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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mainsprings: Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development

Mission: Mainsprings (formerly known as The Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children) is dedicated to alleviating extreme rural poverty in Tanzania, East Africa. We take a holistic approach to change by providing refuge for abused and abandoned girls, primary, secondary and vocational education, access to healthcare, and economic development through agriculture.

Results: In less than a decade, Mainsprings has gone from a handful of acres to a 70-acre holistic campus. We provide a home to 56 girls who were once abandoned and abused. We opened Joseph & Mary Schools in 2010, enrolling 400 primary and secondary students. Joseph & Mary Schools are ranked in the top 3.5% of schools in Tanzania. Our farm now provides more than 400 pounds of produce a week. Mainsprings serves about 200,000 meals a year. More than 100 volunteers visit our flagship s campus in Kitongo, Tanzania every year. We are also expanding to a second campus in Tanzania.

Target demographics: alleviate extreme poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: 56 residential girls, 400 students, and employment for 70 people

Geographic areas served: Tanzania, East Africa

Programs: refuge for vulnerable girls, primary and secondary education, access to healthcare, and economic development through agriculture.

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5


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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Lindsey C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Marc S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Matthew C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 TomM_Sharpe

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

All,
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.

1 Kelly Lane G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Laurel S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!