At a new feeding program on the southeastern slope of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Witness puts on her uniform then helps younger students at the children’s home prepare for school. It’s a brand new day, and no one wants to be late.
Witness is an orphan with a big smile, a love for language, and beautiful English skills. She has a lot of potential.
We saw a lot of potential at the children’s home where Witness lives, when we launched a feeding program there in February. As Convoy of Hope expands it’s ministry in Africa, this was our first program site in Tanzania.
The home sits in a verdant paradise with cloud forests, pristine waterfalls, and well-kept banana and coffee plantations. But as mountain rivers slice this beautiful landscape, AIDS has sliced this society leaving orphans and entrenching poverty. The children’s home where Witness lives was doing something about this by taking in 41 children, but they lacked the resources to adequately feed and educate them. Our initial measurements here, in one of Tanzania’s breadbaskets, found most children were underweight or malnourished, with a mean BMI of 15 and several below 10.
The home wanted food support, but they showed us opportunities for sustainability. There was an empty field, where there is now more than 2.5 acres of crops. There was a shed, which is now home to a milk cow. We worked with their older boys to build a fuel briquette press, turning waste into charcoal. And in October we will launch a poultry project for eggs to Increase the children’s protein consumption. As we help to meet their food needs, the children’s home can divert precious resources to educating the children.
Since we began working there, our Tanzania staff have started lunch programs in schools and included Women’s Empowerment programming.
Elsewhere in Africa this year, we have started feeding programs at primary schools in Ethiopia, where we continue with a broadly successful Women’s Empowerment program. In Kenya, we are starting lunch programs in schools and children’s homes across the country, feeding more than 2,500 promising children like Witness.
Potential is a beautiful thing.