Dear Friends (A Letter from Tanzania)

Dear Friends,

Today I have decided to share with you some few stories and experiences about our beloved students in the Same Learning Center (SLC).

We have been working with our students for about two months. I have learned a lot from them. The fact is that these children are from very vulnerable families and have a long history for their short lifetime. I have used a lot of my time to get to know them individually and try to understand the details of their life.

Most of our students have a history of being abused, oppressed, and bullied. They have suffered sexual harassment, especially the girls, and evils done by relatives, parents, or people around them.

Many children, especially the girls, have despaired for their life due to these practices that have happened within their families. It is inhumane treatment and it is deplorable. These children have not even enjoyed their childhood as a result of this life.

Sometimes I visit them and their families and see the real life they live and it is difficult due to the family environment. Some students become the parents to younger siblings in the family because their parents have died or been separated due to family conflicts.

Other children do not even go to school simply because they have to do the labor of providing food for their family. Others are living with their grandparents who cannot even afford to send them to school because they cannot do jobs that might generate income. Due to these facts, some students/children fail to attend school due to these family problems.

I know we at the SLC cannot do everything for them, but we can show them love and humility. I have said this to you for your information and for keeping notes for the best sustainable planning of our center.

Despite these many challenges, we continue to provide better services to care for these children. We offer this service with great love and humility for the betterment of our beloved student as the way to build their bright future.

Similarly I’m having an idea of conducting training for teachers where our students come from (local primary school teachers) to enhance their knowledge and professionalism of raising children in their primary school. Many teachers also are in despair due to low salaries, poor working conditions, and a poor environment, so we should also encourage them through providing technical training.

Best Regards,

Yoeza

(Yoeza  Mbonea Mnzava is the Education Program Coordinator for Empower Tanzania and lives and works in Same, Tanzania. This letter was condensed and edited. All photos by Joseph Johnson Kimbwereza-Jojoki for Empower Tanzania.)