09 Mar SoS Children’s Villages Tanzania
In December, I was privileged enough to be able to visit this amazing project, SoS Children’s Village in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
I’m having trouble knowing how to describe this place – if I say ‘orphanage’, I’m worried you’ll think of a drab, desolate and lonely place but the photos that follow should dispel any notion of that. It’s true these children have been abandoned or orphaned at some point in the past, but they are most certainly not lacking in family love or a sense of community now.
SoS gathers children of mixed ages into families of ten, with a mother who lives in the home and looks after them. Each child is known, valued and cared for, has brothers and sisters and a home that they feel secure in. There are 13 family homes at the Children’s Village in Dar es Salaam, and this ‘neighbourhood’ clearly brings with it a sense of community, with children able to safely play in the surrounding grassy areas with friends from the other houses.
This kind of model is known as family based care and SoS Children’s Villages (as an international organisation) were the first to pioneer it and are now global leaders, with villages like this one set up across the world.
Their values of
were very much evident in the children I met, who were so vivacious and happy. In the first house I entered I was greeted by Innocent, who insisted on carrying my bags throughout the day. His brilliant English was even more useful, helping me communicate with the other families (my Swahili is pretty limited!). Thank you, Innocent!
And lastly, one of the radiant mothers and the Village Director, Dr. Alex Lengeju. Thank you so much for allowing me to come and see your home! I am immensely impressed.
If you are interested in finding out more and supporting this organisation, please follow the links to:
http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org (International Organisation)