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 mothers 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 100,000 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 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 above to view our area of operation in Tanzania.
Education is essential for the future of these children and without it they will never be able to break the cycle of poverty.
Although primary education is free in Tanzania, students are required to buy their own school uniform, books and pencils. As the average annual income per family is only £70, most children simply can’t afford the required items.
The Tumaini Funds supplies AIDS orphans with a school uniform, books and pencils and everyone in the household gets 2 sets of clothes and a life-saving mosquito net.
Solar lamps are also given to as many families as possible. This enables craft-work for income and homework to be completed after nightfall. Currently the Tumaini Fund provides the means of education to 25,000 orphans. Only the children who pass their primary school completion exams are eligible for secondary school and the Tumaini Fund provides school supplies for all orphans in Kagera who achieve this level and the annual fees for sixth form education.
Teacher training: we have a student loan programme, enabling 30 successful secondary school graduates to access teacher-training college year-on-year.
Dispenser training: We have a student loan programme that allows 10 orphans to attend a two-year Government scheme that will qualify them to go back into their community as Dispensers.
24,000 children under five years of age die in Tanzania each year from drinking dirty water. Water sources are foul and often a long way from the villages and this water is used for drinking, washing, cleaning and cooking. In Kagera 12 infants in every 100 born, die before 1 year of age, usually due to gastroenteritis and dysentery caused by drinking polluted water.
Shallow wells with clean drinking water greatly improve health and livelihoods preventing people from having to walk for hours and risk their lives fetching dirty water from water holes shared with crocodiles and snakes. A shallow well at a cost of £3,400 can provide clean water for an entire village.
Over the past 14 years the Tumaini Fund supporters have donated funds to build nearly 80 shallow and deep wells.
Subsistence farming is how most of the families in the Kagera region survive. With climate change and unpredictable rains, crops, such as maize, are often planted but die before harvest due to lack of water. As recently as September 2016, the region experienced a severe drought and Tumaini responded to the famine by appeals for donations to bring in food supplies to be distributed by Tumaini parish workers to the neediest families.
Irrigation is needed to alleviate inconsistent water availability for farming. One project recently completed in Kibehe (2015), funded by a Naples, FL couple through a donation to Tumaini, consisted of two large above ground storage tanks filled with water pumped from a well by a solar powered pump. Those tanks feed taps that are linked to irrigation pipes that are laid in the crop fields. The taps are turned on when the fields need water. This has led to a huge increase in the crops produced. The outcome of this project has been to bring health and economic benefit to 500 people in Kibehe and the surrounding area. The project was so successful that the community would like 3 additional water towers to expand the area under production.
With reliable water for irrigation other crops, such as coffee, could be grown with an assurance of a harvest that could be counted on to provide a marketable produce and a boost economically to many families.
Subsistence farming is how most of the families in the Kagera region survive. With climate change and unpredictable rains, crops such as maize, are often planted but die before harvest due to lack of water. Throughout 2016 and 2017, the region experienced a severe drought and the Tumaini Fund responded to the drought and famine by appeals for donations to bring in food supplies and grain for planting to be distributed by Tumaini parish workers to the neediest families.
Irrigation is needed to alleviate inconsistent water supplies for farming. One project recently completed in Kibehe (2015), funded by a Naples, FL couple through a donation to the Tumaini Fund, consisted of two large above ground storage tanks filled with water pumped from a well by a solar powered pump. Those tanks feed taps that are linked to irrigation pipes that are laid in the crop fields. The taps are turned on when the fields need water. The project was so successful that further funding has been provided for 3 additional water towers to further increase crop production.
Houses are often made from sticks, clay or mud, with a roof of grass or banana-leaves that cannot withstand the heavy rains that occur twice a year. Whole families will share a single room and cooking in the same house creates a real health and fire hazard. In the rainy seasons, the heavy downpours leak through the roof and the family simply stands and waits for the rain to cease and the floor to dry before they can lay bedding on the ground to sleep. With a house of sticks and leaves, there is the danger of the roof falling in when water accumulates in the roof leaves, killing the family huddling inside..... a reality and desperate worry for many families. Basic mud and stick shelters offer no protection from snakes and other wild animals. There are few facilities for the collection of seasonal rainwater.
A Tumaini Fund house is built of weather-resistant fired bricks with a corrugated iron-sheet roof and has 3 internal rooms, wooden doors front and back, mosquito screens and wooden shutters on the windows. Cooking is done outside in a separate well-ventilated structure that is protected from the elements.
Vocational training is a key focus of the Tumaini Fund’s support in Kagera. The Tumaini Fund has 5 tailoring schools and 3 carpentry workshops, mainly for orphans who leave after primary school. Wooden shutters and doors for the new houses being built can be made by Tumaini carpenters.
Throughout the area, families have been helped by Tumaini to set up micro finance enterprises such as rearing chickens, goats, cows, bee keeping/honey harvesting, sunflower oil production, tailoring, craft and fish ponds. Vocational training is a important part of the larger educational effort to equip people with sustainable and income-generating skills offering a key step forward. These projects are funded by Tumaini and available to AIDS widows and widowers who seek an alternate income to subsistence farming. They are often small joint community projects.
The Tumaini Fund loans the start-up costs for the business and this loan is repaid from later profits at low interest rates, usually 1% or 2%, with a maximum of 5% for high risk ventures.
Every year malaria, a parasitic disease spread by the bite of a mosquito, results in 300 million to 500 million clinical cases and causes more than 1 million deaths worldwide. Mostly it is young children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania, who are affected, dying at the rate of nearly 3,000 every day. In Africa, malaria causes approximately 20% of all child deaths. Some children suffer an acute attack of cerebral malaria that quickly leads to coma and death; others succumb to the severe anemia that follows repeated infections, or to the consequences of low birthweight caused by malaria infection in the mother. Those children who escape death are not untouched by the disease. Malaria hinders the development of those who survive. In sub-Saharan Africa, the disease is responsible for 30 to 50% of all outpatient visits and up to 50% of hospital admissions. Malaria contributes to increased maternal morbidity and mortality. Malaria during pregnancy is the major cause of low birthweight in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease also has a crippling effect on the continent’s economic growth and perpetuates vicious cycles of poverty. It costs Africa between £7 billion and £10 billion every year in lost gross domestic product.
Protection from malaria-carrying mosquito bites is a top priority for the Tumaini Fund and thousands of mosquito nets have been provided to families to cover their beds at night.
Most roads in Kagera are dirt roads and often not much more than a track or path. The long walk to school, often several miles and taking up to two hours each way, can be a severe handicap for students who arrive home with crops and animals needing attention and essential homework to be done before nightfall. The 5km walk to and from school can be replaced with a bicycle (£80 cost) saving orphans an average of two hours per day. As a result, the students have more time for homework and more sleep which helps their grades improve dramatically. Competition to own a coveted bicycle is fierce with thousands needing bikes but few available. Bicycles are awarded to the neediest students who live 6/7km from school and after written applications from all students are evaluated.
Since formation in 2003, the Tumaini Fund has established 5 offices in Kagera from which any of the five teams of social workers and 200 parish workers can service the needs of AIDS widows and orphans in the surrounding parishes. The 5 offices, Ngara, Kayanga, Muleba, Chato and Biharamulo are separated by large distances and the lack of transportation can be a major obstacle to bringing the services Tumaini provides to remote communities and those in need. In addition to bikes, a motorcycle which costs £2,000, can provide huge time-saving benefits to social and parish workers in their efforts to visit the surrounding parishes.