The initial vision began with a school to provide vocational skill training for the young people of Tanzania. It soon became evident that the students’ needs were greater than just learning new skills. How can these skills be marketed? Are there products that would be saleable? How can these products be manufactured? How will the income from such products be distributed?
Providing vocational education for some of the young people in the village is important for their future but it is only a beginning. Mbuguni is an impoverished village. To truly make a difference in the students’ lives and eventually the lives of villagers, the students must be able to offer their new skills in return for monetary compensation. Today that would probably mean leaving Mbuguni and going to Arusha, a city of over a million people located twenty three miles and about an hour away by bus. For these village young people to attempt living in a large city environment would create a whole new set of problems that they are ill equipped to handle.
Mbuguni is a village where most citizens make less than three dollars a day. For education to make a difference in the students’ lives, learned skills must be converted into paying jobs or into products that can be sold. In addition, courses teaching basic business skills are also important.
By themselves, the skills being taught are not enough. For genuine long term personal and community growth, there is also the need to develop products and sales outlets in order to fully utilize the skills taught at the NLF training center. These are needs that must be addressed to provide long term development for the community.
The current vocational school is just a point of beginning. There is much to do in the development of new curriculum which in turn will create additional physical needs for the school. These long term goals are demanding but we trust God to guide the process and help the young people utilize their new skills. The future is challenging, but the future is also very bright.