"The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family" (Mother Theresa).
Sadly, millions of children across the world do not have families who are able provide them with the care and support they need. Every year on 15th May, organisations across the world mark the International Day of Families in recognition of the importance of families and 'to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family' (Ban Ki Moon, 2013).
Challenges Facing Families in Tanzania:
In Tanzania, extreme poverty, high unemployment and death through HIV and AIDs frequently results in family breakdown. It is the children who suffer the most when families breakdown. Currently, there are more than 2 million orphaned or abandoned children in Tanzania and 20% of children are engaged in child labour.
Fighting to reunify children into families:
Based in the North-Eastern Tanzania, ChildHope's partner Mkombozi (meaning "liberator") identifies boys and girls who are living or working on the streets due to poverty and family breakdown. Ultimately, Mkombozi aims to reunify all children with a family through counselling and livelihood support but this can take time, so the work of Mkombozi's foster carers and transition centre is critical.
Musa is 13 years old and meeting ChildHope's partner Mkombozi changed his life. Before meeting Mkombozi, Musa was living in dire poverty. He was malnourished, slept on the dirt floor in the family home and was unable to attend school because his parents did not have enough money to send him. A local community leader was so worried about him, that they contacted Mkombozi for help.
Upon meeting Musa and his family, it was clear that the family loved each other but that the situation was putting Musa's health and future at risk. The family was committed to working with Mkombozi but some temporary respite was needed whilst the family was helped to overcome their difficulties. A local school teacher was identified in the local area to provide temporary foster care whilst also allowing Musa to visit and remain close to his family
How Musa's life has changed
The change for Musa has been dramatic. He is now back in school and doing well. He eats healthily and says that he is very happy where he is living. Things have also improved for his family. Counselling has helped his Mum stop drinking and seek regular work which has improved the families living situation. Counselling is helping Mum and Dad learn more about how to protect their children and ensure that they are safe and well. Mkombozi hope that Musa can return home in the near future.
Musa is just one of over 700 children that have been helped over the past year. ChildHope knows that working with families is critical to their success and to the long term safety and well being of children like Musa.