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A new place to call home

01 October 09

BCDSA operates a home for 25 children in Mkula, Tanzania.  Some of the children live at the center for a short time, until they are able to return to their families.  Others have nowhere else to turn - and now call Mkula Children’s Center their home. 


BCDSA has been a SAIDIA Partner for two years, and in that time have received 10 volunteers, all of whom have worked with BCDSA to improve their working process and build their capacity. 


 

When the Mkula Children’s Centre was initially opened, the plan was for the children’s needs to be met by means of contributions from the Boards of Directors and Trustees, Unfortunately due to unavoidable circumstances the contributors have been unable to uphold their commitment, leaving BCDSA with the responsibility of feeding, educating, clothing, and caring for the 25 children unassisted. So far they have managed simply by appealing to the kinder side of the Mwanza community for donations that have gone towards these needs, but this cannot function as a sustainable source of funding – not to mention that the staff must dedicate majority of their time to the pursuit of these much needed funds.


This year the family that owns the land and building where the Children’s Centre is located, have requested that the children be vacated from the premises by the end of 2009. Unfortunately all of the aforementioned needs require a substantial amount of money, which in turn makes it difficult for BCDSA (who have no financial structure in place to cater to these children) to dedicate a suitable amount of effort to fundraising for a new Centre.


Together, BCDSA and SAIDIA Tanzania sought solutions to the two key problems that the Centre is facing.

 

1.    A lack of consistent funds with which to provide the children with all of their basic needs

 

In response to this difficult situation,  SAIDIA, with the help of brilliant ex-volunteer Molly Matheson came up with a new initiative called the Community Table. This is a campaign to collect in-kind donations of food for the Children’s Center from local business right here in Mwanza. The campaign is gaining ground and a few businesses have committed themselves already.

 

In addition to the Community Table Campaign, SAIDIA is in the process of setting up a sponsor-a-child programme specifically for the children at Mkula. Sharing the burden of the children’s wellbeing across various selfless individuals ought to ensure that the Centre shall never be faced with the prospect of the children going hungry, without food or proper care and attention.

 

 

2.    The absence of funds with which to build a new Children’s centre by 2009

 

Upon petitioning the local Government administration, BCDSA was granted an alternative piece of land on which to build a new centre for the children. It is in an area called Mayega, and is close to Lake Victoria, which should make it quite easy for the Centre to grow some – if not all – of its own food. In addition, it is also more easily accessible by road than the Mkula premises.

 

The construction plans for the new building have been drawn up, and the construction budget amounts to a total of Tanzania Shillings 36,094,750. We have also sought the support of various corporate entities within Mwanza and have received informal pledges from a few but as yet no formal agreements have been made.

 

 



J.Renju

SAIDIA Tanzania

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