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Making a Difference in Tanzania, Africa

by Jeanette Brannan


It all started last March when I went to Tanzania, Africa, light years away from any culture with which I had ever become personally involved. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 58% of the population living on less than $350 per year.

As a result of my first-hand observation and experience of specific needs in Tanzania, Mel and I established Tanzania Health & Humanitarian Fund, an organization of volunteers passionate about making a difference in the lives of Tanzanian children and adults. On our Board of Advisors is another Shenandoah Region PCA member, Erin Israel, who is playing a major role in the organization.

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The mission of Tanzania Health & Humanitarian Fund (TanzaniaHHF) is to provide specific medical, educational, and missional support to people in Tanzania through contributions, partnerships, and sponsorships. TanzaniaHHF concentrates on specific needs in specific places; there are no black holes for donations. All requests for assistance come from five Tanzanian points of contact with whom I work directly to assure that the needs are essential and that donations go directly to those specified needs.

Many people, especially in rural areas, are dying unnecessarily because of lack of medicines, supplies, and money to purchase them. Malaria is the leading cause of death and affects one half of the population. The average age is 15, and the average life expectancy is 46. To combat malaria, during our mission trip last year we distributed 500 mosquito nets to orphans in an area of southern Tanzania. This year, we hope to distribute at least that many, and you can be a part of that life-saving effort.

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In addition, clinics are under-supplied and under-staffed because of insufficient funds to purchase needed medicines and hire adequate staff. Two doctors have sent us lists of medicines and supplies that are needed for the Uhai clinics in southern Tanzania and for a start-up clinic in Arusha in northern Tanzania. With your donations, we can furnish many of the necessary medicines, supplies, and equipment to save lives lost unnecessarily.

Lack of transportation to the clinics in rural areas is another major cause of unnecessary deaths. The main means of transportation for most people in Tanzania is by foot, and in the rural areas, people need to walk for hours to get to a clinic. Many lives could be saved if the patients could get to a clinic or if the doctor could get to the sick person. Where there is only one doctor for every 20,000 people and no vehicles to reach the ill, the circumstances are grim for survival. But, with assistance from people like you, we can make a difference and actually save lives.

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Often I receive emails about orphans whose caretaker, usually a grandparent, has died, and these children no longer have the money to continue going to school. $100 will complete costs needed for one year's primary education for one child. Donations through TanzaniaHHF will benefit these specific children, as well as young men and women wanting to further their education at the university level.

Through our missional support, donations provide funding for the completion of buildings or for roofs to be constructed on churches that have remained uncompleted for years for lack of money. Concrete floors can replace dirt floors, and sewing kits, machines, and fabric can generate income for women to support their families.

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We are not attempting to "save" Africa or "cure AIDS" in Africa. We will leave those laudable and mammoth undertakings to Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and other effective individuals and organizations. But we are trying to have an impact in areas where we know we can make a difference and establish relationships here and in Tanzania that will perpetuate our mission beyond what we alone can accomplish.

Your donation through TanzaniaHHF may be the only hope for an orphan to be educated, for a clinic to have updated medicines, or for a Masai woman to be empowered with sewing supplies used to generate income. You can give hope where help is needed.

Mel and I invite you to make a difference through your donations. Please visit our website to learn more about Tanzania Health & Humanitarian Fund and the process for making a contribution.

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We thank you in advance for whatever contributions you can make. So little does so much.


Jeanette and Mel Brannan

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