Editor’s Note: Shanna McCloskey is an OCC journalism student who is passionate about photography and loves to travel to capture genuine moments. Her goal is to raise awareness of human greed and cruelty and their impact on the natural world and society. She hopes that through photography, she can communicate and encourage positivity. She recently traveled to Tanzania. This is her story.
While the rural areas of Moshi village in Tanzania are seen as the embodiment of poverty and human neglect, the local non-profit Tanzanian Organization Facilitating Community Development (TAFCOM) created by Nie Mashafi and Jonas Andrew Kyanfura has been the keystone for the community since 2005, providing essential support and education.
A few of the outreach programs that the founders are spearheading are: building a school that provides a safe oasis for the children of impacted families; providing them with basic necessary nutritional needs; offering classes for impoverished women to help obtain skills essential for their livelihood; and providing monthly health checkups to 430 families living with HIV and AIDS.
All these and other efforts are accomplished with the support of the non-profit
organization Friends-Together, Inc., established by Cathy Robinson Pickett, whose dedication and commitment are recognized throughout the town and the village. Volunteers who arrive at Moshi wearing Friends Together t-shirts are greeted with genuine smiles and air hugs as a sign of appreciation for all efforts towards the betterment of the community.
Pickett started providing help and support to Tanzanian women with HIV and AIDS in 2004. Spreading her influence as a humanitarian, she started the Flow project in 2015, helping women with sanitary products. Moving forward, recognizing the limitations of shipping products, she helped establish the tailoring school in 2017, which has been a great success by providing sanitary products to women in the village and arms the learning seamstresses with skills for future opportunities in jobs and businesses. In 2018, Pickett, through encouraging people to get involved and collect donations, opened the clinic for TAFCOM, which provides monthly checkups of the local women and children who have HIV and AIDS. Additionally, she helps equip the children of the impacted families with necessities in school such as supplies, shoes and uniforms.
With her devotion to this cause, Pickett continuously recruits willing volunteers and tirelessly promotes the expansion of care, collecting donations for TAFCOM projects.