Giving Back to Children of Tanzania

In 2014 when my mothers estate was settled I felt the need to give back and knew I wanted to do some international volunteering.  With no hesitation my response to where was I going was Africa. Africa is the second largest body of land on the earth so where would I end up in that huge continent. I have never been out of the USA. I wanted to teach and ended up working with a group called CCS and they suggested Tanzania. I taught English and math at the Step UP nursery in Moshi Tanzania. While in Tanzania I had the chance to meet a teacher and a doctor to talk about what was done in the way of education and health care for the children. I asked the doctor if the children ever had an eye exam and the response was "NO". I replied that just because they are children it does not mean they all have 20/20 vision, as I see children struggling in the classrooms. I told him in the USA when I was a child the teachers did it at the beginning of the school year. To compound the issue, there is no electricity in any classroom so all classrooms are dimly lit even on sunny days.  So my give back thoughts sent me to the extreme need for eye exams and I set that idea into motion. I returned to the states and contacted someone I met while working with CCS a wonderful loving woman called Dada Sarah Mponzi.  She was thrilled at the idea of eye exams and she set the future plans into motion with local schools in  Moshi with the help of yet another wonderful lady Mama Fatuma. Both of them started an organization called Excel Education Fund , EEF, to raise money for the education of the children. All schools from nursery and up to college need to pay for education.  You can search the website for EEF.  
Returning to Tanzania in 2015 for 6 weeks I gave eye exams to 2000 children, documenting everything that i noticed as being an issue not just poor vision. As I started to see issues of poor vision I started asking the children what they saw looking at the eye charts . The answers were letters appear small and they see shadows. The following trip I decided to ask the children with very poor vision did they have headaches, 50% of them replied yes everyday. I stared at the blasckboard and cried.  That was only the surface of the schools that had requested exams. 1000 students each school and I had more to do. I guess at that time I did not know what I was getting into laugh out loud. I returned yet again in 2016 for 5 weeks and completed another 3000 exams.  I also had the chance to bring 30 children to the hospital for reexam by the eye doctors there. They said the job I did was stunning and no I am not an eye doctor. One child was blind in one eye, he was operated on and he now can see in the eye. Found a few with dyslexia, some with cataracts and one with nystagamous. The government found out I was doing this and met with dada Sarah and hopefully some good comes out from that. 
All the costs thus far have been out of pocket. I have booked my return flight for another 7 weeks end of this year and I intend on completeing the last  1000 eye exams and intend on bringing all of the children with issues to the hospital for re-exam from my previous 2 trips and have not already gone to the hospital. 
Many friends and family told me to open a GOFUNDME account so here I am writing my story and creating the account.  Many of you have read my humorous and not so humorous stories of my experiences while doing my volunteer work in Tanzania.  
Since the organization  EEF in Tanzania  is International based and no US based ID number I need to create the account as if I was raising money under my name. All money raised will go to the support of eye care for the Children (watoto) of Tanzania.


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Pasquale Leuzzi 
Stony Point, NY
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