Sponsored by a grant from the Park Family Charitable Trust and supported by FOAT, this project began in January 2019 with a total of 17 students with disabilities from the Amani Community in and around Chamwino. The Tailoring Project gives the young disabled a skill they can use to earn an income for their families.
The initial funding was for seven months. After this time, three of the students learned basic tailoring skills and, with limited support from their teacher, could make clothes and uniforms to sell in the local market. In August 2019, Trustees Bridget and Leslie Green were on hand to congratulate them on their success on reaching a key milestone for the project.
A further three students were close to graduation. Amani and FOAT recognised that, because of their disabilities, the students needed longer to learn skills needed to be able to tailor independently and establish their own small businesses.
Following a small injection of funds by FOAT and a generous donation from a private individual , the project is able to continue to July 2020 when it is expected that up to 10 of the original cohort of students will have the skills necessary to start their own tailoring businesses.
The Tailoring Project in action outside the Amani Centre
The Co-Curricular Project at Mvomero, funded by a grant from the Fonthill Trust, is an exciting and innovative project launched in February 2019. It aims to use agriculture as a learning opportunity by using the maize field and vegetable garden as an outdoor classroom, where the children at the Amani Special School for the Hearing impaired can learn about growing maize and vegetables, but can also practise elements of the Government Curriculum.
During a visit in February, Associate Trustee, Barbara Bristow facilitated the launch of the project including buying all the necessary technology, computers and a laminator, as well as the tools for the agriculture.
The Fonthill Trust have been kind enough to provide a further grant for 2020. The money provided will enable the maize and vegetables to be prepared and grown for a further year and to enable the activities to become more sustainable. Amani also hopes to purchase 40 chickens with the money to help the children learn how to look after chickens and work as a team to develop a small business selling eggs and chickens.
Amani has long supported the villagers of Mpapa and Msufini through outreach from its Mvomero Centre. In 2007-08 FOAT supported economic social empowerment projects in these communities, teaching families of the disabled the skills of goat husbandry and donating goats for them to rear, use the milk and sell for meat.
Subsequently, the villagers have started community banks and initiated other income generating projects, including a local vegetable garden cooperative.
Over the years, FOAT Trustees have regularly visited these communities and seen the benefits derived from the social empowerment projects. However, the on-going challenge the villagers were facing was that of access to medical facilities. These communities are some 10 to 15 km from Mvomero, accessible by motor vehicle only during the dry season. For up to three months of the year they have no access to medicines or medical professionals.
Four years ago, working with FOAT, children from Dame Alice Owen School in London raised funds to build a four room dispensary for the villagers. Once complete the Government had agreed to provide a nurse/dispenser to live on site and to stock the drugs for the dispensary. FOAT provided the last of the funds in 2018 to complete the building ready for registration.
In February 2019 Government officials visited and advised it did not meet the revised Government standard for registration as a village dispensary. It would need to have a total of 10 rooms. FOAT made an unsuccessful bid to a Trust Fund in the UK to complete this work. After a local appeal in July 2019, Bridget secured an anonymous donation for the full amount to complete the building of the 10 roomed structure. Bridget and Leslie reviewed the work during their visit in August last year.
The progress of the dispensary building
The collaborative project between the Anglican Diocese of Morogoro and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Morogoro was initiated by the Trustees of Friends of Amani Tanzania (FOAT) and the Anglican and Catholic Bishops in 2013 with funding from the Oxford Diocesan Outreach Fund. Since then the two churches have been working hard to serve the community through projects supporting the Berega Hospital and Orphanage and the Amani Centre for Persons with Mental and Physical Disability in Morogoro. Over the past few years members of both churches have worked together to undertake outreach work to provide education to raise awareness in the community regarding the welfare of disabled children.
The result has been that this joint effort was able to reach a greater range of families than was possible before the collaboration. As a consequence of this outreach work, many families responded positively to the education on health of the disabled, but the challenge was that of family poverty.
Ecumenical social entrepreneurship projects mark an extension of this joint mission to help these families become more economically self-reliant and also less socially isolated.
This project, begun in February 2018 funded by the Anglican Communion Fund, focussed on training and supporting small groups of families with children with disabilities to develop small enterprises to generate income for themselves. The two villages, Chalinze and Tunguli, chosen for this project were geographically remote from Amani but families with disabilities had already been identified in both locations through earlier ecumenical outreach work. In August 2018, after the project had been running for just six months, Trustees Bridget and Leslie Green visited Tunguli and were impressed by early developments. Most of the groups had initiated chicken rearing projects.
In August 2019 Bridget and Leslie made a brief visit to Chalinze; developments here were impressive. Two of the groups had combined, had a strong Vicoba (Village Community Bank) which had already enabled a number of the individuals within the group to take loans to start/enhance their own businesses including small shops, cafes and a hairdressing salon. They had also obtained Government registration and were making an application to borrow further funds.
There was no doubt in Bridget and Leslie’s minds that this project was proving a tremendous success and given an injection of further funds, could be emulated elsewhere to empower families with children with disabilities to work cooperatively and help to lift them out of poverty.
FOAT is currently seeking funds to develop economic social empowerment projects with families of the disabled in the villages of Chakwale and Matombo.