An average street in the United States is lined with buildings used to house stores, restaurants, offices and even schools. A person can walk into any of these places at their leisure but how many of us stop to think about how much we take these buildings for granted?
Tanzania infrastructure is very different. The average street is lined with makeshift huts that were not built to withstand long-term use. From leaky roofs to cracked floors, it's plain to see that these buildings could fall apart at any moment. But these are the only buildings that supply basic necessities to the people of Tanzania.
Sr. Benedicta Anslem, along with her congregation, the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary (ESM), are working to change that. The Sisters mobilize projects throughout Tanzania in attempts to revitalize their beautiful country. Some of the projects include building a primary school and constructing an administration building.
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Education is the key to rebuilding Tanzania
It all began eleven years ago when Sr. Benedicta began her education through ASEC’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program in 2007. For three years, Sr. Benedicta attended administration and project management workshops. In SLDI, she learned many skills that have proven to be beneficial to her service. One, in particular, is grant writing.
Upon graduating from SLDI, Sr. Benedicta dove head first into making major changes to Tanzania’s infrastructure. Sr. Benedicta travels to the project sites across Tanzania to get them off the ground...literally. Sr. Benedicta helps to raise funds and plan the projects. But what’s impressive is her tenacity to get involved. It’s not uncommon to find her at a project site, tool in hand, participating in the construction of a building!
Project Management and Grant Writing Skills
Her skills in fundraising and grant writing came in good use when her congregation took on four major projects across Tanzania in one year:
- Her congregation hosted a seminar to empower women with home management and self reliance skills. This seminar served 300 women and employed 21 people.
- A solar pumping water station was built to provide water to the community. This project employed 30 people and will continue to serve 3,815.
- Construction began on three classrooms at the Zinga Bagamoyo. This projected employed 24 people and helped to bring better the education of 600 children.
- A chapel for student Sisters studying at the St. Augustine University in Tanzania was completed.
In total, Sr. Benedicta raised $75,588 in 2017 to fund these impressive projects, which have led to many long-term improvements in Tanzania. Not only will these properly constructed buildings last longer, but they will also create more jobs in communities across Tanzania.
Evangelizing in remote areas of Tanzania
Although Sr. Benedicta has made great strides to improve Tanzania infrastructure, her true passion lies in her faith. When Sr. Benedicta travels throughout Tanzania with her congregation to implement these projects, she also teaches the locals about her Catholic faith, hoping to inspire them to seek God. She says,
“Our charism is first evangelization… in the remote area. Where Christ is not heard. Where Christ has not reached.”
Sr. Benedicta’s pursuits may seem extraordinary, but she is not alone. So many religious Sisters across Africa are pursuing similar paths. The road is difficult to travel, but you can make a Sister’s journey easier by sponsoring her education and supporting her heroic efforts to rebuild Africa... one brick at a time.