Dodoma leads in production of street children

Dodoma leads in production of street children
2006-07-07 09:46:25
By Lydia Shekighenda

Dodoma has been ranked number one in producing street children in the country when compared to other regions, a survey reveals.

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, the Chairperson for Tanzania Street Children Organisation (TSCO), Shamsa Mohamed, said a one-year research conducted in five regions found out that many street children come from Dodoma Mjini District.

Mohamed said Coast Region comes second followed by Singida, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.

’’After getting such results, we decided to talk to the people of that area so that we could know the causes which contributed to such a situation,’’ she said.

She said one of the causes is poverty which makes the majority of the parents fail to meet the needs of their children as a result, they run away from homes.

She added: ’’Another reason is the arid conditions of the area which make agricultural activities difficult, as well as shortage of water.’’

Mohamed further explained that child abuse, especially to girls is rampant the area, girls get married while young and when pregnant, some of the husbands escape from their wives as a result they fail to take care of the kid(s) when born.

She, however, said lack of access and skills to family planning has made most of the parents have many children hence fail to meet their needs.

She also said some of the fathers abandon their families especially when there is shortage of food on pretext that they go to towns to look for jobs.

She explained that through discussions with local people they found out that parents do not report anywhere whenever the children disappear from home.

’’Street children are not only orphans but also those who ran away due to poverty, broken marriages, and child abuse,’’ she said.

She said before 1988, there were no such a thing as street children as there were only people with disabilities who needed help.

She said there is a need for the government and the entire community to establish strategies which could help to reduce the number of street children in our urban areas.

  • SOURCE: Guardian

A Worthy Cause

A Worthy Cause

   Wed, March 22, 2006 – 4:11 AM

My noble friend Scott Fifer is working on changing the lives of his little foreign friends with Art. It was a promise, and he needs as much help as we can give. Here is what he has to say and I support him wholeheartedly. We all have our share in the present state the world is, so let’s make the world an awesome place for as many people as we can!

I recently returned from volunteer work in Africa where I met a wonderful group of orphans living at the TunaHAKI Shelter for Street Kids. One of the kids is 11-year-old Colman Msafiri. When he was 6, his father died, and he was left in the care of his mentally ill mother. She left him at a bus stop and she told him to wait for her. He waited at the bus stop for one week, but his mother never came back, and he was forced to live on the street. Now Colman lives at the TunaHAKI Centre for Street Children in the village of Moshi, Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, where he receives shelter, food, clothing, medical care, education, and instruction in acrobatics and dance. Thanks to TunaHAKI, he now dreams to be a professional artist.I want to bring the children of TunaHAKI to America to study with professional gymnasts, acrobats, aerialists, dancers and other artists. The children are so eager to learn, so hungry for knowledge – any chance to study with professionals will exceed their wildest dreams. They will be able to see first-hand that there is a future in their art if they continue their professionalism and training. It will give them something of inestimable value, and that is hope. This exchange trip abroad would have long-lasting effects in their local community. The ultimate goal of TunaHAKI is to become self-sustaining. Word of the trip would spread like wildfire and TunaHAKI would receive national publicity in Tanzania, which means more people would want them to perform at local functions, which means more income for the Centre. Word would also spread to other street children. They will hear about the TunaHAKI street kids who worked hard and got to take an airplane to another country, and they too would want to work hard. It would undoubtedly lead to the rescue of more homeless children from the streets.

In addition to studying, the children really want to meet and perform for other homeless kids, here in America (something they specifically requested). I also want to hold fundraisers so we can build them a permanent home. They have no source of permanent funding (the kids wear old clothes, sleep three to a bed, and all money goes toward food, education, and medical care). I am looking for corporate sponsors, organizations to get involved and raise money, individual donations… Maybe groups interested in acrobatics or in helping orphans, or groups interested in connecting to Africa… These are truly wonderful kids and this trip could be a turning point in their lives. For more information, contact Scott Fifer at You can also learn more about the kids by visiting

Amarni, home for street children

Amarni, home for street children

(Blog entry) 

I’ve not written anything for a few weeks so this is going back some time now. As a change from site work, four of us went to Moshi for the day to visit the childrens’ home. Its a really amazing place. They have about 70 kids there that they have taken in off the streets, (either orphans or forced to leave home for other reasons). We had a brilliant time with them,. Playing games for the afternoon. We joined in a game of ladders which resulted in a few bruised shinns!

They asked us to go back to do an English lesson (they can’t afford to put all of them through school, so some don’t get to go). It went really well; a group of about 10 boys aged between about 10 and 13, they were keen to learn and some of them very bright. We did numbers, head shoulders knees and toes, and then animals which was so much fun. We acted out elephants, monkeys etc, and one of out lads even made ballon animals. After we sat and drew pics. Its a strange experience, to feel happy that they’ve enjoyed themselves but also upset when I start to think about the fact they don’t have families.

 (Ed note: Here is a link to Amani Children’s Home )

lucky not to get nits! DSC00244   (add further descriptive detail here) group photo at amarni head shoulders knees and toes!

Struggling to find the perfect present this Christmas?

Click on the image to download a larger version
‘YCIC pays for me to go to school. I like playing the drum. When I am playing the drum I am not afraid’ – Grace Justin, aged eight
photo: Christian Aid/Judy Rogers

Struggling to find the perfect present this Christmas? /11.03

Give a drum
Think of Africa and think of drums! Tanzania, the largest East Africa nation, is no exception to drum mania! Rhythmic, mesmerising, vibrant and alive, drums are an integral part of Tanzanian life.

Traditionally, drums were used to herald leaders, and encourage bravery in warriors. But now through Christian Aid’s partner the ‘Youth Cultural Information Centre’ (YCIC) drums are being used in a very different way. YCIC is using drums to build self-esteem amongst disadvantaged young people living on the streets of Dar es Salaam.

No one really knows how many street children there are in Tanzania, but there are an estimated 3,000 children living on the streets of the capital alone. Poverty, compounded by the AIDS epidemic, has put a strain on family relationships. Facing conflict and abuse at home, children as young as four are being drawn to the bright lights of the big cities. Children often leave their homes in the countryside, too, hoping they will be able to find work and send money back to their families. Like the homeless all over the world, they soon find the streets are not paved with gold.

Once there, children have to find the basics for survival. At night, many sleep in abandoned houses, derelict vehicles, or under street culverts. By day many turn to washing cars, begging, thieving or even prostitution to obtain food. Since Tanzanian law forbids loitering, some children sleep standing up for fear of being picked up by the police.

Life on the streets creates hatred towards the society that has rejected them. Street children need to be reunited with their families, and reintegrated into society itself. YCIC is working to build their self-esteem through drumming and acrobatic programmes run at their two drop-in centres in Dar es Salaam. They also provide funds for training and education. ‘Drums are used to refresh the minds of street children and to help integrate them into the community,’ says Franco one of the co founders of YCIC.

Aidani Komba is one of Tanzania’s street children. At 16 he ran away from home when his father began drinking and became violent. He soon found himself sleeping outside the post office in Dar es Salaam. Earning a mere 300 Tanzanian shillings (20 pence) for washing a car he was only able to buy a plate of chips, a coke or a bottle of water each day.

One night Aidani was taken to the police station and kept there for four days. Fortunately, his uncle found him and took him home. There he found out about YCIC. He was counselled by their social workers, and then taught how to play the drum and perform acrobatics. YCIC also paid for driving lessons so he could earn himself a living.

Today Aidani is himself a volunteer teacher with YCIC. Every afternoon he works with children from a squatter settlement, teaching acrobatics and drumming. In August 2003 he travelled to Greenbelt to share his story with young people in the UK and perform acrobatics with his friend Ernest. He encourages children to: ‘Take control of your life. Go and do what makes you happy.’

To YCIC he says: ‘Thank you for your help. I hope you will continue to help children like me.’

To Christian Aid he says: ‘Do not stop raising money for us. Your money is used to help change lives.’ He really wants to have his school fees paid like Ernest has – it’s his dream.

Why not buy a drum this Christmas? Put a smile on the face of one of Tanzania’s street children and give hope.

Voices of the stigmatised: listening to the street children of Tanzania

Voices of the stigmatised: listening to the street children of Tanzania

What are the links between HIV, poverty, education and gender inequality? How have structural adjustment and cost-sharing affected vulnerable children in Tanzania? Are policy-makers able to address the serious inequalities and vulnerabilities faced by the growing number of children working the country’s streets?

A paper from the University of Hull presents findings from ethnographic research in northern Tanzania. With almost a million people who have died from AIDS and an estimated million more cases, the disease is compounding Tanzania’s economic problems and placing an enormous burden on the surviving, economically active young people. Most of the estimated 730 000 AIDS orphans are being cared for by extended family members. However, many carers are too old, young or ill to meet the needs of orphaned children.

The distress and social isolation suffered by children before and after their parents’ deaths is intensified by the shame associated with AIDS. Children orphaned by AIDS are at risk of being denied access to schooling, healthcare and inheritance and property rights and they may be shunned by their relatives. Customary laws that deny a widow the rights to inherit her deceased husband’s land have devastating consequences for those who lose their father first.

For children orphaned by AIDS, running away from home to seek opportunities in the informal urban sector is a rational survival strategy. Listening to their voices, the author found that:

  • Three quarters of the children said it was family poverty that had forced them to leave home.
  • So great is the stigma that few children even mention AIDS.
  • Emotional vulnerability and financial desperation make street children vulnerable to sexual exploitation, abuse and survival sex – boys and girls are at great risk of themselves becoming infected with HIV and perpetuating the cycle of poverty and AIDS.
  • Seventy per cent of street children are boys – most of the twenty street children projects in Tanzania do not provide for the needs of girls.
  • Many street children find it hard to access healthcare services.

Many orphaned girls become urban domestic workers. The exploitation and the physical and sexual abuse they suffer are a serious hidden violation of the rights of the child. Vulnerable to unprotected or coercive sex, girls become infected at a younger age than boys. They are often first to be withdrawn from school when the family experiences poverty. For girls whose parents are unable to pay school fees, entering into a sexual relationship with an older man may be the only way to continue education. Girl-unfriendly environments in some schools mean that girls who refuse teachers’ advances can be humiliated, given low marks or beaten. Pregnant schoolgirls are often expelled.

The author calls for:

  • ensuring that policy measures aimed at assisting children orphaned by AIDS are based on a wider definition of ‘social orphans’ (thus including those whose parents are not able to provide care) in order to avoid stigmatising
  • political will to greatly increase proven cost-effective, community-based approaches to caring for orphans in their home environment
  • NGOs working with street children to do more for girls and become more sensitive to the gendered experiences, vulnerabilities and needs expressed by street girls and boys
  • much greater advocacy for the rights of all children, and particularly girls, to education, healthcare, participation and protection from exploitation.

‘Poverty, HIV and barriers to education: street children’s experiences in Tanzania’, Gender and Development, vol. 10, No. 3, pp51-62, by Ruth Evans, November 2002 Full document.