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.”
“My name is Mary. We are five children in my family, one boy and four girls. We were all born in Nairobi, Kenya since my father is a Kenyan and my mother a Tanzanian. I went through my primary education in Kenya up to standard seven then my parents relocated to Tanzania.
“My parents used to quarrel a lot and later on they separated. My father neglected us and we have never traced his whereabouts till today. My mother was unemployed and our living conditions became too hard for us since she could not afford to cater for the needs of the five children. It was at this time that she abandoned us and we were left under the care of my elder sister. We came to learn later that my mother lives in Dar es Salaam but she never cares about us anymore. At that time I dropped out of school since my sister could not afford to pay for our school fees.
“We have lived with my sister ever since our parents left us, and she had to struggle to take the responsibility of providing for our basic needs. Life was too hard for us since she did not have a permanent job and she later on got a baby. Therefore she had an added responsibility, and we all lived in a small one bedroom rented house; life did not get any better. Most of the times we failed to get food and sleep hungry and my young sisters and brother were not able to continue with school as well. It was at this point that I engaged myself in commercial sex work at the age of 13. I engaged in this work for one year before I met Shalom.
“This sex trade activity is very hard and most of the times I could only get very little money or even none since most of the clients claimed that I was too naïve for this kind of work. I don’t like this kind of activity, there are so many risks but I was pushed to do it because of the hard living conditions.
“Once I was enrolled in Shalom project for girls at risk, I stopped this activity since they gave me hope for a better life and I also got an opportunity to go to vocational training in hotel management course for one year which I believe will transform my life.
“There are still challenges faced during training, like lack of bus fare but I decided never to go back to sex trade since I want to live a better life and be a role model to other girls who have lost hope in their lives.“I am grateful to Shalom for the opportunity to further my studies and also for equipping me with other skills like entrepreneurship skill, reproductive health and also moral support. My life has become better since I stopped engaging in commercial sex activity. Shalom also helped me trace my aunty whom I live with now, since my sister could not afford to cater for all our needs. If it were not for Shalom, I could still be engaging in sex trade since I had no hope for a better life, but now they have taught me how to value my life.
“My future hopes are to get employment once I finish the course I am undertaking now so that I can help my siblings. I would also like to advance my studies; maybe do a diploma in some other field of studies. I would also love to help girls like me so that they can have a better life.”
This project is currently supporting 23 teenage girls and young women, many of whom are involved in the commercial sex trade. The women and girls are being supported through psychosocial counselling, enrollment in vocational training courses, entrepreneurship/business skills training, and training in life skills and reproductive/sexual health education. Following discussions with each girl on the most appropriate course for them, three were enrolled on a six month training course in beauty/hair dressing, 19 were enrolled on a 12 month training course in hotel management, and one girl was enrolled on a Early Childhood Development course, equipping them all with marketable skills in order to find meaningful work in the community or establish their own businesses. Shalom’s social workers and community volunteers make regular visits to their homes and the training centres to monitor progress and attendance. If any of the trainees’ attendance starts dipping, Shalom’s social worker will follow-up with the girl to check the reasons for this and provide appropriate support.
Shalom organised group excursions for the girls to develop their confidence, broaden their horizons, and motivate them. The girls were taken to various markets in Arusha to visit women from similar backgrounds to themselves who are now earning an income and have improved their lives; 17 hotel management trainees visited the National Parks Hotel to learn about hotel management.The trainees formed four groups, based on their location, 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.
The women and girls are expected to complete their training in late February and will be supported to secure permanent jobs or provided with equipment required to start-up their own business. Stay tuned for further updates!
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