Who Are We?
Tumaini Children’s Foundation is a not for profit, charitable organization dedicated to the care, support and education of orphaned and needy children in and around Usa River, Arusha, Tanzania. TUmaini CHIldren’s FOundation, or (TUCHIFO, – acronyms are VERY popular in Tanzania) has acquired its NGO registration (United Republic of Tanzania, Non-Governmental Organization Act, 2002, Section 12(2) of Act. No. 24 of 2002, Certificate No. 3232) and has received charitable registration approval from Revenue Canada. TUCHIFO has no religious affiliation, most simply put; the level of need dictates the level of assistance TUCHIFO provides. We made many home visits during the months of August and September, 2009 assessed need and selected children based on their individual living situations. Several of our children are orphans in the purest sense. Brothers Stefano and Lazaro’s parents have died of AIDS and they are living (and starving) with their uncle, aunt, and two cousins who all share a one room, mud hut. Margaret has an alcoholic mother (of all of our children, only Esther and Latifa have fathers), who is using her as a vehicle to acquire alcohol. Margaret’s village council has asked us to step in.
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2008 it was ranked (based on 2006 stats) 162nd out of 177 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index. Canada was ranked #3. This index references quality of life, life expectancy, standards of living, education, etc. Malaria kills one in five Tanzanian children and four (Stefano, Furaha, Reba, and Chi)TUCHIFO children were treated for it while I was in Usa River. The human decimation of HIV/AIDS has left a population of almost 50% children (under fourteen years of age). TUCHIFO children Christina, Francis, Joseph, Janet and Emmanuel are living with their Bibis (grandmothers) who are in their 70s and 80s and unable to provide the proper care these children require.Statistically, TUCHIFO should have nine HIV+ children . . . I am happy to report that we have only two to date, but we are working with an Usa River, HIV support group and have seven positive “mamas”, without husbands/partners who are struggling with desperate poverty, their own and in some cases their child’s HIV health issues and trying to feed/raise their children. Less than 5% of children in Tanzania complete secondary school and many will not even finish their primary educations because of the cost. For one child to attend public school, (where classes approximate one hundred students per teacher and students attend without pens, pencils, paper, desks, etc.) a family must allocate the equivalent of almost $100 Cdn. per child to cover the cost of: watchman/water/school maintenance/desk $40; uniform shirts (2) $10; uniform skirt/trouser $10; uniform sweater $10, uniform shoes and polish $15, uniform socks $2, school book bag $5; exercise books $5. $100 equates to ¼ of the average annual household income of $395 Cdn. and is impossible for most families to commit to a child’s education. TUCHIFO’s objective is to acquire sponsorship for all of our children to attend non-government schools, where classes are closer to 30 students/teacher and children are taught English (public primary education is taught in Swahili), which they will require to continue in secondary school because that is taught in English. Lacking a fundamental understanding of English, both written and spoken is a serious impediment to educational advancement. Private school tuition averages Cdn. $600/year/child plus the cost of uniforms (Cdn. $50). Our vision is to support our children through secondary and even post secondary education in order to give them the best chance at a full life.
W e live in rented premises but our long term plan is to fund raise and purchase our own land and build a permanent home and school for our needy children. We have hand selected our support staff who will provide loving care and attention to our children and we are implementing educational programs for those children too young to begin school in order to provide them with a “kick start”, in English, numbers, printing, and reading. The children of Usa River have no concept of possessions because they have nothing to possess. Most of our children have never coloured, or written their own names. We are going to change all of that.
T umaini has established a relationship with Usa River’s Dr. Lyimo, a dedicated G.P. who will treat our children. All of TUCHIFO’s children attended Dr. Lyimo in September for a checkup, de-worming, and the treatment of different infections, etc. Several have been scheduled for minor surgeries we will complete over the Christmas holidays and one child, Esther, has had the first of three surgeries she will undergo to correct her birth defects. You may read about Esther by clicking on her photo on our homepage.
Visit our site and meet our children . . . better yet, visit Usa River, Tanzania and meet them in person. We have accommodation for volunteers and can assist in organizing safaris to the Serengeti and other national parks. In addition, we are less than one hour from Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and can help arrange climbing expeditions.
Please consider sponsoring part or, if possible, all of one of our children’s needs. Asante sana!!