Economic empowerment aims to improve opportunities for marginalized and poverty stricken families. Often the children within these families are unable to attend school and their basic needs are not met.
The solutions we have been working on
In order to solve this problem, one element of our work has focussed on entrepreneurship and business skills training. 20 families in total have benefitted from these sessions which is followed up with an introduction to a loan to start a potential new business.
The previous 10 families who had already received this training have benefitted from ongoing support and further business skills training. From their initial loan they have set up small businesses which have enabled them to generate income. The families have used this additional income to pay for their children’s school fees and other vital supplies. In total, 39 more children are in school as a result.
In the third year of the project a further 22 teenage girls, who were previously engaged in the sex trade have benefitted from psychosocial support sessions and vocational training on subjects such as tailoring, food production and hairdressing. The project has also matched these girls to local businesses and supported with their formal tuition fees. Five girls who went through this programme in year 1 and 2 have set up successful businesses, supporting themselves independently.
A total of seven weekend events have taken place with children and communities which focus on children’s rights. From sports tournaments to debating sessions and counselling, children were part of a range of activities aimed at enabling them to understand their rights. There is also a weekly community radio programme which aims to embed community awareness of children’s rights.
In Year 3 of this project in Arusha, northern Tanzania, 22 teenage girls are currently being supported, many of whom have been involved in the commercial sex trade. The girls are being supported by our local partner, Shalom Centre, through training in vocational skills, business skills, life skills, and reproductive/sexual health education, as well as emotional support.
Of the 22 girls, aged 12-19, 14 have started vocational training in hotel management, tailoring or hairdressing; five have decided to set up their own businesses running market stalls that sell items such as clothes, bags, shoes and vegetables; and three girls have been reunified with their families.
Shalom Centre remains in contact with the girls from Years 1 and 2. Over a quarter have found employment in local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, hair salons, and schools (see chart). Nearly a third are self-employed having set up their own businesses, including market stalls selling second hand clothes, hair salons, and tailors.
“I am running my own hair dressing salon, and I am getting money to support myself, my little child, two young brothers at home, and my old parents in the village. I didn’t believe if I will have my own business and get income. Thank you Shalom, this is a life people should live not, commercial sex.” 18 year old girl (previously engaged in sex trade for two years)
45% are still unemployed, many of whom are currently looking for work, especially those from Year 2. Shalom Centre is endeavouring to help them find work by working closely with local employers and continueing to build the girls' skills.
Of the 49 young women, six did not compete the training after dropping out and three have returned to sex work.
Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this year's group of girls.
This project is currently supporting 25 teenage girls in Arusha, Tanzania, many of whom have been involved in the commercial sex trade. The girls are being supported by our local partner, Shalom Centre, through training in vocational skills, business skills, life skills, and reproductive/sexual health education, as well as emotional support.
Read here about the difference this project had made to the life of Mary and other girls.Mary’s father passed away when she was young and when her mother remarried she and her two younger siblings suffered.
“My step father never loved us and has never even bothered to take care of our needs.”
Mary was lucky enough to go through primary school and enrolled in secondary school, however as the fees increased Mary’s mother struggled to pay. Mary was no longer able to attend school regularly, although she did her best and kept studying even when not in school.
“My step father was too harsh and mistreated us. He always made sexual advances to me but I always refused. He told me that if I wanted him to pay for my school fees I had to do what he said. We lived in a single roomed house and it was hard for all of us to sleep in it, therefore when my step father came around, we would have spend the night at our neighbour’s house. This was very disruptive and in 2010 I failed to pass my O Levels. I asked my step father to take me to vocational training centre; he would still insist I sleep with him so that he can pay my school fees.
“I decided to do some small income generating activities like selling cakes to the kiosks in our neighbourhood and at times I would get some part time manual jobs at the factories in town. I came to learn about Shalom Centre through their programme aired at the local radio station and decided to approach them. I am glad that I was enrolled in their programme and I am pursuing a course in teaching, which I am passionate about. I am determined to work hard and succeed so that I can make an impact in our community.”
Shalom collaborates with community leaders in two areas in Arusha, which are highly affected by the sex industry, to identify 25 girls each year either involved or at risk of becoming involved in sex work, for support to develop non-exploitative and viable livelihoods.
This year the trainees divided themselves into four groups, which meet on a regular basis to provide peer support, discuss progress and challenges, and share ideas on income generating activities. The groups are extremely important for providing support – many of the girls had never previously had such a support base where they could confide in others and request advice.
From the girls supported during year one of the project, 10 are now employed, five are self-employed, one is still in secondary school, and eight are searching for employment having completed their field attachments. Shalom Centre will continue to follow-up on their progress. For those girls who are now working, their lives have changed significantly. They no longer have to rely on sex work to meet their living costs; their self-esteem and confidence are visibly improved; and they are generally much happier.
“My life has really changed a lot since I am now busy doing something meaningful with my life, and have as well gained respect with the surrounding community. I now have hope of a better future than ever before."
“You can’t imagine, I was unschooled, came from very poor family and I was engaged in sex trade exploitation for two years and drug abuse, but now see I am a school teacher!"
Thank you for your fantastic support, which has helped us achieve these great results and change the lives of many children. Please keep supporting us in the coming months, when we will also be working with families and communities to prevent girls from becoming exploited in the first place.
Read about what the project with our partner Shalom (Tanznaia) has achieved in the past year with your support!
In collaboration with the community and local authorities, another 100 children at risk of dropping out of school were identified for support in Ngaramtoni Ward and a total of 217 children have been supported to stay or re-enroll in primary education, of whom 18 live with disabilities.
“I am very happy for the opportunity to join school like other children through support from Shalom, I am now attending school well, after school hours I help my guardian with home chores. I will work hard in school and one day I will become a teacher so that I can help my children.” Irene, aged 13
“Things have changed in my school. Attendance has increased from 65% to about 85%!” Emaio Primary School Head teacher
Shalom has also worked with community leaders in Ngaranaro and Unga Ltd Wards, to identify 25 girls sexually exploited or at risk of exploitation for support through the project. The girls were supported through counselling, entrepreneurship and business skills training, training in life skills and reproductive/sexual health education. They have started vocational skills training and 10 are now employed (teachers, hairdressers, catering and hotel industry), five are self-employed (tailoring, hairdressing, restaurant), one is still in secondary school, and eight are searching for employment having completed their field attachments. Shalom continue to follow up on their progress.
For those girls who are now working, their lives have changed significantly. They are no longer exploited and their self-esteem and confidence have visibly improved and they are generally much happier.
“My life has really changed a lot since I am now busy doing something meaningful with my life, and have as well gained respect with the surrounding community. I now have hope of a better future than ever before.”, Mary
In addition to all this, through community education and awareness raising, three girls have been supported to leave exploitative child marriages and have been reenrolled in school; six children were supported to leave exploitative labour; three cases of sexual abuse to children were addressed; three children were provided with legal support, and 19 children working on the streets returned to school.
Based on feedback from children, local government leaders, parents and community volunteers, Shalom decided to facilitate parents to form a parents committee, which helps families within the community to resolve conflicts at home, address issues affecting children, and identify children for more specialized support, in close collaboration with community volunteers and, when required, Shalom staff.
Thank you for your great support, which has helped us achieve these great results and change the lives of many childen. Please keep supporting us in the coming months, when we will be also greately focussing on empowering families and communities in protecting children's rights.
Jacqueline O Kisambu is 20 years old and lives in the town of Ngaramtoni. Jacqueline struggled to further her education because of her relationship with her father. With the help of Shalom Centre for Street Children she is now able to continue her education and hopefully gain employment within the course that she is now studying. Here is her story:
"I am the first child in a family of 35 children and the only girl to continue my education to secondary level. In 2001 my aunt took me in and enrolled me into primary school where I did well in my standard seven national examinations.”
“My aunt struggled to take me to school since my father did not believe in educating girls especially since I wanted to further my education. I studied up to form four though my father always wanted to force me into early marriage. He always tried to find ways to forcefully take me back to his home but my aunt refused so that I could finish my studies.”
"My father forced me to go back to live with him and my aunt allowed it as she couldn’t put up with his behaviour towards her anymore. One day when I was at home my father brought in an elderly man, of his age, who had four wives and said that he had made plans for me to get married to him. I refused and told him that I wanted to continue with my studies. My father made living with him very difficult as he would mistreat me for refusing to marry.”
“I stayed at home for many months and concentrated on the household chores and church activities. At church a friend gave me an admission form for a college to study development studies, but when I showed my father he still dismissed the idea for me to continue with my studies. I decided to take on manual work where I could save money to go to college. Shortly after I met with my former principle from primary school who introduced me to Shalom centre. Shalom centre had been conducting some activities in her school at Ngaramtoni and that is how she learnt about the organization.”
“I am so happy that I can now further my studies. I will work very hard in the course I am undertaking which is Community development so that one day I will help girls who face the kind of challenges I have faced in life. I plan to later do a diploma in the same field, and then one day I will pursue nursing which is my dream course.”
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