Family Houses: Sanganigwa Children’s Home, Kigoma, Tanzania

Project location: TANZANIA, Kigoma
Project start date: December 2007 - Project end date: December 2009
Project number: 2006-32
Beneficiary: The Jane Goodall Institute


According to the U.N.D.P. (United Nations Development Program) report of 2002 the index of human development of Tanzania, that is a Country with a low human development, is 151/173, the annual per capita income is $523; 59.7%of its population lives under the poverty threshold (less than $2 a day); life expectancy is 51.1 years old, the fertility rate is of 5.4 children for each woman of fertile age, the infant mortality rate is 94.8% of each children born alive and the percentage of registration at primary school is 48%; the percentage falls dramatically to 6% for high school . Kigoma has a population of 1,674,047 inhabitants (more than 86% live in the country) with an annual demographic increase of 4.3-4.5%; 60% of its population is less than 19 years old.

"Sanganigwa" orphanage is in an extremely undeveloped area of Tanzania. It currently cares for 63 children, mostly AIDS orphans; the JGI Italia provides for all expenses of the orphanage.

The contribution from the Nando Peretti Foundation has been essential to guarantee the orphans healthy living conditions, and funding this project is a further fundamental effort to allow the children to grow in safe, balanced surroundings.

The "emergency approach" adopted to face the dramatic initial situation still affects everyday life, preventing real, normal family environment developing. Instead of dormitories and common rooms, Family Houses should be built so that the children can become productive and useful members of their community. The orphanage consists of a kitchen (with a charcoal cooker) joined to the refectory, a classroom, three dormitories with a bathroom, an office, three storerooms, lodgings for four nuns, lodgings for two social assistants, a cow-shade and a hen-house. Thanks to the financial support of the Puglia Region in Italy, a building is currently being restored to be used as an infirmary, a library and a multipurpose room. From Monday to Friday the children attend school, some of them in the town of Kigoma, others in one of the neighbouring towns. After lunch they study with some teachers employed by us to complete their school curriculum; afterwards the children take care of their surroundings: they look after the domestic animals, they learn to cultivate vegetables or to do housework. After primary school (that lasts seven years) we direct children towards secondary or technical school (vocational training), depending on their ability.
The most widespread diseases among children of this area are dermatitis, intestinal infections, respiratory infections, malaria and typhus. Malaria, in spite of mosquito-nets, strikes children as much as three or four times a year. It's not always necessary to take children to the hospital every time, as the testing can be carried out at the nearest clinic (on payment) and the disease can be treated at the Sanganigwa centre. After treatment, the children need a long period of convalescence to recover fully.

Over the last two years typhus has became more frequent and strikes school age children. We think that they are infected at school, where they drink non boiled running water. One of our little girls suffers from AIDS and we buy medicines for her at Tanga Town (about 1800 km from us). Medicines are mailed to us monthly. Most of the children have seen their parents die from AIDS, in other cases they were neglected or nobody knows if their parents are still alive. Sometimes they have been living with a relative who was unable to bring them up: many were often left alone all day long without food, or they have been living with prostitutes or criminals who abused them. One of our children saw his mother killed for ethnic reasons. Children who suffered for these reasons need psycho-pedagogical support, and the two Sanganigwa social workers cannot cope with all situations and guarantee a normal family life. Moreover, children who reach adolescence need individual and specific care.

In past years, to help children overcome their traumas we involved an Italian educator, Francesca Chiellini, who lived with the children for three months each year, with the overall aim of developing self-reliance. In particular, she focused on children in need of special care and psychological support. Despite Chiellini's greatly appreciated work with the children, we believe that periodic support is not enough to guarantee their safe and balanced growth. Indeed, the "emergency approach" adopted to face the dramatic initial situation still affects everyday life at the orphanage, preventing the Home from developing a much needed sense of real, normal family life. Instead of dormitories and common rooms, family houses should be built, this is considered the only way for children to become productive and useful members of their community. Eight family houses will be built, each hosting 8 to 10 children. Every house will be ruled by a "mother", assisted by an "aunt". The mother and the aunt will live with the children and be responsible for them. In each house, children will be of different ages and sex, as in a typical family. Mothers and aunts will be selected on the basis of their CVs and following interviews. Part of the required funds to build the family houses has already been donated to the Jane Goodall Institute Italia by Mr and Mrs Lorenzo and Francesca Spagnolo. The donation, offered in occasion of their marriage, will be enough to build almost two houses. Moreover, Mr and Mrs Spagnolo are both architects and have already confirmed their professional support for the success of the project.
To guarantee the project's sustainability, local small building companies will be involved in the construction of the houses, based on the enclosed drawings. All materials will be purchased from the local market, or if they are not available, from another Tanzanian town. This will not only avoid high costs, but will keep the orphanage well integrated into the town's economy.

Expected results

Building of 8 family houses.
General improvement of health conditions due to better quality of life, better hygienic standards, psychological support, trained staff.
Reduction of diseases, as a result of the individual supervision guaranteed by the "mother".
Improved self-reliance and psychological balance due to a continuing family bond and individual care.
Better school performance due to a daily interaction with a concerned adult in the home.
Increased probability of finding a job as a consequence of balanced, more conventional childhood.

An overall improvement of the daily functioning of the orphanage, including logistic and social relationships.

think global, act local
you are here: Home  > Projects:  Charity or Africa  (or Both)  > 2006-32  > Project Description