Tumaini is the Swahili word for Hope – it is also the name of a charity that seeks to alleviate the terrible suffering of Aids widows and orphans in Kagera, the most North-West province of Tanzania. Figures are unreliable, but average life expectancy there is 43 years, HIV carriage is thought to be 28% with, perhaps, 1 in 3 Mother’s delivering babies being HIV positive, a subsistence farmer will earn in the region of £55 each year, with which to support 6-8 family members. There may be 200,000 orphans in this region.
Tanzania is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world as measured by most poverty indices. Most of the wealth is concentrated around the capitals of Dar es Salaam and Dodoma in the south-east of the country. Kagera, bordering Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the south-west coast of Lake Victoria, is furthest from the source of wealth, and is thus one of its poorest regions. The Aids widows and orphans are the poorest section of this community, the poorest of the poor.
Click on the map of Tanzania on the right to view our area of operation in the context of Tanzania and its neighbouring countries.
Subsistence farming is not a good way to survive, especially with climate change and unpredictable Rains. Education is the only way to get out of this hand-to-mouth existence. Primary schooling is free in Tanzania, but children cannot enrol unless they have school uniforms, books and pencils, and that prices education out for a lot of subsistence farmers’ children and makes it impossible for sick widows’ children, or children in child-headed families.
Water sources are foul and a long way from the villages and such water is used for cleaning and cooking, and the ponds are used by animals and humans alike. Dysentery is common. Infant mortality in Kagera is 12%: 12 infants in every 100 born die before 1 year of age, usually due to gastroenteritis.
Housing is basic wattle and daub, clay or dung, and the roofs of grass or banana-leaves cannot withstand the heavy rains that occur twice a year. Whole families share a single room and cooking in the same house creates a real health and fire hazard. There are few facilities for the collection of seasonal rainwater.
Children are called Aid’s orphans if one parent has died from Aids, as the other parent will, by definition, be becoming ill themselves. Tumaini tries to lengthen their time with their children, by improving their health and life circumstances…the children just want to have their Mum or Dad with them for a bit longer and, as Tumaini works with the family, the parent will come to know that, after their death, their children will be supported… at the death of the parent we promote the children’s rights to their parents’ small-holding and support the family as a child-headed unit.
We supply each Aids orphans with school uniform, books and pencils for getting to school and everyone in the household gets 2 sets of clothes and a mosquito net (Malaria is the biggest childhood killer in Sub-Saharan Africa, while repeated episodes of malaria threatens the lives of immuno-compromised parents.)
The work is inspired by Jesus…his Holy Spirit is willing this work forward and has enabled all that has been achieved so far. We are relying on him for the miracle of a small Guernsey charity being able to support 200,000 children – without him, this would be a daunting prospect, but He makes it do-able.
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” Psalm 82:3