Monday, June 13, 2011


Step-by-Step is one of the most amazing places I've been in all of Tanzania. It is a special needs school for students with developmental disabilities. There is a stigma in Tanzania that people with these types of disorders are a curse and a burden to their families because of past transgressions. So, often disabled people are extremely neglected, malnourished, and don't have any opportunity to rise to their potential. A woman named Margaret, who has a daughter with autism, decided to start this school, Step-by-Step, where children with mental and physical disabilities can come and learn in a safe environment and receive the love and attention they need.

We partnered up with Margaret and are doing several projects for Step-by-Step that will improve the health of the students, make the school more sanitary, etc. One project is building rabbit cages so the school can breed and raise rabbits. Not only will this serve as a therapeutic routine for the children as they care for and play with the rabbits, but it will also improve their diets immensely. The students are typically not fed well at home so the meal they eat at school is really important. Having protein in their diet from the rabbit meat will be a huge boost to their health.

Another project we're doing is building them a bathroom. They already have the space but no running water or toilet or anything. The squatters they currently use are really unsanitary for the students who are too weak to hold themselves up enough. We are going to create a running water system from the irrigation ditch outside into the bathroom where we will install a toilet as well.

The other projects we're working on are communication books for the students who cannot communicate well or even at all. The books will be a tool in communicating with other people through the pages instead of vocally. We are also making a music book with illustrations and huge pages so they can all see better during their music time each day.

We're really excited about all the projects we are doing with Step-by-Step. The students are so sweet and loving and so full of light. They have so much faith in God. It's incredible to see people with so little and yet so much hope and love for life. It makes me want to be so much better.

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