In Northern Tanzania
Geography & Climate
- The northern region of Tanzania is dominated by the city of Arusha, which is primarily occupied by the Maasai people.
- This is a popular tourist destination. Mount Kilimanjaro and national parks such as the Ngorongoro Crater attract many visitors each year.
The primary livelihood in this region is agriculture (either independent subsistence farming or day labor on larger farms).
Arusha is an important coffee-producing area.
Also in this region, mining, cattle raising and tourism are common livelihood sources.
The city of Arusha, the regional capital, has a population of more than 1.5 million people. The poor of this city live in crowded slums and earn a meager wage through day labor jobs or petty vending to tourists.
The unemployment rate in Arusha is extremely high, and poor families find it difficult to meet even their most basic needs.
Children at Home
Most Compassion-assisted children in this region live illegally in abandoned buildings with no electricity or running water.
Their homes are just a few feet away from raw sewage, and the crowded living conditions aid the spread of disease.
The squatter houses are weakly built and many of them collapse during heavy rain or storms.
Issues and Concerns
- The HIV and AIDS pandemic is still claiming the lives of parents and guardians in this region, leaving more and more children orphaned and with no financial support.
- This situation has also led to an increase in street children, and an estimated 7,000 children live on the streets of Arusha.
- Arusha is also dealing with increasing crime rates. The city is growing at a rate faster than the police can keep up with.
- Drug abuse and alcoholism from larger neighboring cities have spilled over into Arusha.
Local Needs and Challenges
Food prices have doubled in recent years.
Lack of clean water
With the city’s rapidly expanding population, access to potable water is an increasing challenge.
Lacking adequate sanitation, electricity or running water, slum housing is squalid.
This is a rampant, growing problem in the city.
Schools are overcrowded and undersupplied.
HIV and AIDS
This deadly infection continues to take a toll on poor families, leaving many children orphaned and homeless.
Schools and Education
- Arusha has a number of government and private primary schools. The government requires all children to attend primary school.
- However, the region’s secondary schools lack enough room for all of its children, and the area severely lacks qualified teachers.
- In some of the poorest areas of northern Tanzania, up to 60 percent of children will never attend school.
- Only 30 percent of those who begin school will graduate, and this lack of education severely limits job opportunities – as evidenced by a 90 percent unemployment rate in the slums of Arusha.
Compassion Tanzania works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and we provide additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Northern Tanzania child development centers are a place of safety and security for registered children.
While their parents spend their days harvesting and selling in the market, Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center.
They also feel the love of a sponsor who cares for their daily physical needs.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to northern Tanzania’s children in need, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- learning activities based on Compassion’s curriculum of holistic child development
- training for older children in such income-generating skills as tailoring, embroidery, gardening and animal or crop husbandry
- extra tutoring and encouragement to ensure that children stay in school and excel in their studies
- the opportunity for children to learn the Word of God and pray together. Some did not know how to pray before, but they have learned how at the center and now they regularly pray at home, especially before meals and at bedtime.