Improving the lives of children affected by HIV & AIDS

What is the most memorable project you’ve been involved with?

Of all the projects implemented by Envirocare, the one that most touched our spirits and hearts was the children’s project in Kilimanjaro. The project was set up to deal with the agony of sexually abused girls whose suffering was going on unreported. They were vulnerable and voiceless, and to top it all they could not see where to turn to because of the strong traditional and cultural practices around them. Envirocare was able to mobilise the community to reject violence and abusive behaviour and in turn empower children and women to stand up for their rights. A test case was written and produced in the form of a storybook for children which has been used for awareness-raising in schools. This has played a great role in bringing to light cases of abuse which were previously not reported. The girl at the centre of the test case was supported and followed up by Envirocare; she completed college and is now a primary school teacher.

While implementing that project, we came across another devastating issue. Children were going without food from 6:30 am to 4:00 pm when they returned home from school a distance away. Following up on their educational performance, we found it was very low and discouraging compared to their counterparts in other districts. Realising that the children were starving, Envirocare introduced school gardens in twelve primary schools in Rombo district and ten in Siha district where children were given a healthy meal and were able to perform better. The project targeted 300 children but ended up serving more than 500. Not only did we address the immediate need for healthy food; the harvest was enough to create an excess that was sold for income.