Three years ago, just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, we offered grant funding to a fantastic charity called Pamoja Leo. The charity operates from its Early Childhood & Development Centre in Tanga, north east Tanzania. The Hazel’s Footprints funding was for three years of salary for a social worker who would work with orphaned, abandoned and abused children to support them in accessing education, as well as supporting the women that mother them.
One of the founders of Pamoja Leo, Edward Hill, wrote to us recently with a full impact report. He said “I hope you will agree, that the impact [the social worker] has had on the community and vulnerable children in Tanga, Tanzania has been overwhelming. We are extremely proud of the work he and the rest of the Pamoja Leo team have achieved during this past three years of growth, establishing ourselves as the leaders of child protection in one of the largest regions of Tanzania.”
Please read on for an excerpt from the full Pamoja Leo report.
The role of the social worker in education
Over the last 3 years Hazel’s Footprints Trust has funded Pamoja Leo on implementing its programs by funding the dedicated social worker Mr. Issa Mmanga. Issa is the social worker who works on building brighter futures for families through ensuring access to education and livelihoods to orphaned, abandoned and abused children and the women that mother them.
Issa’s work took on many faces and activities during that time but at its core he was responsible for:
- following up on children’s education,
- getting them into school
- and troubleshooting what may be going on when they aren’t attending or when they are underperforming academically and socially.
Issa was also in charge of our adult education programmes, working with both teenage mothers to return to education and helping women caring for orphaned and abandoned children to get the education they need to start a business so they can afford to send their children to school and meet their children’s needs.
Outreach multiplies the impact
Issa also ran our schools outreach program reaching 600 school girls directly and a further 2,500 indirectly, as well as 65 government officials including 14 teachers and further 4 police officers at the government Women & Gender Desks by going into schools and educating children about how to report and identify abuse, their rights and creating safer schools for girls, as well as supporting them to start school programs to help other girls.
We also supported 10 schools to start child-led project to help make their schools safer and easier to access for all. This included renovating a “girls room” where
they could access period products, creating a little school shop and the money to be reinvested into other school needs. The project activities were funded in partnership with the British Foreign Schools Society (BFSS).
Social work & education in the time of Covid
A report wouldn’t be complete without mention of COVID-19 and its impact. Issa was instrumental in our overall response to the pandemic. He oversaw converting our school bus into a mobile food van providing thousands of kilos of food to our families when they were on lockdown and delivering educational resources by way of MP3 players and worksheets. He provided phone and in-person support for caregivers who were worried or lost jobs during that time and mobilized women to make masks, make and distribute soap and it was his idea to provide hand-washing stations to the government social welfare offices so that we could continue to work safely.
While the impacts were differently felt in Tanzania with only 6 months of school closures, Issa was a vital part in being adaptable, ensuring safety and continuity of provision for the children and their families when they were already experiencing such hardships in life.
What does education look like for vulnerable children?
For children aged 0-5, the following services were available:
- Montessori education
- 2 meals per day
- Medical support
- Psychosocial support for the children and their caregivers
- Milestones tracking for every child and taking necessary action for a
- child who lags behind his/her required milestones.
- Food parcel and crisis support
Children aged above 6 years are supported to attend Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Vocational education in their areas. Whereby they get the
- Payment of school fees
- Support on school needs provision
- Medical Support
- Psychosocial support
- Home visit to track their academic performance
- Food parcel and crisis support
- Support their transport cost and meals
- Provision of different pieces of training
- Ensuring their mothers; relatives, foster, adoptive or biological have support they need to raise their children in their care.