Recent News

Yatima Group Fund Update

Dr. James K. Lace, M.D.

I was able to work in Tanzania in December of 2008 with our two orphan programs.  I will give you a short update on things and what the next year looks like for budget priorities and projects.

YGTF Center in Dar Es Salaam.  140 children.


We are in the process of developing the contiguous 21 acres into a productive farm unit.  They have begun to develop the land with fruits including bananas, mangos, pineapples and citrus fruits.  They have been planting vegetables on a rotating basis.  The land is very sandy and requires some sort of fertilizer to help things grow well.  The diet of the children has improved tremendously with the addition of these fruits and vegetables.  They have started a pig project that currently has 40 pigs in it.  The goal will be to sell these pigs to generate money for operations.  Since about 50% of the children are Muslims the pigs will not be eaten by the children.


The 3rd dorm is now finished.  There is a room for guests to use that has electricity and a fan.  The toilets are still the squattie type.  There is water for showers.  The 4th dorm is being finished now also.  They hope to get that finished in the next 4 months or so depending upon funding.


The children are all attending school so far.  We have been able to scrape together money to allow all the children to attend school.  We have 4 students at the university level now with 8 more in the ranks.  We will have more secondary students coming of age soon and will need money for them.  All the students are learning English with all of their other classes.  This means that for visitors to the center the children will be chatting in English.  This is a wonderful feedback for them and reinforces the need for education to escape their poverty.  Like any group of children, some of the children are bright and some not so bright so educational and vocational variety is needed.  We have 4 students enrolled in the Don Bosco Vocational School.  This is a 2 year school that teaches skills for these students.  We have another 4 students ready to be enrolled in this school when we get the necessary money.

Backpacks and Cloths

We had another great outpouring of donated clothes and more backpacks for the children.  This shipment will be getting there next month.  We will be able to use some of this stuff for the other program in Arusha.

Cardiac Surgery

One of the children in the center had a very large hole in his heart.  He could not do the simple things in life because of his heart failure.  Sharon Esperson and the cardiologists at Salem Cardiology were kind enough to donate money so that he could go to India for his open heart surgery.  This was done through Lions Club International.  He has returned and is doing well.

2008 GOALS for YGTF.

  1. Expand the agricultural project.  Budget need is about $10,000.  This includes tools for the children to use to help in the garden to grow their own food.  This will allow purchase of seeds, plants, and fertilizer.
  2. Pig farm project. We need about $5,000 for pig food.
  3. English language school. We are still planning to build a small center in which English will be taught.  There is a huge shortage of decent English language schools in the area.  This could generate up to $20,000/year.  Initial cost estimates for this are about $60,000.  This includes a new classroom area and salaries for the teachers.
  4. We would like to have a dependable source of salaries for the staff.  This will be about $2,500 for the year.
  5. School fees are always an item that needs constant input.  It costs about $100/month for the average student for secondary school.  This includes school uniforms and food while the student is at school.

The Orphans Foundation Fund.  Arusha.  Coordinates care for 3000 children.

Indernational Advisory Board

Our fall meeting was cancelled because of the world economic crisis.  We maintain email contact and phone contact but we were not able to afford to get together in person.  The ability of our international group to raise money was severely affected by the global economic meltdown.

Rafiki Center

This is an orphan center located out in the Tanzanite mining district.  We were able to finish the new center and move the 35 children from their 3 room mud house into the new center in December while I was there.  After many negotiations with the local village leaders, it was decided to drill for water right on the center site.  A large bore hole was dug and there is a lot of water for the center now.  They are able to sell the water to the local villagers as a source of ongoing money to support the center.  So this project is going well.  This project was made possible through a joint venture with Catherine Mulvale of Canada.

Kikatiti Center

This is 7 acre plot of land that was bought by OFF.  It is located about 20 miles outside of Arusha.  Our initial plans were to build the Vocational Training Center for 200 children on it.  Cost estimates for this project are about $900,000.  We have not been able to date to secure funds in this amount and so have chosen to develop a farm project on it for the time being.  We are currently in need of water for this project.  The water project will cost about $25,000. 

Convention Center

OFF was able to purchase a plot of land in a desirable part of Arusha upon which a small conference center can be constructed.  We need about $600,000 for this project.  This has been put on hold for now with the lack of funds.


Sharon and Ron Espersen from Salem, Oregon, were able to volunteer last year in February.  They got to see first hand what the situation is for these children.  Upon their return they were able to get money donated from various fundraisers that they did and from Salem Cardiology Group where Sharon works.  Sharon and the cardiology clinic were able to raise money to sponsor a boy who needed open heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart.  The surgery had to be done in India since there are no cardiac surgeons in Tanzania.  This was organized through the Lions Club.  Senator Jackie Winters from Salem, Oregon was able to visit in June of last year.  She was impressed with the good work that we are doing and is now taking on a fundraising event on April 5, 2009 to raise money for the water projects in the area.  Verlyn and Connie Harris from Utah were able to visit last year and again this year.  They have been able to donate money and clothes.  Wendy Werling from Portland State University will be going there in April of this year for a month.  We have various volunteers that come from Europe to help with ongoing projects.

Operating Costs for Both Programs

Both of the programs need to cover operating costs.  This includes costs for fuel, vehicle upkeep, rent, and staff salaries.  This amount is about $10,000/yr.

Cordaid Grant

We submitted a proposal to CORDAID to take 50 street children off of the street and offer them vocational training for 2 years.  This grant was accepted and we started the project in January of this year.  This is hopefully the first one of such grants to be written and accepted by international NGO’s.  Their requirements are very stringent and strict for accounting.

Mt. Meru Hospital

Arusha has one pediatrician for a population of 1.5 million people.  The hospital is a government funded institution and is rather poor in standards compared to our hospitals here in the US.  I have started a pediatric volunteer program with Dr. Maryam Murtadha, the only pediatrician there.  The pediatric needs for the hospital are huge.  Dr. Brian Temple, one of my partners at Childhood Health, will be spending a month there this summer.  I will be returning there this summer likewise to continue this program.  There is a lot of potential to expand this out to other pediatricians beyond our office.

Lengasti Masai Village Project

OFF was asked to get involved in helping a large Masai village in the middle of nowhere by our standards.  It is located about 80 kms away from Arusha.  They have no dependable water supply for a total population of about 13,000 people.  They are very interested in transforming their village from a very nomadic life style into one that offers some hope for the future.  I visited the village for the first time in December.  I gave them some delivery instruments that Salem Hospital was kind enough to donate to them.  They have a very primitive medical clinic.  They have many needs to improve the health and welfare of their women and children.  The first project that we have undertaken will be to supply them with a well for water needs.  They have no water there now and the children go without a bath for 3-6 months during the dry seasons.  We are hoping that the fundraiser with Senator Winters will be able to generate the necessary funds for this.  We are currently developing a master plan for funding issues.  The water project will cost about $25,000.  The women in the village have organized themselves into a powerful group called Ndio Tunaweza Women Development Service Center.  Ndio Tunaweza means Yes We Can in Swahili.  This village is located pretty close to President Obama’s father’s village in Kenya.  This project has a huge potential to transform the lives of these women and children.  I have a lot of high expectations for this project.


We have finally gotten a website that will work for us and allow online donations once we get that process worked through.  It is  Peter Hoelter, the husband of one of my pediatric partners Dr. Jenny Hoelter, has been kind enough to shepherd us through the long and arduous task of designing a functional website.  This will allow us to host more frequent updates on our various programs in Tanzania.

Senator Jackie Winters Wine for Water Fundraiser

We will have a fundraiser for our water projects.  This will be on Sunday, April 5th, from 3-5 PM at Copper Hill, 170 Commercial St. SE, Salem.  We will be featuring Jackie’s Ribs, wines of the Willamette Valley, auction items, and music by Curtis Salgado.  The cost is $75/person.  Please try to come.  If you are unable to attend, you can send a check for a donation to Yatima Group Fund, 891 23rd St. NE, Salem, Oregon.

Asante sana for all your support over the years.  You have made a tremendous difference in the lives of these children and their caretakers.  We are eternally grateful to you for all your support.  I have a DVD movie with yearly updates for those of you who would like to see this.