Professional training for 16 orphan girls from Kigoma (Tanzania) – p.141
In recent years, factors such as poverty, social exclusion and the effects of AIDS pandemic have led to an increase of degradation and vulnerability which affect progressively larger numbers of children and adolescents in Tanzania. It is not hard to understand the plight of children living in such context, particularly harsh for girls and young women who are denied the most basic rights to protection and education.
Although the percentage of female population exceeds the males’, statistics say that, compared to their male peers, less girls pursue an education and higher numbers of young women drop out of school, partly because of early pregnancies. The project involves sixteen girls by guaranteeing them a support in their studies and professional training; all of them are orphaned and do not have a family on their back, yet they were still able to successfully complete, or are currently completing, primary or secondary school. They all live at the “Sanganigwa Children’s Home”: an orphanage in Kigoma owned by the Tanzanian government.
Here the girls receive basic aids (nutrition, medical care, primary education), basic psycho-pedagogical support and they are given English classes in order to facilitate their future studies. In fact, primary studies in Tanzania are all given in Swahili, whereas secondary schools and professional schools are to be given in English. Kigoma, a poor region on the border between Burundi and the Congo, is one of the most remote areas in the country, counting few schools and a poor offer in terms of training opportunities. For this reason, girls are often forced to attend classes in other regions of the country.
In case a girl’s choice of a training course was to be based on Kingoma’s local offer, she would certainly face a low-level qualification, with the consequent risk of being exposed to a very high level of competition, in a context of low offer. Therefore, the subjects of these girls’ studies were dictated by the prospective of possible future employment. Before selecting the classes for them to attend, we carried out a scrupulous analysis of the employment offers in the area. These young orphans are well aware that advanced education can offer them real opportunities of employment and, as past experiences have shown, they are motivated to commit with great determination.