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Expanding the Mind in Tanzania

• Joy Sasser

Posted in Evangelism, Mission

In our first-world, developed society reading is almost becoming a lost art. In Tanzania’s rural, functionally illiterate society, reading is yet to be found. This summer Oliver, Henry, and I, along with my father (Tim Neet) and another gentleman (Rod Johns), will be going over to the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania to spend time with the students and faculty at Siha Leadership Academy. We will be sharing with them problem solving strategies through creative and critical thinking using literature, LEGOs, and logic puzzles. Although the success of this small Christian school which was created to serve the poorest of the poor has caught the attention of the government, there are many gaps in the traditional rote style of learning they are accustomed to. Our hope is to come alongside their mandated curriculum and fill in some holes that will give these students a great advantage and enable them to be future leaders and thinkers in their community. 

We are starting with children's literature and gradually scaffolding up to show how reading can expand not only the imagination but the mind by seeing the world and problems in new and amazing ways. Reading is a form of mental play and LEGO captures that imagination and makes it tangible. As building blocks of imagination and problem solving, LEGO materials are a powerful, cross-cultural, and logical resource to teach the foundational elements of a story. Through simple designs we hope to help these students become active learners by constructing things in the real world, in the world of the written story, and in the world of their imaginations. This introduction to LEGO can under-gird future math and science teaching so that these new skills of learning through play can also be nourished into a robust STEM program. Finally, we will create logic puzzles to go along with the literature we'll read and end the week with an escape room challenge using the puzzles and games we have taught throughout the week. 

So how does helping in education contribute to building the Kingdom and growing the church? Since 2000 Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, GA has been partnering with Pastor Wariaeli Maphie to affect the community of Karansi by caring for and supporting the widows and orphans in the community. Widows lose all rights to their land and children after the death of the husband, so their situation becomes dire and the future for them and their children can appear hopeless.  Pastor Wariaeli cast the vision to build an English-speaking school to serve these children as well as began micro loans and other programs to help the widows become more self-sustaining.  One of the many ways Perimeter Church came along side and helped with this vision was to set up and run a child sponsorship program for the students called Project Child ( 

Working closely with Perimeter Church, UboraTZ is the new non-profit foundation created to expand the vision by accomplishing more in the region and involving more partners to do so. The mission of UboraTZ Foundation is to enhance the spiritual, physical, educational, and economic capabilities in the Siha district in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.  

In 2000 Pastor Wariaeli’s church was made up of about 19 widows in a poor community that wasn’t even on the government maps. Today that church has over 250 members and has planted 9 more churches in the region. The school and the ministry to the widows has transformed and multiplied this community giving it hope for the future and giving glory to God.

All of this takes funding. We have created two Amazon Wish Lists to help get items we need. These items can be purchased directly from the wish list and they will automatically be sent to Joy Sasser (the Critical Thinking List) or Tim Neet (the TZ book list). 

LEGO and Critical Thinking Puzzles for TZ

Books for TZ 

Please pray for us while we prepare and while we are gone July 19th-30th. For any questions please contact Joy Sasser.

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