessed to have found this organization and to be a part of it.
3 years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Make A Difference Now. The work that the Founder, Theresa Grant is doing to help improve the lives of these children with a focus on education is inspirational. The children through education, have been empowered to become whatever it is that they want to be, and have the capability to be lifted out of poverty. Make A Difference is making a positive local impact on the community of Moshi, and Tanzania as a whole. Responsible, Transformative, Inspiring, and Sustainable. Make A Difference Now will always hold a special place in my heart. So much so, I have visited there on 2 occasions . And continue to support their efforts from afar.
Our involvement with Make a Difference happened purely by chance. Please be patient as I tell our story … My husband and I traveled to Tanzania in August of 2013 to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on safari in order to cross a couple of items off our bucket list. We trained for months for our climb and digested every possible scrap of information we could find to help facilitate successfully reaching the summit. While I am pleased to report that we were successful in reaching Uhuru Peak and our safari was truly an amazing experience, what we didn't anticipate or prepare for was the life changing experience we encountered a few miles outside of Moshi at the Kilimanjaro Kids Care Orphanage.
We stumbled upon the orphanage via the Pack for a Purpose website. While I was checking out the Bristol Cottages website, the hotel where we stayed before and after our climb up Kili, I clicked on the Pack for a Purpose link and began to investigate what that organization was all about. I learned that PfaP was affiliated with Bristol Cottages, and that the hotel supported the Kilimanjaro Kids Care Orphanage. We found the current list of needs at the orphanage and then decided that this would be a great mission project for our church to become involved in. I prepared a flyer, and for a couple of Sundays before we left for Africa I did an announcement in front of the congregation. Donations began to pour in. We not only filled up one huge suitcase, but two! We were so excited! We had 102 pounds of donations making the trip to Africa with us!!
Since we arrived at the Kilimanjaro Airport on a Saturday evening and didn't actually start our trek up Kili until Monday morning, I inquired with Gloria Moshi, the owner of Kindoroko Tours (who we booked our trip through), if she could arrange for someone from Bristol Cottages to take us to the orphanage on Sunday so we could deliver our supplies in person. Gloria graciously volunteered to take us herself – she picked us up on Sunday afternoon and personally drove us out to the orphanage, stayed there with us for the afternoon, and returned us to Bristol Cottages! When our car pulled up at the orphanage, we were immediately greeted by the smiling faces of children spilling out the front door. We were hugged over and over and over again. And not just any hugs. These were the kind of hugs where the kids just kind of melted into your embrace. Yes, we were already fighting back tears and we hadn't even got through the front door!
All the kids gathered in one of the rooms where the seats were arranged in a circle around the edge of the room. Each beautiful child stood up and introduced themselves in English -- stating their name, how old they were and what they wanted to do when they grew up. Mark and I then introduced ourselves, and we were able to show the kids where we were from (Indianapolis, Indiana) on a map of the world that was painted on one of the walls.
We then began passing out the supplies we brought with us to the kids. We had soccer balls, tennis balls, backpacks, lots of shoes in all different sizes for both boys and girls, medicines, vitamins, personal care items, bath towels, solar calculators, pencils, pens, rulers, etc. Each child was so happy to receive something new, and lots of smiles and hugs were exchanged!
After everything was passed out, the kids wanted to know if we would play football - soccer to us in the U.S. We had to break in those new soccer balls, you know! We spent the next couple of hours playing with the kids in the yard in back of the orphanage. We kicked the soccer ball around for a little bit, but quickly figured out that we were out of our league! Those kids can definitely play soccer! Being from Indiana where basketball reigns supreme, Mark spotted the basketball goal and felt more adept with that sport. While Mark was shooting baskets with a few boys, a young boy named Peter wanted me to throw a soccer ball back and forth with him. Peter kept wanting to throw the ball faster and faster, and then we got two balls going back and forth at the same time. I think he likes to play goalie.
Towards the end of our visit, we all gathered together in a circle in the backyard and the kids sang some songs for us. One song involved lots of repetitive clapping and dance moves. We tried our best, but I think the kids were pretty amused at the Americans with no rhythm! LOL! After the songs, one amazing young man stepped forward and spoke on behalf of all the kids. He spoke in English -- very articulate for his age -- and thanked us for the supplies we brought and for spending time with them. Once again, we found ourselves fighting back tears as said goodbye and drove away.
A little over two weeks later we were back home in Indiana and couldn’t stop thinking of those beautiful children. So, I got on my computer and began to investigate the orphanage further. That is when I discovered the phenomenal work that Make a Difference Now is doing. I found the MAD website and read about Theresa Grant and the organization’s history. I shared it all with my husband, and what we read and learned further solidified our desire to help.
Through the amazing work of MAD, the children at the Kilimanjaro Kids Care Orphanage all have amazing spirit and hope. Their smiles are contagious. They are all good students and are working hard to make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the lives of other Tanzanians.
The local community surrounding the orphanage is benefiting from the ongoing support and assistance provided by MAD as well. In addition to supporting and educating the children at the orphanage, a library/technology center, cultural center, science lab, outdoor educational trips for the children, libraries at the schools that the children attend, and a sports program are just a few of MAD’s projects. All this is possible because of MAD and its philosophy of changing lives through education. The world needs more organizations like MAD. People have an inherent desire to help, and MAD offers many opportunities to do just that.
Many blessings to all who work to Make a Difference!
I've been involved with MAD since 2012. What initially started out as a mere orphanage has now become a transformational organization in the Moshi area.
In 2012 I was won over the many opportunities MAD's progam provided to interact with the children it supported. in 2014, I was impressed with the impact it has achieved in the Moshi area overall via the Public Library program and the technology center. MAD is truly inspirational!
Thank you for everything that you do!
I spent time earlier this year in Feb / March with MAD. Theresa is an amazing force of life! An inspiration for both the volunteers and the children. I worked with the children closely for about 4 days and spent time with Theresa as well discussing how to ensure that the children get through to college. I was impressed by how far-sighted she was - she even had a spreadsheet with the education costs going all the way through 2020! I've kept in touch with MAD since and watched how she takes her charges along with her though the ups and down of life - so refreshing!
Writing this as a past volunteer and current donor. Couldn't be happier with the work MAD is doing. Having worked with a few other orphan and/or education support programs, I can say this is light years ahead. I was happy to donate funds because with MAD, I know exactly where the funds are going. 5-star, for sure.
I've had the great opportunity and honor to work with Make a Difference NOW since 2013, and the experience has truly been life-changing!
Initially, I traveled to Tanzania in 2013 to meet the 22 children that MAD supports through education, shelter, and a family environment. That experience was so impactful, as I was able to see how transformational the work MAD does is to the lives of these deserving kids. The kids are intelligent, educated, kind, warm, and, most striking, HAPPY, despite having experienced so much loss and hardship.
Seeing first-hand the impact MAD is able to make has shaped me into a committed and grateful volunteer. Since my first visit, I've participated in the Machu Picchu 2014 fundraising climb, and am currently the group leader for the upcoming Patagonia 2016 fundraising climb. Through my company, Salesforce, I've worked to spread the word about this great organization, participating in information sessions and being interviewed for their corporate responsibility video. We've organized company-wide Bake Sales and bartending events to fundraise for MAD, donated iPads to the school and orphanage MAD supports, and helped spread the word about upcoming volunteer opportunities.
The reason for my commitment and passion has everything to do with the impact I see MAD make, the value the organization brings to the lives of these 22 children, and ultimately, to the world! As an organization, MAD has its heart in the right place, and the dedication and action behind it to make things happen and TRULY make a difference. I have no doubt that this organization has single-handedly TRANSFORMED the lives of these kids, as well as the many volunteers, employees, interns, board members, and donors lucky enough to be a part of it. I am endlessly inspired by the work MAD does, and honored to be able to help in any way.