Posted on March 8, 2019
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… Working with Justice & Peace in Tanzania
A common question we receive is “how does ACT carry out its work in 8 countries of Africa?” The answer is that we work through partners. Our partners are from Christian based organisations and Churches that share the same vision of supporting people in need and are able to operate well managed and comprehensively monitored projects which enrich the entire community. One such partnership is with Justice & Peace who support disadvantaged children as part of their “Vulnerable Orphans Support Programme” in Kagera region, Tanzania.
ACT began its work in Tanzania in 2003, working solely across two regions (Tanga and Kilimanjaro respectively) before forming a partnership with Justice & Peace in Kagera region. It is in this north-western region of Tanzania where currently two-thirds of ACT-supported children in Tanzania reside.
Since 2013, we have been running the “Vulnerable Orphans Support Programme” (VOSP) with Justice & Peace. The project started out supporting 100 vulnerable orphans from 8 villages across the region. It has since grown, and today it supports 300 children. We provide some of the most disadvantaged children with access to an education they would otherwise not receive. Across Tanzania, Secondary School education requires the payment of school fees. Primary School education is free – however, many parents cannot afford school- levy charges. Alongside providing educational support, we give each supported child with 2 sets of uniforms (including jumpers for the cold season), school materials and an animal (goat or pig) for the family as part of an IGA (Income Generation Activities) scheme. These items truly make all the difference for children coming from poor backgrounds and help to enhance their learning. In addition, each family is provided with CHF (Community Health Fund insurance), which covers medical consultations and prescriptions.
Although a key part of the programme is undoubtedly the provision of educational support that enables disadvantaged children to secure an education with the potential to transform their lives, the wellbeing support included in the programme is another important contribution. This support includes health centre visits and household visits for the benefit of the physical and mental wellbeing of all participants. Sadly, a significant number of the children we support have suffered immeasurably throughout the course of their lives. Accordingly, psychosocial support is much needed and can make a vital difference in a child’s life. The excerpt below, taken from our September- December 2018 Tanzania Progress Report, evidences this:
“Children’s shock and fear are universal feelings caused by the disease and the loss of parents. HIV infection and the disease’s debilitating effects can cause psychosocial distress among children, characterised by fear of the future and of parental death. The children who are in this situation were counselled
(Now) to be observed is the presence of some kind of happiness within their homes. This was different compared to the previous days. It was observed that, the kind of hopelessness which they had was caused by their situation of being deprived. At least now they get various services from the Project intervention that has reduced their problems.”
(Tanzania September-December 2018 Report)
Fortunately, with wellbeing support, children are able to overcome a range of obstacles and encounter great success. Between September and December last year, all children who completed Standard Seven passed their final examination and two young people were awarded a place at university – Anicet to study Medicine at St Joseph University, Dar es Salaam and Ezekiel to study English at University of Dodoma, Tanzania.
ACT is exceptionally proud that, to date, we have been able to support over 2,000 children in Tanzania with educational and welfare support. Yet, we recognise that with Tanzania’s youth population at an estimated 26.8 million, there are a great many more children in need of our support. This ultimately begs the question…
What is happening outside of the sphere of the work ACT is doing in Tanzania?
Today, in Tanzania, an estimated 2 million children between the ages of 7 and 13 years are out of school. Alongside this, almost 70 per cent of children aged 14–17 years are not enrolled in secondary education (all of which require the payment of school fees) – whilst a mere 3.2 per cent are enrolled for the final two years of schooling.
Poverty is by far the greatest threat to progress. Primary school-aged children from the poorest families are three times less likely to attend school than those from wealthier households. Furthermore, while it is estimated that 7.9 per cent of Tanzanians are living with a disability, less than 1 per cent of children in pre-primary, primary and secondary school have a disability. These children are falling between the gaps.
On a regular basis, our partners present us with new children in need of our help. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to take on Fred Phillipo. Fred is paraplegic, but an ACT- donated tricycle has granted him a level of independence that he previously could only have dreamed of. His increased mobility not only makes his journey to school much easier, but it has also enabled him to support his family by running errands!
If you would like to donate to transform the lives of disadvantaged children in Tanzania, please click here