The Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) in Shinyanga Diocese is located in Northern Tanzania within an area of extreme poverty and where the challenges are numerous. The communities in the region are characterised by traditional beliefs that encourage stigma connected to children with disabilities. There is a high incidence of children with albinism and the practice of witchcraft is prevalent, particularly in communities where a mother has given birth to a child with albinism. Education facilities are inaccessible to many children living in rural areas, particularly to those with a disability. Health facilities are scant and grossly inadequate to meet the needs of the mainly rural population.
It is against this background that in 2019, the Diocese of Shinyanga established its Care Ministry Programme; to educate and support those disadvantaged by poverty and disability. In 2020, FOAT agreed to work with the Shinyanga Diocese to take forward its Care Ministry work in conjunction with Trustees, Bridget and Leslie Green.
We hope you enjoy reading the recent news about our work in Shinyanga.
For previous news stories (2021 and earlier), please click the below link.
We are pleased to share the following report after a successful visit to Shinyanga by Bridget and Leslie (trustees of Friends of Amani Tanzania and Commissaries of the Bishop of Shinyanga) in August 2023.
We are pleased to share an update about Buhangija School following the fundraising appeal to help replace the children's belongings; develop the garden for food and therapy; and assist in rehabilitating the children traumatised by the fire.
Thank you to everyone who donated to and supported this appeal!
On 23 November at approximately 23:00hr a fire swept through a hostel at Buhangija school for children with albinism and special needs in Shinyanga, Northern Tanzania.
The hostel which housed 32 girls -11 with visual impairment, 18 with albinism and three with a hearing impairment - was completely gutted.
Three girls - Catherine (11), Miriam (11) and Caren (9) all with a visual impairment were killed in the fire. The matron who awoke as the fire took hold raised the alarm and managed to evacuate the other 29 children. By the time the guards arrived on the scene to help the fire was already too severe and the three girls could not be saved.
The surviving girls have lost everything. Funds are urgently needed for bedding, clothes, shoes and personal belongings for them.
The school, which has over 300 pupils, has been closed pending an investigation by the authorities and parents asked to take their children home. However, over thirty children abandoned by their parents cannot go home. Funds are needed to purchase some basic games and equipment to help the children recover from their trauma.
The cost of replacing the children's destroyed belongings, purchasing games to occupy them and assist in their recovery, and re-establishing the vegetable garden is estimated at £3,500.
If you can support in any way, please follow the below link to the JustGiving page.
Following Safeguarding training delivered by FOAT Trustee, Cathy Swanson earlier this year which included representatives from Shinyanga and Amani, and the importance given to Safeguarding at the Conference of Anglican Bishops Worldwide held in London in July, Bp Johnson and Bishop Sehaba agreed to draft a Safeguarding proposal to be considered by the ACT House of Bishops in November. The proposal will introduce, promote and keep alive safeguarding in all contexts to vulnerable people in Tanzania. FOAT Trustees, Bridget and Leslie Green were invited to review and comment on the draft document during their recent visit to Morogoro in August.
Rev Stanley (Shinyanga), Leslie (FOAT Trustee), Bp Sehaba (Morogoro), Bp Johnson (Shinyanga),
Bridget (FOAT Trustee), Rev Enock (Morogoro)
In June, FOAT Trustees and Bishop’s Commissaries, Bridget and Leslie Green visited the Diocese of Shinyanga to review the Care Ministry projects FOAT supports there, to discuss on-going challenges and future plans. They had a very busy nine days.
Six delegates from Shinyanga travelled the long distance to Morogoro to undertake training on Safeguarding.
This training was delivered by Cathy Swanson (FOAT Trustee) to support local charities, NGOs and institutions to implement policies and protocols to protect the children and vulnerable people they work with.
Nikolaus has cerebral palsy. He struggles to walk, is in constant pain and is incontinent. He lives in abject poverty with his mother, Gloria and younger brother. Like most mothers of children with disabilities, Gloria has been abandoned by her husband, has few friends, no support mechanisms and little prospect of earning a living.
The Shinyanga Care Ministry team has brought Nikolaus and his mother together with nine other mothers and their children with disabilities, to form the Comfort Women’s Group to develop kinship, reduce the stigma of disability and generate an income to support themselves.
FOAT, together with the Shinyanga Care Ministry Team, are seeking to raise £1,200 to train the Comfort Women’s group to initiate an economic empowerment project, supervise them closely in the process to achieving sustainable economic development and raise awareness on how to build commitment on self-reliance.
Please support this initiative by donating here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Shinyanga-Nikolaus-Kinship
Baraka was born into a family of eleven children, four with albinism, living in a remote area near Solwa. The Care Ministry Team in the Shinyanga Diocese found this family struggling to meet family needs, particularly for the health and education of the children. In April 2021, two of Baraka’s sisters – Shija and Lucia – were given the opportunity of an education at Mwadui Anglican Primary School sponsored by a UK supporter and fostered by the local priest, Rev Jacob (see section below - Mwadui Primary School takes a lead in inclusive education)
The Assistant Bishop of the Lutheran Church, hearing about this arrangement from Rev Jacob, came forward to offer boarding and education for six year old Baraka at the Lutheran School in Mwadui, close to Rev Jacob’s home.
On Monday 31 January Baraka was brought to the School and was soon settled into the dormitory which he will share with other young children, cared for by the Matron.
The Church appeals to all friends to support Baraka’s family, believing that supporting the children’s education is helping the family to support themselves in the future.
Rev Zachias, Matron with Baraka, and Rev Jacob
Baraka with other children and Matron at his new school
Baraka in the dormitory with other children
The constitution documentation of Friends of Amani Tanzania (FOAT) states that the application of income to the charity be used for:
· The relief of financial hardship in Tanzania, in particularly supporting the work of The Amani Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Chamwino, Morogoro
· To advance the education of people in Tanzania, in particular those with disabilities
FOAT Trustees reviewed the constitution at their meeting in December 2019 and agreed that the Charity could support work amongst the disadvantaged and disabled in Tanzania beyond the direct remit of the Amani Centre. Trustees Bridget and Leslie Green reported that Rev Stanley Sewando, Anglican Priest who had been Project Co-ordinator for the Ecumenical work at Amani, had been appointed Diocesan Secretary of Shinyanga, Northern Tanzania in May 2019.
At the invitation of Bishop Johnson, Diocesan Bishop of Shinyanga, Bridget and Leslie visited Shinyanga – one of the poorest regions in Tanzania - in September 2019 and saw first-hand some of the challenges faced by the communities there.
Learning from work with the disabled community in Morogoro, Stanley, with the backing of his Diocesan Bishop, is now developing initiatives in Shinyanga to support the disadvantaged and disabled community there.
Projects amongst disadvantaged communities led by the Anglican Church of Tanzania in Shinyanga and supported by Friends of Amani Tanzania (FOAT) are independent from those at the Amani Centre, Morogoro. Funds for these projects are deposited into the FOAT account and ring-fenced for Shinyanga. Payments are made to the Shinyanga Care Mission Account which is administered by the Diocesan Bishop, Diocesan Secretary and a named church volunteer.
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