Visit our newest partner in Tanzania, Faraja Young Women Development Organization.
Today we invite you on a tour of the Faraja Young Women Development Organization with Emmanuel Otoo, GFC’s Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East. (As you can see, Emmanuel always gets a smile from the children he visits in the field!)
Down a bumpy road on the outskirts of Arusha, a city in northern Tanzania, the Faraja Center compound is bustling with activity…
Pots clatter in the kitchen, where a cooking class is taking place. In another room, sewing machines hum as young women and girls practice their skills in tailoring and leatherworks. Girls bend over their desks in the classrooms, concentrating on their studies.
And at the early childhood development center, which is located just over a partition on the other side of the compound, children play and dance, sing and count, eat and rest.
Watching the young women and girls go about their activities, it can be hard to believe that many of them have endured terrible trauma.
Some are survivors of human trafficking, and many are teen mothers who have suffered sexual abuse. Others have been moved to a safer environment after being forced into early marriages.
Faraja Center protects and supports these courageous young women, helping them gain the skills and education they need to become empowered, independent adults.
Above right: Sarah, who is enrolled in the cookery course, learns to embroider cards during a handicrafts workshop.
Through vocational training in tailoring, cooking, handicrafts, and more, young mothers and girls learn valuable skills that will help them earn an income and support themselves in the future. They also take classes in computers, English, mathematics, and entrepreneurship, and if they want to pursue additional education, Faraja Center helps them catch up in their studies and prepare for formal schooling.
Young mothers and their babies live at the center, where they take part in all aspects of the program until they are ready to have a place of their own. All are provided with counseling and medical assistance, if needed, to recover from trauma.
Above left: Josua and Ayubu, who are both 3 years old, practice threading buttons.
In addition to caring for young mothers, Faraja Center is deeply committed to nurturing their children and giving them a healthy start in life. While their mothers attend school or training, the children come to Faraja Center’s early childhood development center, which includes a daycare and preschool.
Above right: Preschool teacher Valeria works with Furaha on an art project.
Playful, enriching activities develop the children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills; nutritious meals and immunizations help them grow healthy and strong.
Preschool classes focus on preparing children for primary school, and Faraja Center works to obtain a birth certificate for each child—a necessary step in gaining access to the formal school system.
Perhaps most importantly, children and mothers are encouraged to bond. As Emmanuel points out, “The mothers can take time out from their classes to breastfeed their kids, or to spend some quality time with them. Faraja Center is creating an environment for them to bond and learn about parenting. Many of these girls were forced to become mothers through traumatic experiences, so this is very important.”
Emmanuel also appreciated that the early childhood development center is open to other children from the surrounding community. “When you visit the center, you cannot tell which of these kids come from a history of sexual abuse. They are all together and it’s very inclusive—that is the beauty of this program.”
Faraja Center just joined the GFC family in spring 2017. Over the next several years, GFC will work hard to help this small but mighty organization strengthen its programs, become more sustainable, and deepen its impact on children’s lives!
The Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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