In some areas of Tanzania, girls as young as 10 are forced into early marriage with older men, and sold for bride prices in the exchange for cows. The two girls that Street Children Iringa have supported for the past 7 years – Eva & Lidia – were being forced into this life, which is why they ran away at the age of 10 in order to gain an education and a life for themselves. Street Children Iringa has supported these girls through education and with a safe place to live in the house. Now both 19, Eva is studying a Business Administration course at University whilst speaking on girls empowerment for International NGOs working in Iringa. Lidia is teaching at a private day care school and will be studying next year to become a teacher or a social worker. Their lives could have been so very different if they were not given a place at the house and supported in education by Street Children Iringa.
Eva & Lidia have been saved, but there are so many more girls at risk in their local village. Street Children Iringa want to support many more girls like Eva & Lidia and are looking at ways to protect these girls at risk of FGM and child marriage, and by doing so, give them the chance to gain an education and a life where they are not beaten and abused wives subordinate to their husbands.
In July we received information of a girl who was being followed by older men trying to kidnap her every day, on her walk to and from school. These men wanted to kidnap her and sell her to an older man for marriage, in exchange for cows.
This girl is called Maggie, she is 14 years old and was living in fear every day at the idea of being kidnapped and sold into a life of marrying an older man, having lots of children and being a housewife.
Letty, Eva & Lidia (who previously ran from this life when they were 10) went to the village where Maggie was living to save her. Street Children Iringa were able to take Maggie to a safe boarding school hours away from her village and support her in her education there. She is now safe and very happy, studying in her first year of secondary school.
In October 2019, Letty received a call from the social welfare office asking for help with a case of a little girl who was very ill in hospital with her mum. They were in hospital due to their awful living conditions. The mum had been living with an illness for a long time and as she did not have money for food she could not take her tablets which led her to become increasingly sick. The next day Letty received a call saying the mum had passed away and the little girl aged 9, was left with nobody.
This little girl is Doreen*. She has now been given a scholarship at a local boarding school, and thanks to £120 donation money, Street Children Iringa were able to provide her with everything she needs at her new school, making her feel special and equal to all the other students. We will continue to support her and she will come to visit us in school holidays.