kids walk through Mabibo District of Dar es Salaam, on the way back from school.

Learning to Realise Promise Prioritised by HBH

With ten years of successful experience helping the most vulnerable children in Tanzania, the House of Blue Hope charity takes the education of vulnerable children incredibly seriously. The charity shares the view of World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim:

“When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.

The World Bank’s recently published World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realise Promise’ has revealed, that despite net enrolment in education in developing countries in the last few decades far outpacing historic rates of today’s industrialised countries, there is a ‘learning crisis’ in global education. Millions of students in low and middle income countries are failing to benefit from years in primary and secondary school as literacy and numeracy standards remain alarmingly low for these children in long term formal education. Young students, already disadvantaged by barriers to learning such as poverty, gender inequality, and disability, are reaching young adulthood without even the basic tools or knowledge needed to cope. As highlighted, these fundamental skills have a huge impact. Without them, simple tasks like “calculating the correct change from a transaction, reading a doctor’s instructions, or interpreting a campaign promisebecome unachievable.

Kids walk through Mabibo District of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after school

Though many kids in Tanzania attend primary and secondary school, the standard of teaching is often startlingly low, with kids not gaining the skills necessary to prosper.

A poor education harms those most in need of the boost a good education should provide, thus widening, not narrowing, the social divide. This amplification of inequalities is not diminished the longer the students are in school; without that early foundation of skills, year on year learning is curtailed. It also perpetuates the social divide through the generations. Barely literate and numerate parents, and teachers cannot nurture learning and knowledge in the younger generations.

So despite the encouraging rate of enrollment in education systems globally, why are these systems failing those students who are attending primary school and secondary school? The report reveals “Struggling education systems lack one or more of four key school-level ingredients for learning: prepared learners, effective teaching, learning focused inputs, and the skilled management and governance that pulls them all together.”

The children who do make it to the school gate, often do so unprepared or unable to absorb what they are going to be taught. In developing countries where poverty is rife, these children can often be malnourished, suffering from disease, and have little or no support from caregivers or guardians. The harsh environments that come hand in hand with poverty undermine their capacity to learn.

Poverty, malnutrition, and little support from caregivers, means vulnerable kids are disadvantaged in the classroom, perpetuating the social divide.

While some children are not in a position to learn, teachers are often not in a fit state to teach. With a lack of knowledge and skills themselves, it can be a case of the blind leading the blind. As the report testifiesTeachers are the most important factor affecting learning in schools.  Weak teacher education results in teachers lacking subject knowledge and pedagogical skills.” Indeed the report goes on to state in 14 Sub-Saharan countries, the average grade 6 teacher performs no better on reading tests than do the highest-performing students from that grade.Aside from a dearth in the tools to teach, many teachers can be demotivated or absent entirely. Poor management and career support, as well as underfunding for those teachers that are capable and motivated to teach, can be contributing factors to such absenteeism.

This World Bank report emphasises the charity’s work is as vital as ever in fighting the social injustices that hobble the poorest in society. The House of Blue Hope charity has a wealth of experience ensuring vulnerable kids in Tanzania are given the best possible start in life: their good health, and a comprehensive education, are a fundamental starting point from which the charity builds.

In conjunction with providing sustenance and medical attention, caregivers ensure they receive the emotional and psychological support they need, as these kids have often experienced trauma, neglect, or abuse. This prepares them so that they are ready to learn and get the most out of the education they receive.

The newest additions to the organisation are given the tutoring support they need to be ready to enter formal education: It is often the case that the vulnerable children the charity takes in have either missed years of school, or never had the opportunity to attend. In such cases, the children are given extra help to get them up to speed, so that when they do enter school, they have the best chance of settling in successfully, so that they can gain the most of the education on offer.

kids walk through Mabibo District of Dar es Salaam, on the way back from school.

The House of Blue Hope charity sends the kids in its care to some of the best schools in the city, so they can reach their full potential.

The children are provided one of the best educations available in Dar es Salaam. The kids under the charity’s stewardship, attend Gonzaga Primary, and Loyola High Schools. These schools provide an exemplary education, where learning is its vehicle for success. The school’s reputation is well founded on talented, motivated teachers who are given the support and training they need to facilitate the endowment of knowledge, critical, as well as creative, thinking the young students need to be well prepared for the challenges they will face as adults.

In a country where poverty is a persistent barrier to learning and development, the House of Blue Hope charity is doing what it can to break the cycle of illiteracy and innumeracy that hold the children whom societies fail the most, from escaping the poverty into which they were born, by providing a life changing opportunity to learn and prosper.

Mr Mkumbo from Ubungo Municipality in Dar es Salaam was House of Blue Hope Charity's guest of honour at the tenth birthday community party

HBH Welcomes Mr Mkumbo and others to Celebrate Ten Years

It has been a very special year for the charity this year, so there was lots to celebrate. With that in mind, the charity organised a street party held at the house, inviting those who had played pivotal roles in the year’s achievements, as well as community members.

Having reached the ten year milestone, the House of Blue Hope charity has been working hard to raise funds in order to double its size, with the ambition of securing the futures of ten vulnerable girls in the new girls’ house.

Not only is the charity working on doubling its capacity but also facilitating the successful transition from higher education to industry for the first kids to have received its aid, since its inception. These first alumni joined the celebrations and were excited to be present to witness the new kids just starting their journey through the charity’s guardianship. Each spoke briefly about their experiences, on the day.

The four vulnerable girls who have been taken in by House of Blue Hope Charity introduced themselves for the first time, to the day’s attendees. Having been at the house for a few months now, they have become comfortable and settled in their new home, while preparing themselves for entering formal school at Gonzaga Primary School in the coming months. Currently there is space for another six girls, and the charity is working on making that happen very soon.

The vulnerable girls who joined House of Blue Hope introduce themselves to the attendees of the charity's community celebration, with the boys who have been receiving support for a while, in Mabibo

Also in attendance was writer, Vedasto Nyatega, from Lecri Consult Ltd. Earlier in the year a few of the alumni had attended a two day seminar involving CV writing, interview techniques, and more. As today’s kids grow up and complete their education, the charity will continue to provide guidance and support to help them reach their full potential in the job market.

This year has seen the charity making the most of its newly leased community centre. There have been several educational workshops, including training mothers and women within the Mabibo community, in craftwork and business skills. Attendees of these courses joined in the celebrations and exhibited their products, discussing what they had learned with other guests.

Women from Mabibo community show off their craftwork including fabric, beaded handbags, and scarves, at the charity street party celebrating ten years in Tanzania

It was also a pleasure for the House of Blue Hope charity to receive two representatives of the marine conservation organisation Sea Sense, who had visited the community centre to teach the HBH kids about the marine habitat, and the vital conservation work they do to help protect Sea Turtles, and many other threatened species.  As many of you will know, the charity’s involvement with Sea Sense came about through the collaboration with the incredibly talented CJ Eklund Fine Art Photography whose #EmpathyBetweenSpeciesProject has seen equipment being donated to the House of Blue Hope, and seen the kids be given the opportunity to learn so much about animal welfare and the environment. More news to follow very soon about this incredible project, so watch this space. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate with CJ Eklund Fine Art Photography on House of Blue Hope Day.   

House of Blue Hope Charity's country director, Daudi Mboma, gets ready to cut the tenth birthday cake, in front of Mr Mkumbo from the Ubungo Municipal, Dar es Salaam

Local luminary Mr James Mkumbo, who is District Administrative Secretary of Ubungo Municipal, was the House of Blue Hope Charity’s guest of honour. Mr Mkumbo has been the charity’s contact person at the municipal. During several projects which involve the Municipal he has always been there to share valuable information. Such projects include the donation of bricks for the construction of latrines at Mbezi Msumi Primary School: Mr Mkumbo linked the House of Blue Hope Charity with the school and was invaluable throughout the whole process. It was an honour to welcome him to share in the stories and developments the charity has been a part of, and to look forward to future progress and ambitions to turn the lives around for vulnerable kids in Tanzania, and help eliminate poverty, alongside fulfilling many other SDGs set out by the UN.

To see more photos of the festivities head over to our Facebook page, where you will find our photo album.

Women’s Craft Enterprise Education

As an ongoing effort to facilitate the empowerment of poor women in Tanzania, working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the House of Blue Hope charity arranged for women in the Mabibo community in Dar es Salaam to participate in a training course, teaching the women craft skills and building on previous training in money and resource management. With such skills, these women could capitalise on potential new revenue streams, and become more self-sufficient. 

 

Women sit together, preparing fabric to decorated and dye so they can sell it for a profit in the local market in Mabibo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The women were shown various craft work techniques including how to dye fabric, and decorate bags, and how, with a small upfront investment in materials, they can create goods to sell then reinvest some of the profit of each sale in order to grow a small business.  The practical craft skills were taught as an example of how the women could add value to everyday materials that are available to them, without significant upfront costs. With a small amount of seed money, and using the knowledge they gained from the Women’s Empowerment course held by Tanzania Social Work Initiative Company (TASWICO), they could put into practice the lessons learnt about entrepreneurial success, and gaining more financial stability and independence.

women show off the results of dyeing fabric in bright colours in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

 

With these initiatives the House of Blue Hope charity is looking to educate and empower poor women in Tanzania who have not been given the chance to fulfil their potential. Instead they are faced with few opportunities to gain valuable experience or workforce training. Having not completed their schooling, been forced to seek unskilled, low-paying, and unstable work, or becoming trapped in domestic servitude, these women rarely escape the poverty trap that so often blights the lives of the most vulnerable within society. To enable these women to gain more control over their earning potential, is a step in the right direction in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG #5 (Gender Equality), SDG #1 (No Poverty), and SDG #2 (No Hunger).

It is also sometimes a critical lifeline for vulnerable women to escape domestic situations that are dangerous, with the all-to-real threat of domestic violence and abuse.  With more autonomy to provide for themselves, the poorest women have a greater chance of escaping exploitation.

By providing training and capital for the women in HBH’s community, to create their own unique products to sell, the charity is working to effect social change alongside the care and education of vulnerable children. The hope is these women can grow their product lines, and provide a new income revenue from further afield. Watch this space to find out how they get on, in the coming weeks.

SDGs: Striving for Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability

As discussed in previous blog posts, the international community is focused on sustainable development via the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The House of Blue Hope charity is working hard to achieve many of these SDGs, including:

  • SDG #1 No Poverty
  • SDG #2 Zero Hunger
  • SDG #3 Good Health and Well Being
  • SDG #4 Quality Education
  • SDG #5 Gender Equality   

Illustration of the UN seventeen SDGs

 

The charity in Tanzania has spent the last ten years working to break the inter-generational poverty that persists in many communities across Tanzania, and preventing some of the poorest, most vulnerable boys from ending up on the streets, by providing a quality education, shelter, food, and medical care. The community outreach projects the charity carries out in its immediate community in the Mabibo district of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as well as this year’s expansion to take in poor, vulnerable girls who would not be afforded their right to a full and complete education, nor the autonomy to choose a life for themselves, is part of its efforts to achieve SDG #5 (Gender Equality). By empowering the poor women in the Mabibo region of Dar es Salaam, and by providing the benefits of security, care, and a complete education for vulnerable girls, the charity is focused on reducing inequalities.  

 

Another hopeful development, and one that the charity anticipates will add more to the list of SDG sustainability goals above, is the cultivation of a plot of land, situated in the Kigamboni region of Dar es Salaam. With the express wishes of the owners, the plot is now being considered for agricultural development.  With the ever growing pressure on efficient land utilisation, and the need to keep costs as low as possible so that every dollar donated is responsibly and sustainably spent, the opportunity to harness the land for responsible consumption and production of food arose when Dar es Salaam based agribusiness Balton generously donated an irrigation system to the charity. 

Local men talk to House of Blue Hope Country Director, and CJ Eklund about the crops being grown in Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam Tnazania

The opportunity to develop the land came about when The Empathy Between Species Project facilitated the donation of an irrigation kit.

The charity is always looking to maximise the impact of the money and goods that it receives through generous donations. The donation of an irrigation kit by Balton, facilitated by The Empathy Between Species Project, has provided the charity with the opportunity to become more self-sufficient and sustainable. Through the cultivation of crops on the plot of land situated to the south of Tanzania’s biggest city of Dar es Salaam, the charity can become more reliant on its own produce to feed the growing kids in its care, rather than a monthly expenditure on food. The self-sufficient cultivation of nutritious crops would mean the charity is taking steps to fulfil SDG #11 (Sustainable Cities) and SDG #12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). In a rapidly expanding city, the resource demand is only going to increase significantly. The charity is keen to do its bit to reduce this burden. Any produce that is surplus to the charity’s requirements could then be sold on the local market, thus reducing the need for longer routes to market, as well as providing a modest revenue stream for the charity.

 

It would also reaffirm SDG #3 (Good Health and Well Being) by giving the kids that are housed in the crowded, built up region of Mabibo, the opportunity to learn about the origins of their food, as well as good land and crop management. It would also facilitate more awareness of a growing commercial sector in Tanzania: undoubtedly a beneficial experience. Such a connection to the food chain and the process of crop production would be a valuable, practical lesson for the kids beyond what they are taught in the classroom.

 

The question remains: Which crops are the best choice for the small plot of land in Kigamboni, in south Dar es Salaam? There are crops of maize grown nearby, but the charity is keen to provide the most nutrient rich crops for the kids in its care, and make the most of the land resource available.  As stated in this BBC feature, the need for super-crops that are more fruitful, drought resistant, disease tolerant, and nutritious are incredibly important for a country such as Tanzania, that has a youth bulge to sustain. Would the sandy soil be capable of sustaining crops such as Cowpea, Pigeon pea, Finger millet, Pearl millet, and Red Sorghum?

A small plot of grass covered land in the Kigamboni region of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania could be used to grow crops for the HBH charity

Thanks to the generosity of Agribusiness firm Balton Tanzania donating an irrigation kit, and landowners in the Kigamboni region south of Dar es Salaam, the charity is looking to grow its own crops. Will crops such as pigeon pea and finger millet flourish?

As this would be the House of Blue Hope charity’s first sustainability project, the charity is keen to learn from any experienced agribusiness operators based in Dar es Salaam who have workable knowledge of the area’s crop potential. If any readers have insight into these matters, and are interested in providing any aid in this area to help increase the self-sufficiency and sustainability of the charity, please do not hesitate to get in touch at info@houseofbluehope.org   

 

 

the charity's alumni receive certificates for completing the seminar for employment, entrepreneurship and human rights in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Empowering HBH Alumni for Business and Employment

Through hard work, determination, and a lot of help from our generous supporters, HBH has reached an important milestone: its 10th Birthday. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to get the charity this far. Thank you! 

Now ten years on, the once vulnerable young boys who were the first to gain the support they needed from the charity are now young men who have gone on to pursue further education, vocational training, and employment in their chosen industries. Though they have achieved a great deal despite turbulent childhoods there are still many hurdles for them to face, and as part of its remit the charity is keen to help these talented young men reach their full potential.

The education these young alumni received through the charity’s support has been of the highest standard, however the soft skills and the tools needed to navigate the jobs market, alongside entrepreneurial skills are vital for a young country like Tanzania, with a youthful, often poorly trained workforce. These skills, and knowledge of employment laws and best practices, are often overlooked by academic institutions.

It was with this in mind that four of HBH’s first graduates attended a two-day seminar, conducted by LECRI Consult Ltd: a business and children’s rights consultancy firm based in Dar es Salaam.  The two-day seminar covered being a responsible young citizen, guidance on job application best practices and preparation for job interviews, as well as an introduction into turning a business idea into reality.

The charity's alumni receive their certificates for completing the two day seminar performed by Lecri Consult Ltd in Dar Es Salaam.

The charity’s alumni found the 2-day seminar empowering, and will be putting their new skills to good use in business and employment.

“I was very happy to attend the seminar. I learned how to prepare and write a good CV, and how to express myself well and confidently in interviews. We also learned about human rights and employment frameworks. We met many different people and shared ideas concerning employment and entrepreneurship too. It was very interesting!”

                                               HBH alumnus James Mdota 

As part of its ethos, the charity strives to help vulnerable kids who have little hope in escaping the inter-generational poverty trap, and reach their full potential becoming successful, self sufficient, and socially responsible citizens. To be able to provide the guidance for the young men who were the first vulnerable young boys to receive the charity’s aid, in order for them to achieve these goals is an important milestone and one that the charity hopes to replicate for its current wards. The charity looks forward to being able to empower the next generation of boys and girls in its care so that they are well equipped to lead happy, productive, and responsible lives.

small shacks with clothes drying on a line, next to open sewage in Mabibo region of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

With Poverty Comes Exploitation

With the charity’s extended remit to support vulnerable young girls, alongside the boys in their care, the welfare of these children is paramount. As we have highlighted before, there is a persistent perception in Tanzania that women and children hold few rights, and thus can be commoditized. They are often forced into marriages as they reach puberty, are exploited for child labor, and suffer violence in all its forms.

With poverty comes exploitation. When approximately 28.2% of the population live below the poverty line (less than $18 a month), and 50.1% of the population under 17 years of age (in 2012), Tanzania is facing a crisis whereby poverty stricken women and children, particularly vulnerable young girls, face a life with the threat of violence, and servitude never far away.

USAID’s report into gender based violence highlights the consequences of Tanzania’s precarious situation:    

“Girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centers and the island of Zanzibar for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution. While statistics on trafficking are difficult to obtain because of the underground nature of the phenomenon, existing evidence indicates that it is a significant problem in Tanzania. For example, in 2007, the Ministry of Labor withdrew nearly 1,100 victims from forced child labor situations (U.S. State Department, 2008).”

The report goes on to point out that despite Tanzania’s Sexual Offenses Special Provisions Act (SOSPA) criminalizing various forms of GBV, including rape, sexual assault and harassment, female genital cutting, and sex trafficking, this act is not fit for purpose. For a rape conviction, penetration must be proven- nearly impossible without forensic evidence, and marital rape is excluded entirely, unless the parties are separated. Then, if a rape conviction is handed down, the accused can face 30 years imprisonment: A punishment “that survivors may consider too extreme in rape cases wherein typically, the perpetrator is the survivor’s relative”.

Subsequently the Tanzanian government has reassessed the situation, recognizing that “violence in childhood has an impact on a person’s health and well-being well into adulthood, that violence is cyclical and that addressing violence in childhood will also reduce violence against women, that violence is interpersonal as well as inter-generational, and impacts individual, family, and community health and well-being.”  In response they have put into action the NPA_VAWC to tackle the many contributing factors that exacerbate and perpetuate these behaviors. The challenge is immense.

To prevent these horrendous abuses, and remove the environment in which they thrive, it will take more than legislation and long jail terms for the very few who are convicted. The vicious poverty cycle must be broken. The Tanzanian youth who find themselves trapped in poverty must be given the means to escape the fate of their parents, through a full education, emotional and social support, and the opportunity to succeed.

young boys in school uniforms make leave the House of Blue Hope at dawn to walk to school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

With ten years of experience in providing a safe place to live, quality education, care and support to vulnerable young boys, the House of Blue Hope charity is now looking to extend its reach, giving young girls the same care, support, and opportunities they deserve. 

Help us to give vulnerable children in Tanzania a life free from poverty, violence, and exploitation by giving what you can. Every dollar raised will go directly to protecting and supporting the vulnerable kids that the House of Blue Hope charity rescues from perilous situations. 

young girls sit in a dirty two room house in Mabibo Tanzania

Tanzania is focused on Ending Violence Against Women & Children

It is a depressing reality that violence is a daily occurrence for large numbers of women and children in Tanzania. Thankfully efforts are being made to improve the situation nationwide. With the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children in Tanzania 2017/18-2021/22 (NPA-VAWC),  the Tanzanian government’s new prevention of violence agenda  “envisions a Tanzania where women and children enjoy their right to an environment free from all forms of violence.”

Some eye-opening facts from the analysis carried out as part of the NPA-VAWC:

  • Almost four in ten women have experienced physical violence, and one in five women report experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime (from the age of 15).Tanzania Demographic and  Health Survey(2010)
  • Tanzania also has traditional practices that harm children and women. Tanzanian women marry young – almost five years earlier than men.
  • Female Genital Mutilation is a problem: In some communities, as many as 70.8% of women/girls are circumcised.Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (2010)
  • At least 7.9 million women and girls in Tanzania are estimated to have undergone FGM. UNICEF Report (2013)

Despite mounting pressure for change, the Law of Marriage Act (1971) still allows girls as young as 14 to be married. Efforts to change that age to 18, as well as review the Education Act No. 25 (1978) to prohibit child marriage while at school, are yet to materialize (NPA-VAWC).

Though these realities paint a bleak picture, it is heartening to know the Tanzanian government is focused on eliminating the many contributing factors that allow the current situation to persist (see excerpt below):

The following NPA-VAWC operational targets will be achieved by 2021/22. These include:

Poverty Related VAC Operational Targets (i) Reduce 35,916 children living in street by half (ii) Reduce child labour from 29% to 9% (iii) Increase education support for girls from poor families from 23.4% to 53.4%.

Safe Schools and Life Skills Related VAC Operational Targets (i) Reduce dropout due to pregnancy cases by half from 251 and 3,439 in primary schools and secondary schools respectively (ii) Increase district Junior Councils from 108 to 185 (iii) Increase children’s clubs in schools from 398 to 13,200 (iv) Maintain gender parity in schools’ completion at 1:1 (v) Increase schools teaching life skills from 0% to 70% (vi) Increase sanitary towels support to girls from poor families from 1% to 20%

These targets are ambitious, comprehensive, and admirable, and the House of Blue Hope is eager to do its part in bringing about the change needed to achieve them. As a safety net for 10 young vulnerable girls, the charity hopes to be a source of security, both educational and emotional support, and constant care for girls that would otherwise fall victim to violence and abuse.

By providing a safe environment and a full education for vulnerable girls, the House of Blue Hope charity hopes to change the course of their lives, so that they can be inspired to pursue their dreams, become fully independent and aware of their rights. Empowering these girls so that they need not suffer from violence nor the current societal gender inequality, can help change the course of this youthful nation’s future.

kids gather on steps of the house of blue hope in Mabibo in Tanzania, resting in the shade on a sunny day

If you want to get involved, and find out how you help us make a difference to 10 vulnerable girls’ lives, get in touch: info@houseofbluehope.org

Want to donate? Go to https://www.razoo.com/story/10year  to give anything you can. Just $5 dollars goes far in Tanzania, to help vulnerable boys and girls escape the vicious poverty cycle.

two young girls sit at a desk in the House of Blue Hope charity's girls' house in Mabibo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

HBH Charity Looks to Prevent Child Marriage

The human rights violation of child marriage is a persistent and growing problem, not just in Tanzania but throughout sub-Saharan Africa: Stated by UNICEF, as of February 2017 “across the globe, rates of child marriage are highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 4 in 10 girls marry before age 18; about one in eight were married or in union before age 15” while “globally, about one in seven adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) are currently married or in union. West and Central Africa has the highest proportion of married adolescents (27 per cent), followed by Eastern and Southern Africa (21 per cent) and the Middle East and North Africa (14 per cent).”

In their report on child marriage UNICEF highlights the extent to which the trend must be reversed, beyond its current pace of decline in sub-Saharan Africa: “even a doubling of the rate of reduction would not be enough to reduce the number of child brides.” If the current rate of decline persists the number of child brides in Africa alone will go from 125million today, to 215million by 2050.

Unsurprisingly it is the poorest in society that are most vulnerable to the practice: “Girls in rural areas are twice as likely to become child brides as girls from urban areas. Similarly, girls from the poorest households are twice as likely to marry before age 18 as girls from the richest households”.

 

old man and his child bridge in Tanzania

file photo (hrw.org)

Work carried out by USAID reveals much about the social norms in Tanzania that surround marriage, and the huge disadvantages girls and young women suffer as a consequence. Focus groups confirmed that girls marry at younger ages than boys- a significant proportion of these marriages are under duress and to much older men. The focus groups also revealed girls are considered mature enough for marriage once they begin menstruating, while boys are not considered marriageable, until they can financially provide for a family. Indeed,boys are not legally allowed to wed until they are 18. The focus group participants, both male and female, stated that girls have less power to decide when and who they marry than do boys.

This illustrates the huge gender inequality, and the injustice of a lack of rights for young girls and women in Tanzania. The Tanzanian government recognizes that current societal norms perpetuate the perception men are socially and economically dominant, and that women and children do not have rights of their own. Such perceptions allow for young girls to be perceived as property to be sold off for a dowry or bride price, to then be forced into marriages, motherhood and domestic servitude, with no hope of completing their education, nor achieve the autonomy to make choices about their bodies and lives that they deserve. The Tanzanian government is taking ambitious steps to tackle the many factors that feed into this violation of human rights, as part of their efforts to combat violence against women and children, but the task is huge.

The House of Blue Hope charity is looking to do its part in accelerating the speed of decline in child marriages in Tanzania by committing to providing vulnerable girls with a safe environment to live, a comprehensive education, and be empowered by knowing their human rights. By providing the safety net of care and education, the charity looks to directly impact the lives of these vulnerable girls, as well as the community in which they are growing up.  By gaining a full education, and having the choice of  if, when, and to whom they marry, these vulnerable girls can make a lasting impact on a community where such empowerment is more than a rarity.

young Tanzanian woman studies about her human rights in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

In order for the charity to help prevent child marriage, we need your support.  Can you help us by making a donation? If so, visit our 10th year Anniversary Razoo page  

Thank you for giving what you can to keep these girls safe from child marriage, adolescent motherhood, and free to complete their education.

two young girls eat bread and drink milk at house of blue hope charity's house

Charity Expands its Reach, Investing in the Future of Tanzania’s Girls

In its 10th year, the House of Blue Hope charity, which has been giving vulnerable young boys a caring environment and a comprehensive education with much success, is now looking forward to expanding its reach, taking in vulnerable young girls who find themselves in situations where they cannot receive the education and care they deserve. The charity’s ambitions to break the vicious poverty cycle by enabling vulnerable young girls, as well as boys, is pertinent.

three school girls walk through the streets of Mabibo on their way to school

A new urgency within the international community to eliminate the hurdles faced by young girls in receiving, completing, and utilizing a full education has been emphasized by not just the moral imperative to prevent their exploitation, but also the far reaching social and economic benefits that are passed on down the generations. The information below is taken from UNFPA State of World Population 2016 Report:

  • Girls are less likely than boys to complete schooling and more likely to face forced marriage, child labor, female genital mutilation and other undermining practices.
  • Girls are less likely than boys to complete formal schooling at the secondary and university levels.
  • Girls are more likely to be in poorer physical and mental health, and will find it harder to get paid jobs.
  • Every day, an estimated 47,700 girls are married before 18.
  • Ten per cent of 5-to-14 year-old girls do more than 28 hours of household chores per week, twice that of boys. Three in four girl labourers are unpaid.
  • Each year of education delivers an additional 11.7% uplift in wages in later life for girls (compared with 9.6% for men). Yet, 16 million girls between 6 and 11 will never start school, twice the number of boys.
  • If all the 10-year-old girls who drop out of school or do not attend school in developing countries completed secondary education, they would trigger a $21 billion annual dividend.

In the same report the UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin states:

“Impeding a girl’s safe, healthy path through adolescence to a productive and autonomous adulthood is a violation of her rights”, “But it also takes a toll on her community and nation. Whenever a girl’s potential goes unrealized, we all lose.”

The House of Blue Hope charity’s work in helping vulnerable girls escape more than just the poverty trap, but frequently gender based violence (GBV), and child marriage, is vital for empowering young girls who would otherwise have little hope of finishing their education. The charity aims to protect the rights of these girls to pursue their ambitions, instead of being married off to older men once they reach puberty, or disproportionately carry the burden of unskilled, unpaid domestic work, or bearing children when they themselves are barely out of adolescence.

two young girls stand in front of the House of Blue Hope charity's house

In order for the charity to fulfill its 10th anniversary ambitions of helping vulnerable girls strive for success and break the inter-generational poverty trap, we need your help. Any donation you can afford will enable us to, not only help the vulnerable girls we take in, but their children, and their children’s children. Even a small investment in the girls of today, can reap rewards for decades to come. Help us support 10 boys and 10 girls so they can live their lives free from violence and poverty, and full of ambition and hope.  

 

young boys sit at their desks, studying after school at the house of blue hope

Current Educational Attainment in Tanzania

World leaders have become increasingly focused on achieving sustainable development through tackling poverty and the contributing factors that cause it to persist around the world. In a historic UN summit in September 2015 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were adopted by world leaders. Three of the seventeen were No Poverty (#1), Quality Education (#4), and Gender Equality (#5). The UN highlights some alarming statistics:

  • 57 million children remain out of school in developing countries
  • More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa
  • 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women

The need to tackle the lack of educational attainment in Tanzania is stark. According to the World Bank, the number of primary school age children that are out of school is on the rise, reaching 2,155,490 in 2014. The percentage of primary school age boys out of school in the same year was 22.55% (compared to 6.347% in USA), while the percentage of girls was 21.34% (compared to 5.568% in USA).

 

young boy works on his homework at the House of Blue Hope

The House of Blue Hope Charity is poised to increase the number of children it helps attain a full education, and pursue their dreams.

That these figures are so high and steadily climbing is a reflection of the significant hurdles that are faced in a country with 50.1% of the population under 17 years old (2012 National Census), and with approximately 28.2% of the population living below the poverty line, and 11.3% of people living in extreme poverty and deprivation (Population and Housing Census, 2012).

The national basic needs poverty line per adult was just Tanzanian Shillings 36,482 per month while national food poverty line was Tanzanian Shillings 26,085 per adult per month in 2012 (2011/12 Household Budget Survey). That’s less than 18$ a month! Find these statistics and more via the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.

two men walk through the rubbish strewn streets, with sewage water in the foreground and small shacks in the background, in Mabibo, Tanzania

The deprivation is never far away in Mabibo, with insufficient infrastructure and pollution ever present.

With supporters’ help, the House of Blue Hope charity is doing its part to reverse this lack of educational attainment, providing quality education to vulnerable young boys for the last ten years. Now the charity is expanding its ambitions to help tackle poverty, gender inequality, and educational attainment by providing vulnerable girls with the care, security, and quality education they deserve.

Can you help? If so, go to  https://www.razoo.com/story/10year and give whatever you can. Remember a dollar goes a very long way to securing the future of the most vulnerable kids in Tanzania!