My husband and I went to Mainsprings Kitongo campus in June of 2019. We did not have a lot of information or expectations when we arrived, we were just ready to make an impact in Tanzania and hopefully change someone's life. From the moment we arrived we quickly figured out that we would be the ones changed. The first day we were on campus we learned about the four pillars and the importance of each one. We dug into the why for each pillar and learned how they create an impact on the area now and will continue to for years. The first one is refuge. Mainsprings girls are truly a family, they love and respect each other. We had such a happy feeling when we were around the girls and wanted to learn from them. They have a very simple life from what we are accustom to in the US, we realized how privileged we really are. Next is education. We got to spend time in the school and help with projects. The students were eager to learn and grow as students. They loved to read, do math and write stories. Healthcare is the third pillar. There is a nurse/doctor on campus and the girls were very well manicured. The last pillar is Permaculture. It is amazing how the girls and staff have adopted this method of farming and will continue to live off of the land. The children are learning life long techniques that they will be able to put to use once they have their own land. When we left the campus we realized what an amazing two weeks we had just experienced. There is an incredible amount of support and love that goes into making Mainsprings such an amazing organization. Mainsprings has hired local people to run the campus-it is truly for Tanzanians by Tanzanians. We have decided we will continue to do what we can to support this mission and can't wait to see where it goes.
Hi, I am a board member but also a volunteer. I bring my HS students from the school I teach at each summer to volunteer at MS. I have been doing this for many years. The tremendous, life-changing feedback from participants and parents is superior.
I visited JBFC this past summer on a school trip for two weeks and I can say, without a doubt, that those were the two best weeks of my life. The JBFC community immediately welcomed us into their lives, culture, and home. We all instantly fell in love with the place and all of the girls. Witnessing JBFC’s mission in action of alleviating rural poverty in the area was eye-opening and inspiring. I was so impressed with the openness of the girls, as well as the staff when letting us into their homes for a meal in the local area off-campus. I have definitely changed as a person because of this opportunity and hope to return soon! I strongly recommend volunteering here because the love and support that you will feel at Mainsprings is surpassed by no other organization.
This past August I traveled with 9 colleagues from the Episcopal School of Dallas to visit Mainspring's campus and work with the teachers of Joseph and Mary School. After getting a taste of their volunteer experience, we gave a professional development working of pedagogical techniques with their staff and then partnered with their teachers in adapting these techniques to their classrooms. This was a really amazing experience that exposed me to some wonderful children and really committed adults. It made me ask myself some important questions about my approach to teaching and the assumptions I make about Africa.
I had a great experience with MainSprings and the Joseph and Mary School. Everyone at the school including teachers, administrators, students and the employees of Papa's restaurant, all made our group feel welcome.
I went with a group of teachers to their campus in Tanzania. We were able to connect with the girls home, the teachers at Joseph and Mary Primary and Secondary school, and experience Papa's restaurant. This organization is Mission driven. No matter where we were on campus, we could see the goals of the organization guiding the operations. It was all about building capacity in children, students, staff, and community. We were treated like family and we were challenged to share in the mission and carry it forth in our school. I look forward to future partnership and volunteer opportunities with the organization.
Rise in the morning with the sound of birds chirping and sunrise over Lake Victoria. After that, a volunteer gets to see the real beauty of the place-the optimism, affection, and enthusiasm of the children. There are constant reminders about the true meaning of life-conversations, laughter, teaching, learning, and the appreciation of our good earth.
My 17-year-old daughter and I spent 8 days at Mainsprings in June, 2018 - it was transformational and we can't stop talking about it. The girls at Mainsprings are extraordinarily smart, kind and hard-working. They are such pure inspiration to be around. And they treat you like a family member and shower you with love. What a joy it was to spend our afternoons with the girls on art projects, reading, at prayer hour (non-denominational and run by the girls), eating meals and just talking and playing. We worked in the kitchen in the mornings and in the garden. We learned a great deal about permaculture and worked on our Swahili. We befriended teachers there as well and had the honor of having dinner with Mr. Kitula and his family at his home. I wish every child in the US could spend a week at Mainsprings - it's a brilliant reciprocal learning and growing process about what is important in life and how to lead a meaningful life.
I took a group of students to JBFC twice. In both cases it was an absolutely wonderful and life-changing experience for my students. Mainsprings has really thought through their work and are addressing the issues of poverty in that section of Tanzania in such a thoughtful, complete and sustainable way. From the home for the girls, to the schools, the permaculture farm, the community service, the engagement with the local community, their plans for the future and so much more, Mainsprings is truly partnering with the local community to build a better future. I was particularly impressed to hear the founders and leaders speak about how they felt they were doing their job if they developed the organization to such an extent that the westerners lost their jobs as local Tanzanians took over all aspects of the organization. Further, Mainspring does an excellent job of educating the volunteers (such as my students) about their work, building a true respect for the work of the organization and even more importantly, for the girls and the local community. This is not just voluntourism, but rather a real immersion into a culture and an organization doing transformative work. I teach a course on poverty to high school students, and we study why/how certain NGOs are effective (or not), and Mainsprings checks every box of how to make aid effective. It is a wonderful lesson for my students to see such change in action.
I have volunteered on campus for 3 summers now so I can truly say that Mainsprings is a second home to me. The people at Mainsprings are what brings me back each summer because I have never been around so many positive, genuinely happy people. As a volunteer I get to work in the school, cook with the mammas, work on the farm, be a reading buddy, and hang out with the girls. It is amazing to see how much the campus has improved and how much the girls have grown up each year I return. This past summer I learned all about the new campus Mainsprings is building and I hope to one day be a volunteer at the Kahunda campus.
I had the pleasure of working with Mainsprings JBFC for three, going on four, years now and have only high praise for their organization, community, and programs. Having travelled to Mwanza, Tanzania with large groups of students on three occasions now, each year has been a worthy excursion, and the students I have brought have consistently had a wonderful experience, both deeply personal and eye opening. The staff and directors have in place a consistent and reliable program, involving the students at JBFC and members of the Kitongo community. They also have allowed for flexibility in our program with them and provided opportunities for personal growth through a variety of on-campus activities, classes, and meals. It has been worthwhile working with Mainsprings and their commitment to their students and community is the same for their visiting volunteers. It is exciting to know their hard work and effort over the years has had an impact on many young lives, but also their greater community, leading to their welcomed expansion beyond JBFC. We look forward to many years ahead working with Mainsprings and highly recommend them to those seeking a reliable and vetted volunteer program in the Mwanza region of Tanzania.
There was once a dream that was Mainsprings (JBFC). It began simply as a promise in the heart and mind of founder Chris Gates. The promise was to help the youth in need in Tanzania and eastern Africa - to give them education and a future. This process would help to diminish the scourge of poverty in eastern Africa.
Now that dream has progressed into two Mainsprings campuses in Tanzania. However, more than just changing the lives of the youth in Tanzania and eastern Africa, these campuses are profoundly changing the lives of all of the people there - staff, volunteers, and students alike. This is, in turn, changes more of Africa and the world at large in vastly positive ways. The ripple effect of the uplifting and hope is magnificent.
And that’s what drew me. The longer I live, the more I am convinced that people, relationships, and experiences are what matter the most. Mainsprings fits with this belief I hold. There is great joy in serving others and inspiring them to hope for a brighter future.
Proverbially, Mainsprings is not just giving the people it serves a fish to eat but also teaching them to fish by providing them with marketable skills for life. Efficiency with exemplary stewardship of resources is paramount. One can feel very sound about the investment of time, talent, and treasure in Mainsprings. I am thankful to know Chris Gates and this organization and to serve as a Board member, volunteer, and, most importantly, friend.
I am ready to do my utmost to help Mainsprings accomplish its goals. With continued support from like-minded donors and volunteers, this dream will never end.
I went to volunteer at Mainsprings this June and had the absolute best and most life changing experience! The first moment when I opened the car doors, I was greeted by all of the girls singing and laughing and smiling. From then I knew it was going to be an amazing trip. I spent two weeks with the best girls in the entire world. Cleaning, cooking, working on the farm, seeing Sakuma drummers, and just hanging with the girls. This organization is changing the lives of so many with their girls home housing 48 girls and their private school! I can't imagine not going back next year and already miss it!!
As a volunteer at JBFC, my experience was more than I could have ever asked for. From farming, to cooking, to spending time with the girls, everyday in Tanzania was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. Although I traveled to JBFC to help the girls who live there, they were the ones who ended up helping and inspiring me. I continue to think about JBFC and the lasting memories of the beautiful smiles and overwhelming happiness we shared together in Tanzania.
Our family has been connected to Mainsprings: JBFC since 2012. Founder, Chris Gates is an alum at my children's school in Tulsa. One day after hearing Chris speak to the student body, my daughter came home and said she wanted to go to Tanzania. Well, five years later and four trips to the Tanzania campus, you could say our family is committed. I am amazed, in awe, and inspired by the work and vision of Chris Gates. I become emotional when I think about what would become of these girls if they did not have the security of Mainsprings. Not only do the girls benefit from the Mainspring family, but also, the people of Kintongo, Tanzania. Locals are employed, children are educated, health issues addressed, and new farming techniques implemented. What a beautiful community of people!
My wife and my four adult children and I had the pleasure to spend a few days on the campus of Mainsprings: Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children in June, 2017 in Tanzania. We were able to witness first-hand the great work being done by this organization. Their mission is 4-pronged, with the ultimate goal to eliminate extreme poverty in Tanzania. We witnessed how their home for disadvantaged girls helps these girls understand what it means to have a loving, caring family. We experienced how their school is educating hundreds of local boys and girls throughout their region. We got to see how their healthcare organization is bolstering their health and well-being, and also how their on-site perma-culture farm is helping, not only those in Mainsprings' home and school, but also those in the surrounding community, learn better ways of producing what they consume and sustaining it. It's an absolutely wonderful organization, doing great work. I'm proud to be associated with the organization, not only as a donor, but also a board member and one who provides professional services.
We've known Chris Gates, Founder and Exec Dir of JBFC, for years and years. He is one of the most dedicated and caring people I've ever been privileged to know. My family and I spent a few weeks on the Mwanza JBFC campus a few summers ago, volunteering with the students, Mamas, and staff. We planted crops, constructed bunny hutches, fed livestock, painted walls and floors, cleaned, harvested, ... while benefiting from a life-changing experience and bonding with the students who were all smiles and very grateful. JBFC has changed countless lives for the better. If you ask, JBFC can tell many success stories about lives they've saved. Literally saved! Children - both girls and boys - women, men.
Since our time on JBFC's campus, we've hosted several fundraisers in our town to support this amazing organization. In fact, one year we raised enough money for JBFC to purchase and install a UV water filtration system across the entire campus, which provides enough safe, clean drinking water for the entire campus AND neighboring communities. We have also made introductions for Chris Gates to various foundations for grants so he can continue his life-changing, life-saving work.
When our boys were in high school, they were required to do 40+ hours of community service before graduation. Our time with JBFC fulfilled those hours - and then some. Both of my boys received the Jefferson Award for community service during their time in high school.
Having visited Mainsprings 2 summers in a row, I have had the privilege of seeing first hand the impact that this organization has made, and continues to make on the people who live and work there, and the people who live nearby. Being there is a feeling that is unmatched by any experience I have had in the US. Mainsprings has undergone a tremendous amount of growth in the past few years. Their growth and desire to change and make themselves a better as an organization is why I am proud to say I have been a part of this organization and the difference that it is making.
What an honor it has been to work with Chris Gates' Mainsprings. The dedication to its mission that Chris and his staff exhibit is truly inspirational. It has achieved so much in the short time since its founding, and it continues to expand today to address needs in rural Tanzania. If you want to be around truly inspiring, brilliant and down to earth people, I highly recommend getting involved. I love the organization's new cookbook A Taste of Tanzania!
I have visited the campus and home for girls a number of times, and have seen firsthand how lives are being changed every day. Girls who had been on the streets or abandoned by family now have a home and family. The school is nationally recognized and educating over 300 Tanzanian students. The farm and agricultural program is thriving and providing employment and training.
Each time I am there I am so moved by all that is happening. Mainspring/JBFC has and continues to make a difference in the lives of the Tanzanian people.
I visited JBFC for the first time this past summer and completely fell in love with it. As an education student, I was so impressed with how they teach the residential girls and the other students at the Joseph and Mary school more than just what they're required. Learning life skills and practical lessons is such a game changer for those kids and JBFC does such an amazing job not just helping them be better students but be better humans. JBFC has my heart!
I have visited JBFC's campus for the past 2 summers in a row and both experiences have been incredibly fulfilling and life changing! This summer (2017) I served as an intern for JBFC, so I had the opportunity to stay on campus for a full 8 weeks and it was no doubt the best 8 weeks of my life. JBFC's holistic approach to alleviating poverty is unique and effective and I was able to witness first hand many of the lives that JBFC is changing as we speak (including my own). The staff, girls, students, and community are so beautiful and happy and the whole campus exudes pure joy! JBFC holds half my heart!!
We have been so very impressed with JBFC. Our two high school daughters visited their campus in Tanzania this past summer and it was life-changing. JBFC's mission to end poverty in rural Africa by providing education, sustainable food, and medicin, to some of the world's most needy and vulnerable children is both noble and pragmatic. Everything we have seen out of JBFC has been top notch. The organization is responsibly run with integrity and transparency. The staff is a compassionate and friendly "family." If you ever doubt how much good ONE PERSON can do in the world, I urge you to learn more about Chris Gates, and his founding and nurturing of JBFC. We are wholly impressed, and look forward to continuing our association, as donors, volunteers, and friends of the JBFC family. Just can't say enough good things about JBFC!
Ever since I heard about JBFC, I've always been wanting to travel to the campus in Tanzania. When I was able to go, it was a dream come true and was more that I could've ever imagined. Prayer time every day was so memorable for me, hearing all of the girls' beautiful voices and worships. Everyday I think about the bright smiles of pure joy from those grateful girls and nothing could make me happier. My experience with JBFC , and the girls at JBFC impacted me greatly in such a positive way. I can't wait to go back!
I have been to JBFC four times, and will continue to go back at every opportunity time gives me! The structure of volunteering at JBFC is a combination of giving the volunteer a life changing experience while actually helping the community. Living conditions are definitely do-able, food is AMAZING, and the girls will change your life. Being apart of the JBFC family is a huge part of my identity and I pray that everyone who has a hunger for helping others and seeing the world gets the opportunity to go to JBFC!
My involvement with JBFC began near its inception. I must say, the vision Chris Gates (JBFC CEO) had at that time seemed, at least to me, almost unattainable. It was a grand vision - to provide a home for orphaned girls that would give love and care to children whose lives were often shattered, to build a school to bring education and life skills to the girls at JBFC and the wider community, to become self-sustaining in terms of farming and permaculture, to bring medical services for the health and well-being of the girls and community, to give the girls at JBFC a bright future. Fast forward to now, all that has been attained and much more. It is a privilege to be on the Board of JBFC. I continue to be amazed at the vision cast for JBFC and thankful to be a small part of making that happen. Lindsay Hurley Fick
My experience with JBFC began with my son's desire to volunteer for JBFC. As I researched the organization, met with the staff, and helped my son prepare for his summer experience, I found this organization to be all that is says that it is. The impact on my child has been remarkable. He is forever changed by his experiences and he fully intends to return to JBFC again. I have since spent time volunteering for JBFC here in Tulsa. I continue to be impressed with this organization. They are doing amazing things in Africa and throughout the world.
I'm a two-time summer volunteer with JBFC. I am unbelievably confident that the work JBFC does is worthwhile and truly impactful. I must say that I most respect JBFC for its unwavering commitment to its mission and its absolute dedication to the people it serves. Further, I am impressed by how much the organization has grown in the past 5 years or so.
JBFC is completely committed to their mission and is an extremely well run non-profit organization. I am always hesitant about international volunteer programs because the opportunity for people acting like tourists in someone else's oppression is very real. However, JBFC mitigates the risk of this happening through educating volunteers and openly discussing expectations for volunteers coming to their campus in Tanzania. Furthermore, their goal of sustainability and their conscience effort to engage the surrounding community in their work shows a cultural sensitivity and a self-awareness that many NGOs lack. The organization highly values and respects their volunteers and provides many volunteering opportunities both for groups and individuals with specialized interests and expertise. The staff members, both in the USA and in Tanzania, are welcoming, knowledgeable, and helpful.
I have recently returned from my third visit to JBFC. My experience with the girls, the students and the organization have changed my life. I never expected that this would become an annual pilgrimage for me but now I can't imagine it not. The girls are incredibly grateful, respectful and passionate. To watch them grow over the years has been a true blessing for me, and they have voices of angles when they sing - moves my heart! The students are awesome, whether working one on one, in the classroom or serving breakfast and lunch their smiles are infectious and their gratitude felt. For the organization, I haven't see anything like it! Their holistic and self sustainable approach to life on campus not only has a positive impact on the girls but the entire community. What JBFC has done and is doing I simply remarkable. I am proud to be a part of such an incredible family. Thank you for the opportunity! xo
I spent a month at JBFC during college and was blown away by the girls, the mission of the organization and JBFC's leadership team. They are an amazing group changing lives in Tanzania. I volunteered at the Joseph and Mary School and saw firsthand what Chris and his team are doing in the community. They are giving these children the gift of an education.
It was a blessing to volunteer with JBFC. The group is well-organized and strategic about its work to help the children of the Foundation. I hope to always remain connected to my friends at JBFC and am counting down the days until I go back!
I have been involved as a volunteer and ambassador for JBFC since 2011. My first experience was a six week trip to the first campus in 2011. At the time, I was relatively blind to the work being done by the organization. Over the past 5 years, I have witnessed incredible growth by the organization which has already made a positive impact on the surrounding communities. I think this has been accomplished because Chris started by understanding the culture and the resources available.
Chris Gates has been able to execute a vision that is creating a platform for real change in Tanzania. The donations received by this organization are used in a way that invests in the future sustainability to ensure they make a meaningful impact long term. As the organization continues to expand, I remain impressed by the execution of the JBFC model by the leadership and staff of the organization.
I have spent two summers on-site at JBFC. The way this organization has changed me is almost indescribable. I was fortunate enough to receive funding through Duke University to help JBFC implement a science lab curriculum to their schools. The girls at JBFC and the schoolkids had a level of enthusiasm and eagerness when it came to learning that I have never experienced before. Relative to what I'm accustomed to as an American, the kids there had very little material belongings. However, they were some of the happiest, most resilient, and grateful people I have met. I vividly remember leading a particular lesson plan involving baking soda and vinegar. This lesson, which is a staple of beginner science labs, incited such excitement within the students. I could see that they truly were able to learn so much when given the opportunity. I can say with certainty that JBFC has changed me as a person. The community and the students at JBFC will always be part of my life, and I can't wait for the chance to go back!
The first time I traveled to JBFC was my first time out of the country. I stepped onto JBFC's campus believing I could change the lives of the 45 resident girls. The next three weeks proved me wrong- those girls changed my life forever. Nearly three years have passed since my last visit to JBFC's campus, but rarely does a day go by that I don't reference the impact JBFC has had on my life. The physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting yet rewarding experiences I had in Tanzania have molded me into a different person with a heart for serving others. The work employees and volunteers conduct in the states and on JBFC's campus are making an impact on the world and poverty. Over the years I have been blessed to witness JBFC grow their campus and mission. Through the continuing vision of employees and help of volunteers, I cannot wait to see how impactful JBFC will be in the coming years.
Although I've heard about JBFC, I was very moved by my visit. There's a combination of local Tanzanian staff, interns and visiting volunteers working together to create a strong sense of community and healing, empowering space for the 45 girls who are residents.
During my brief visit I was able to attend school, art classes, a governance meeting, a goodnight ritual, all designed to help a person flourish in a retreat-like setting.
In addition, the handmade items by local artisans in the craft store, the permaculture gardens, Papa's cafe, the bungalow where I stayed on Lake Victoria, are models of economic development and sustainability.
This is project worth supporting and replicating and I believe can make significant impact on addressing poverty.
As a four time volunteer, I've been able to watch JBFC grow into an outstanding, heartfelt organization. It provides a safe haven for girls in Tanzania, when at times, all hope seemed to be lost for them. JBFC is built on four pillars, refuge, education, healthcare, and agriculture. Through countless efforts from volunteers, donors, and the JBFC administration and staff, JBFC has excelled in all four pillars, allowing its girls to be girls again, and giving them the opportunity to thrive in a rough Tanzanian culture. It is easy to assume that as a volunteer you would be changing the lives of others, when in-fact JBFC has changed mine.