Transforming Lives – Gerald, Tanzania

by ACT

Fifteen-year-old Gerald hails from Rukora, a rural village in Kagera region, in the north west of Tanzania, bordering with Rwanda and Burundi. The Kagera region is picturesque, surrounded by mountains and Lake Victoria on its eastern shores.  Mostly rural, with few job opportunities, the majority of its people live on off land. It is one of the poorest regions in Tanzania.

Gerald’s mother feeding the family’s pigs

At five years old, Gerald’s father died, leaving behind his wife, Gerald and his two brothers, and very little else. In losing the breadwinner, the family faced a future where their existence centred on mere survival.  Education was impossible, the family could not afford school fees, let alone school uniforms, shoes and other necessary school materials.

In 2013 the fortune of Gerald and his family was drastically changed when ACT’s partner organisation, Justice and Peace, identified the family as in desperate need of support. Accordingly Gerald was selected to be an ACT-sponsored child. This not only covered the school contribution costs and all his school materials, but also meant the entire family was covered by the Community Health Insurance Fund paid for by ACT. This gave them access to prescription medicines as well as medical facilities whenever they needed treatment.  In addition, they were also given an animal, a pig – a gift as part of the ACT income generation and secure livelihood scheme aimed at helping the family to start moving out of poverty.

This was only the start for Gerald and his family. The litters produced by the pig allowed them to sell some of the piglets and earn enough money to rent a small plot of land where they began to cultivate crops and harvest maize and rice. Alongside being able to feed the family, by selling some of their crops, they have also bought stones and cement and laid the foundations for a new family home. Late last year, the family’s pig gave birth to another nine piglets, with six surviving.

Today Gerald is studying hard and progressing well in school at Rukora Primary School, where he is in Standard 5.

Through the gift of education and a single pig from ACT, the circumstances for Gerald and his family have been totally transformed.  They are full of hope and are all looking forward to building a brighter future, free from poverty.

ACT child sponsorship provides an opportunity to transform lives and change the circumstances of a family like Gerald’s. Find out how you can help here.

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