Profile - Anna Johnson - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Anna Johnson

Year Joined MKLM:

Country: Tanzania

City: Mwanza

Ministry: Huruma Special Education Unit, Bukumbi College of Nursing

Ministry Area: Healthcare and health promotion. Disability ministry with children; education of nurses

Nonviolence Focus: Prevention and Intervention. Children with disabilities in Tanzania are often unable to attend school or receive an education; they are often unable to receive the medical care they need. My work helps students to receive medical care they need, as well as supporting Huruma School to keep its doors open to children with disabilities who would not be receiving schooling otherwise.

Goals of Ministry:

Assist students with disabilities in receiving medical care they need, assist students in being able to attend school, assist Huruma School with its finances, so it can continue to offer education to those with disabilities that cannot attend the regular government schools. Build capacity of local medical professionals.


Ministry Context:

The vast majority of children with disabilities in Tanzania are unable to attend government schools due to lack of special education teachers, accessibility, lack of transportation, etc. Many children with disabilities in Tanzania are unable to receive medical care due to cost of care and the limited income of their families. Tanzania also faces a severe shortage of science educators, which also affects the availability of teachers at the nursing school.


Current Ministry:

Anna’s work at Huruma Special Education Unit involves assessing the medical needs of students and accessing medical care for the most vulnerable/underserved of these students. This includes gaining access to medical visits, medications, equipment (wheelchairs, etc.), and educating family members. It also includes educating the school staff on safety measures during school hours that will help with the overall health and safety of all the children.

In 2023, Anna was able to implement a quarterly deworming program for over 70 of Huruma’s students. Additionally, Anna and her husband, Kyle, are working with the school toward realistic future financial goals to ensure that Huruma School is able to continue its support of students for years to come.

Anna also volunteers several hours a month at Forever Angels, a local non-profit, assessing orphaned babies and working with their local caregivers to ensure that their medical needs are being met. Several days per month, Anna travels to Bukumbi Nursing College at at a rural Catholic hospital and teaches first-year nursing students.


Personal Data:

Anna was born and raised in a rural logging community along the Southern Oregon Coast; her playground as a child was the beautiful Rogue River and mighty Pacific Ocean. She has a background in secondary education, as well as nursing; for the past 15 years, Anna has worked as a registered nurse in both the out-of-hospital and in-hospital setting.

During April 2020, Anna traveled to New York City to work as a nurse during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. She continued as a COVID-19 nurse, both in her hometown of Sequim, Washington — as well as traveling to Phoenix, Arizona in early 2021. Anna and her husband, Kyle, have three children (Josephine, Collin, and Charlotte) and spent three years as foster parents on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. They plan to continue this calling upon their return to the U.S. and invite others to consider becoming foster parents as well!

Anna loves animals, children, nature, healthcare, and God. She has always loved early morning walks — and is currently finding time to do this with their rescue dog, Binti, in Tanzania.