2022 will be remembered as a pivotal year for the Precious Project, Inc.
We emerged from the Covid pandemic moving forward with new initiatives:
• We hired additional qualified teachers to support our growth.
• We added a lower school campus with additional classrooms at our primary school that now fully complies with its registration as a two-stream school.
• We opened the doors to our newly constructed secondary school.
• We purchased new school buses that allow students from neighboring villages a reliable way to get to and from school.
• We purchased a new tractor that will increase our yields.
But most importantly, it was also a time when we applied our decade of experience to create initiatives with insurmountable potential. We hope this report provides a glimpse into the heart of the Precious Project, our work, and the fantastic team in Tanzania and the US that works as one entity with a common singular goal. For all of the children dreaming of quality education, we thank you and our many supporters who stand beside us as we guide these children to a brighter future. As we close the books on 2022, I want to thank each of you who has supported Precious Project. We know this has been a challenging year; it certainly has been challenging for us. Our dream is no longer a hope and a prayer but a reality.
2021 was an exciting year as the Precious Project continued to see our dreams materialize. Our new secondary school, Precious Leaders Secondary School, was successfully built on time and on budget with no debt. Just ten years ago we didn’t even dare to dream this big. Our secondary school campus of 21 acres is simply magnificent consisting of a 7-acre campus and a large-scale farm. This is a huge step forward as we now with assurance can offer a secondary school education that will continue to support our primary school graduates in a manner that they have grown accustomed to. Our secondary school will eventually have 6 grades and upon completion prepare our graduates to enter University. On January 17th, 2022, our school with all student boarding opened with 90 students in grade 8/form one.
We have continued to build out our board by adding both Jim Logan and Barbara Hazard to our group. Both Barbara and Jim have traveled to Precious many times, and they are both valuable additions to our board making us stronger.
Our U.S. staff was fortified with the addition of Jennifer Wysocki as our Director of Development. It is hard to believe that it has been just a year since Jenn joined our group. Her integration has been seamless. For those of you who have not yet met her you are in for a treat.
Year after year we are deeply touched by the support we receive from donors far and wide. Your trust and belief in our mission touch us deeply but more importantly, it continues to provide these children with that second chance at having a meaningful life filled with hope and potential. Each day we see kids who previously were not sure of when their next meal might appear who now can focus on how they will eventual- ly give back once they complete their education. This is why we do this work. It's what my father always said to me when I asked him how I could ever repay him for all he had given me. His reply was simple. He said that all I owed him was to do more down the road for someone else who was in need.
It is easy to think of 2020 as only a challenging year as the Corona-19 virus pandemic impacted our school and home operations in Tanzania and our usual approaches to fundraising here at home. But, in truth, 2020 was also a year with some exciting milestones and accomplishments.
2020 marked and celebrated 10 years since the founding of the Precious Orphan’s Children’s home, 5 years from opening the Precious English Medium School, and our first secondary school graduates.
It was also a year of building. We had a substantial investment in the music program with the purchase of a large inventory of instruments and volunteer work with students and teachers on music education. We completed the Installation and expansion of internet access at the school to facilitate virtual education programs. There was a significant expansion of our farming capacity providing self-sufficiency for school and home meals and permitting support to school families affected by the pandemic. Finally, the breaking ground and beginning construction for a secondary school to provide Precious quality continuing education for our primary school graduates.
Our foray into virtual fundraising with a Zoom event confirmed the commitment and generosity of our remarkable donor base which, as always, is what makes possible everything we do and accomplish.
I have had the great pleasure and satisfaction of leading the Precious Project Board during 2019. My wife, Betsey, and I have been involved with Precious Project since 2012, before its formation as a 501 (c)3 foundation. We sponsor a child in the Home, John, who is in the 7th grade this year. His personal development from a lost child wandering at the bus station for days, to a happy, healthy, and accomplished young man is a metaphor for the whole project's growth and success. John's transformation reflects the true power driving our success - a heart connection creating a tangible transformation.
Along with educating and caring for high-risk children, we continued to improve and expand our physical facilities this past year. I hope that you will enjoy reading more about our year's achievements in this report. As always, our success rests on the foundation of your generosity as supporters of and donors to our project.
It has been an honor to serve as Board Chair of the Precious Project during 2018.
What we have accomplished is far beyond anything we dared to dream was possible! Now that they are free from the worries of food insecurity and lack of clean water, our students are becoming the creative thinkers that we hoped they would grow to be. We have continued to advance innovative, creative learning using modern technology. For example, our students use iPads which are integrated into the curriculum and powered by the PV Solar panels that adorn our campus. All of this in a village that just eight years ago had no supply of electricity!
As a Board we have decided to continue the journey that we have started and voted to build a secondary school. Our own Precious Secondary School will encourage our graduates to continue the development of values learned at Precious Primary School.
Thank you for your support and inspiration. Without it none of our progress would be possible!
Every major decision regarding Precious Project is the result of hours of collaborative discussions. In this way we learn from one another, listen to the community, and together make the difficult choices about how to invest limited resources. One of our first joint projects in Nshupu resulted in HIV/AIDS education and testing for hundreds of residents. Over time, we learned that the most pressing needs for these poor families were access to high quality education, adequate nutrition, and improved economic conditions for the largely female heads of household. We continually benchmark our efforts against the best models we can find in Tanzania. This has prompted an extensive investment in teacher training.
Our community ownership model ensures that everyone – from the youngest child in Nshupu to the village elders – embraces Precious Project as their own as much as it is a shared endeavor. As we look to the future, we feel fortunate to do so with a remarkably devoted group of donors. We are grateful to have earned their confidence and we look forward to sharing this adventure with old and new friends alike.
- Susanne Rheault and Gil Williams