Tanzania, like other countries in Sub Saharan Africa is stunning in landscape. However, there are whole host of underlying issues that adversely affect its citizens. Systemic problems such as high crime rates due to unemployment, lack of access to clean water and adequate social services makes the poor living conditions difficult to overcome. Tanzania continues to be one of the most HIV affected countries in the world, with millions of people currently affected by the disease. With so many AIDS related deaths, many children are left without family. Unfortunately, due to the stigma that surrounds these deaths, extended family are reluctant to care for these children because of fear that they might bring the disease into their homes.
Children, especially girls in Tanzania who have been orphaned or abandoned face many struggles. In addition to being at risk of trafficking, rape, and extreme poverty, girls in Tanzania are rarely given the opportunity to overcome their situation. A recent United Nations report shows that orphaned and vulnerable children in developing countries are less likely to finish primary school, with Sub-Saharan Africa leading the way with the highest rate of children dropping out of school in the world. Poor health, social oppression, early marriage, lack of transportation and trauma are just some of the barriers that prevent successful completion of school among orphaned children, especially girls. In fact, 28 million girls between the ages of about 6 and 15 across Africa are not in school and many will never have the chance to ever enter a classroom.
Quality education can be a powerful agent for building stronger communities and bridges out of poverty. As the number of orphaned and abandoned children increase, their communities become less capable of addressing their basic needs, including their ability to access education. Education gives people more than the gift of knowledge. It allows them to acquire skills to effectively advocate for themselves and provides a way out from the cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
Recognizing this crisis in their own community, a group of Tanzanian women established Olof Palme Orphans Education Centre, which later became Bethsaida Orphans Education Centre, in 2005. Their vision was to address the barriers that prevent orphaned girls from becoming educated. Their vision was to provide a quality secondary and/or vocational education program along with free housing, food and counseling, so that these girls can have the best chance at succeeding. Today, Bethsaida serves over 160 orphaned and vulnerable girls from different communities in Tanzania. During their stay at Bethsaida, the girls will study English, Kiswahili, history, math, and several sciences. At completion, the girls will have the opportunity to participate in scientific activities, develop competitive analytical and problem-solving skills and advance to tertiary level programs. For many, even if they defy the odds and complete high school, they don’t see tertiary programs as a viable option. This is due to the high fees associated with tuition and supplies due upon admission. Without access to post-secondary education and vocational programs, they risk continuing to be dependent in adulthood, and potentially returning to the same harsh environments, without the skills or opportunities to change their circumstances.
Serving Orphans Worldwide travels to every orphanage we partner with to ensure needs are legitimate and 100% of funds distributed goes to the livelihood of the children.
This year, we have a goal to help improve the quality of care for these amazing children, and we need your help. Your gift will help provide education, a safe home, health, and adult mentors who can share the Love of Christ. Our promise to you is that 100% will go directly to the home.