My friend Julia Hu and I visited Los Angeles the summer we graduated middle school. We were driving down the street when we saw a sign for The Braille Institute. My aunt, who is a native of Tanzania, told me about a school for blind and disabled children. Knowing that someday I would convince my parents to take me there to help improve the quality of life for the children in Tanzania, we stopped to see if we could learn something about what blind children might need to help them get a better education.
The staff at The Braille Institute were very kind and encouraging. They gave us a tour of their library and found some braille magazines and school supplies they gave us to take to the students in Tanzania. In their store, we discovered some children’s board books and a writing slate. I remembered Theo telling us about one boy there who loved to write so much that none of the other kids got a chance, because the school only had one braille writing slate for everyone to share. Figuring that someday this kid might become a famous author, it would be nice for him to have his very own writing slate. I could hardly wait to go to the school myself and meet him.
It would be a while longer until I could convince my parents I was serious about building libraries in Africa and they would finally agree to take me there. My friend Sara shared my dream and was lucky enough to have her family support her in coming with me to the Uhuru Mychanganyiko Primary School for the Blind and Disabled. The teachers were encouraged to hear that people in other countries share their goal to educate children, regardless of physical disabilities and the children literally jumped for joy when we arrived.
Thank you, Braille Institute for your support of the children in Tanzania, and for trusting us to carry your gifts to them. 100 percent of your donations directly benefitted the students at the Uhuru Mychanganyiko School for the Blind and Disabled.
We have established a relationship with the Headmistress at the school and plan to return in the summer of 2016 to provide further assistance to the teachers and students there.