Tumaini Children’s Center is the Center under ELCT/NWD(Evangerical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, North Western Diocese) The Center provides services for Children who are living in the difficult situation (street children). Tumaini means HOPE. It started 2003, the children come from various districts, mainly the ones surrounding Bukoba municipal, Bukoba Rural, Muleba Karagwe and Misenye. Very few children come from the districts which is geographically closer located to Mwanza. The center receives both boys and girls.
From 2003- 2013 we have managed to help 750 children in MEMKWA (adult education) Primary school, Secondary schools and Vocational training.
Many of the children are settled at home and the few who return back to the street we still keep in contact with. It is our hope that one day they can decide to live in a good way in the community.
Objectives of the Center
Main objectives of the project are to work with rehabilitation and reunification of street children in Kagera Region, with main focus on the street children in Bukoba town. The project build on the voluntary participations of the child.
To increase the awareness we arrange seminars to inform the community about the situation of the street children and what can be done to prevent further children leaving their homes to become street children.
Measurable outcomes will be how many children that are participating in the project and how many that will be reunited with their families, move to fosterparents or will be able to set up a home for themselves.
Outreach work to target children and youth in Bukoba
- Run the Tumaini reception and counselling centre in Bukoba. The centre provides vulnerable children and young people with psychosocial support, access to schooling and health care, as well as assistance for long term housing. Some of the children can return immediately to their families, the other children are offered a place to stay at the transition home Kyakairabwa.
- Conduct outreach work targeting both boys and girls, for example providing sport facilities, drama Groups, choir and counselling groups.
- Train peer educators who can do motivational work with vulnerable children and young people.
- Hold seminars in life skills and child rights to the community.
Rehabilitation at the transition home Kyakairabwa
- Run the transition home Kyakairabwa, with place for 60 children. The time for the child to stay at Kyakairabwa varies from a week to over a year depending on the situation for that child. The goal is always that the child will move to another permanent housing. An individual plan is made together with each child and the reasons for the child to move to the street are assessed and addressed. It is important to find a long term solution for the child and sometimes that can take longer time, especially in the cases where the children can not return to their families, but need a place in foster care or a home of their own.
- The children have access to psychosocial support from the staff that is educated in counselling. The counselling is provided individually, together with the parents or other care takers or in a group with the other children.
- The children often have a scattered educational background with a history of drop outs. Their level of knowledge is assessed and they are placed either in a MEMKWA, primary school or in vocational training.
- During the stay at the centre the children are also taught daily routines and activities, e.g. washing clothes, and cooking. They also learn how to farm the land and care for the animals. Most of the people in the region are farmers so it’s important that the children learn how to care for a farm in order to be self-sufficient.
Reunification and follow-up work
- For all children in the project the aim is to find housing, education and support. The majority of the children return to their families or relatives. In the cases where it is not possible to get home the children are offered a place in foster care, at vocational boarding school or if they are old enough a home of their own.
- The staff is always conducting follow-up to the children and families, mainly through home visits. There are a lot of reasons for the child to move away from home. Depending on the reason, family receive different types of support. In the cases where the main cause was relational problems in the family, psychosocial support and parental education are provided.
- Where the main cause was poverty, the possibilities of support to income-generating activities assessed. That can for example be to buy a small plot of land and seed so the child and family can be self-sufficient. When a child moves back to their family or relative the project staff contacts the Primary School and other local authorities and other organisations. Discussions are held about the child’s future needs and how the local community can address these needs.
- In the cases where the child has legal problems, for example with property grabbing, they receive legal assistance to be able to claim for their rights.
Community based prevention work
- Through the meeting in the villages concerning individual children, the needs of this group of children become more visible and the local community more engaged.
- Seminars are conducted in the community. Village leaders, teachers, police, social welfare, parents, children and others receive training in child rights, parental skills, the importance of education and the awareness of street children and working children.
- Local preventive strategies are being developed together with the key stakeholders in the village to prevent more children to move to the street and which makes it possible for former street children to remain in their home villages. The preventive work is carried out mainly through existing structures in the village, e.g. HUYAWA and MVCC committees.