Toa Nafasi Foundation
We support education, safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children by training local young adults as their tutors.
History of Toa Nafasi
"Nova was sexually abused as a child multiple times starting at the age of six. As a boy child, he had neither the comprehension nor the language to report to a parent or teacher. Growing up with the secret and shame, he learned child sexual abuse is common place in his community. And children with disabilities are twice susceptible to abuse and violence. Studies show 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will experience sexual violence between the age of 2 and 17. Additionally, 1 in 3 students enrolled in grade 1 have a learning disability of some kind. With this knowledge, he went on to start Linda Community to address abuse and violence and later fold the organization with a learning disabilities project. This birthed Toa Nafasi Foundation – a locally led organization building the capacity of local young adults to support vulnerable children in public primary schools.
Why Toa Nafasi
Tanzanian education doesn’t treat each child as an individual with diverse aptitudes and learning styles. The curriculum for primary schools barely encourages and supports children from early age and grade to develop strengths, overcome challenges, and cultivate creativity. In 11 public primary schools in Moshi we have surveyed in 2020, we have learned 30 percent of grade 1 students have a learning disability. In a community where 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys are likely to experience sexual violence (According to a 2009 National Survey on Violence Against Children), children with disabilities are twice vulnerable to violence.
The goal of Toa Nafasi Foundation is therefore to enrich the classroom experience, create a linkage between school and home, unleash children self protective skills and offer a chance to succeed for both student and tutor.
Toa Nafasi addresses three major infrastructural challenges in Tanzania. The first problem is the lack of special education information and programming in the Tanzanian public school system. Nearly 30 percent of students have a learning difficulty don’t respond to standard educational methods. Without effective special education pedagogies in place, these students are often stigmatized as disobedient, lazy, or stupid. The second is the lack of comprehensive body safety education and support in the school system that help students build their ability to protect and prevent abuse and violence. 1 in 5 children experience violence before they are 18 years. And those with disabilities are twice vulnerable. Without taking drastic measures, the children will continue to experience violence with multiple short and long term impacts. The third problem Toa Nafasi addresses is widespread lack of opportunity for young adults. Tanzanian youth under 30 make up over 70 percent of the population yet unemployment rate is 11. 5 percent.
A day every Tanzanian child grow up in a safe and healthy environment and is provided a chance to receive quality education that recognizes and fosters individual talent and celebrate uniqueness
We enhance and support safety, well being and education of vulnerable children by professional and personal development empowerment of formally unemployed young adults as their tutors
The Toa Nafasi model is a three-tiered approach of assessment, referral, and curriculum modification that build the asset of young adults and enhancing community relations. In assessment, our tutors observe all the children enrolled in grade 1 for social behaviors, adaptive abilities, and motor skills as well as test them for literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills to get a full picture. In referrals, we work with health professionals and institutions to treat those pupils whom we have identified are struggling due to medical, psychological issues or experiences of trauma. In curriculum modification, tutors work with children who are struggling to reach their potential to help them complete the standard Tanzanian curriculum in a modified context. We've also modified the curriculum to include personal body safety curriculum for children.
Toa Nafasi recruits young adults from the local community, and provide them professional development support on child protection and learning disabilities. The young adults work full time as tutors supporting public primary school students with learning difficulties and at risk of abuse and violence.
Each year, the tutors assess students enrolled in grade one to identify children with experience of trauma and with learning difficulties. Then follows a Referral stage where students identified with medical and psychological challenges are taken to care and treatment facilities. The young adults then provide tutoring and psychosocial support in child friendly spaces, and through play.
An important component of the program is community engagement, where the tutors work with families of the vulnerable children, school administrators, justice system, and community development and education offices to better support the vulnerable children, to promote safety, wellbeing and address the stigma often surrounding abuse, violence and learning differences.
Toa Nafasi provides the students with the education and holistic support services, and the young adults that run the program with employment. The impact is not only empowering individual students with age appropriate knowledge and support, but also giving the young adults a meaningful role in the community.