We have been completely flabbergasted by the massive response we have received on Facebook from our ‘Likes’ drive and The Big Announcement video posted last Friday. At the time of this writing, our page has been liked 556 times, the video has been shared 73 times and viewed 3,266 times! I know many of you have been a part of that effort, and I want to take this time to say a HUGE thank you for your support.
I want to take this opportunity to go into more detail about the new project and answer some of the questions we received via Facebook. If you have not seen it, please take the time to watch The Big Announcement video below before moving on.
As you saw in the video, Walk In Love was approached by the Ministry of Social Welfare to open a new daycare center near the Kilombero Market. This is one of the largest markets in the Arusha area. This meeting was no small thing. If you have been following our progress, you know that one of our biggest prayers has been that Social Welfare would be able to embrace our vision of establishing many small daycares in the Arusha area. We knew that this would be a challenge, because daycare is such a foreign concept and therefore the benefit is not completely appreciated. Another challenge is that government often wants huge facilities, not small, locally run establishments. It was a complete answer to our (and your) prayer when they approached us with the request to open this new center. The officer that we are working with is one of the most compassionate people we have encountered in any government office. She definitely sees the needs of the women and their children and wants to provide solutions to the big problems they face. We are beyond honored that she sees our ministry as the solution to the problem of children in the marketplace.
One of the questions we received many times via Facebook, was regarding the rationale behind the government’s decision to restrict children accompanying their mothers to the market place. To clarify, these are the children of the women working in the market, not shoppers. This response was written by Kelly Mollel to answer this question on Facebook, and I think she nailed it: “Part of the concern is that the market is very close to the road in some areas so there are safety issues. Additionally, the President is really pushing primary education. The thought is that having children ‘growing up’ in the market feeds into the culture of street children. All children aged 6 and above have already been kicked out of the market with the intention that they should be in school.” The intention of the law is good. The government is concerned about the safety and wellbeing of the children. They want to see the children in a safe environment that is conducive to their growth and development. Sitting in the market for 12 hours, six days per week, is definitely not ideal. The problem is resources. If the mamas working at the market had any other options, they would have already utilized them. They do not want to take their children to sit in the sun, rain, beside the street, etc with no place to play. They simply do not have any other options available. We are so excited to be able to provide these hard-working women with an alternative. We have already started spreading the word and the excitement is palpable. We are not the first daycare in the area. We are simply the first daycare that will be accessible and affordable to the average, working-class single parent.
The video said we hope to be open May 1st . How is this even possible? That is a great, and slightly terrifying question. We actually first met with Social Welfare about opening a new center back in February. At this initial meeting we discussed their time frame and were told that they had already started the roll-out of the new law. Their question to us was how fast could we get a new facility set up? It took us a while to find a suitable property, because the area we are working in is very densely populated. We knew we needed some kind of playground space if we were planning to enroll 50 kids. The property we found is a nugget of gold in a sea of sand. The property is somewhere in this screen shot of Unga Limited.
We have actually signed a six-year lease on this property. The reason behind that being, Social Welfare has approved this property to be our location to register. Registration is a grueling and vital process. One of the requirements is to own your property or have a five-year lease. By signing a long lease, we have locked in our rent agreement for an extended period of time. This is a good investment with vision towards the future. This property also has enough space for a huge garden and chicken project which we are hoping will decrease our cost and make us more sustainable at minimum, and possible be a future outreach project for mamas.
This is the entry and future dining/play area
Future garden and chicken area
So how can you help? We need funding and we need it badly. We are asking for both one time and monthly support. If this is a project that you feel you can get behind, then please think about supporting us financially. Here are the current needs for the Market Center:
Monthly, recurring costs:
- Rent – $250
- Employee Salary – $700
- Food for the Month – $300
- Milk – $100
- Electricity and Water – $100
- Petrol – $100
- Playground – $1000
- Furniture – $500
- Kitchen Needs – $1000
- Toys and Books – $500
- Sleeping Mats – $200
- Fencing for Playground – $500
- Employee Uniforms – $200
- Garden Startup – $100
- Chicken Coop – $200
These numbers are based off our currently running project in Kisongo. Supporting us is as easy as clicking on this link and using the PayPal button on our website or you can click on the PayPal button on the Facebook page. If you want to send a check, the address is listed on the donate page under the PayPal button.
If you absolutely cannot support us financially at this time, there are still ways to help. We need as much exposure as possible. Could you talk to your small group, group of friends, community club, MOPS group, in-laws, neighbors, or even strangers in the grocery line about our project? Would you be willing to do a little presentation? Maybe you could show our video and talk about how Walk In Love is doing something new in the Arusha area that is having instant and significant impact. At the minimum, please use your social media to share and talk about our project. There is no telling who among your group of friends might be looking for a ministry to support.
Lastly, we need your prayers. Here is our current prayer request. Could you commit to praying for this once or twice per week? We believe that God is actively making it possible for this ministry to help families THRIVE and we are relying on the prayer support of those who also believe that strong families make strong communities. Thank you!
- Pray that our funding will come through in a miraculous way. We are moving forward with this center believing that God is in the process of providing for our needs.
- Please pray that our relationship with the Ministry of Social Welfare will continue to be strong.
- Pray that God will bring us the best new employees for this center. We need to hire four nannies, a cleaner and a cook. We have already hired a general manager.
- Pray for the families that will enroll their children in our center. We are expecting a more difficult group of children, especially the 4-5 year range, because they have been free-range in the market for a while.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance for Matt, Kelly Mollel, and myself as we make decisions for this project.