i couldn't think of a more amazing, incredible, magical way to start 2012... while on vacation in nevada, i decided to change up my website design a bit. in the process, i realized that i never received a year's worth of contact messages (sent through my website). one of those messages was sent in october -- from kaitlin, director of communications for the foundation for tomorrow (TFFT). she was inquiring if i'd, by any chance, be interested in photographing for TFFT. after emailing back and forth over a day-and-a-half, it was official...
i will be photographing the foundation's RIDETZ-2012 fundraiser ride in tanzania, from june 8th - 19th. it's a 400-mile bike ride from kilimanjaro to the indian ocean.
Over 46 million children in Africa never step foot in a classroom, and in Tanzania alone there are over one million orphaned children. TFFT’s mission stems from a desire to improve the quality of education while also increasing orphaned and abandoned children’s access to schooling in Tanzania.
and the story, as shared by kaitlin, on how TFTT got started, takes my breath away --
In 2004 Meghann (the executive director) spent a summer in Tanzania researching for her dissertation and volunteering at Nkoranga Orphanage. During her time at the orphanage, she became especially close with Helena, Usufu, and Matayu, orphaned triplets who were four years old at the time.
There are over one million orphaned and abandoned children in Tanzania, and, because of this staggering number, most orphanages only have the resources and capacity to care for children under the age of five. Therefore, with their fifth birthday, children who have not yet found a home "age out" of orphanages and are pushed to live on the streets.
Helena, Usufu, and Matayu were approaching their fifth birthday, and Meghann could not bear to think of what would happen to them. Feeling helpless, she sent an email to her family and friends explaining the situation and asking for contributions to send the children to boarding school in Tanzania where they would receive quality education and have a nice place to live. She received an overwhelmingly positive response, and Helena, Usufu, and Matayu became TFFT's unofficial first Scholarship Students.
The triplets are now vibrant eleven-year-old tweens--you will meet them this summer! They are thriving at Usa River Academy, the private boarding school in Tanzania where the majority of our Scholarship Students attend school. We currently have 76 children on full scholarship, and that number will increase to over 80 in 2012.
i cannot believe i'm going to have this life-changing opportunity. how did this happen? to me? i feel more than blessed. AN ABSOLUTE DREAM COME TRUE!!