“Tumaini” is the Swahili word for “hope”. Bringing hope to the people in Northwest Tanzania is what the work of Tumaini Fund is all about. It is a Christian charity which, through faith in Jesus Christ and the power of prayer, raises funds to support the widows and orphans in the Dioceses of Kagera and Lweru.
Currently, 25,000 orphans are being cared for and supported by Tumaini Fund. There are an estimated 200,000 orphans in this area and it is our goal to one day reach each and every child. Ten local social workers are in employed in Kagera to carry out this project. In addition, there are approximately 180 local parish workers working in teams of two who visit and monitor the orphans each week functioning as “substitute parents”.
In 2009, Dr. Susan Wilson, founder of Tumaini Fund, visited a few Episcopal Churches in Collier County to raise awareness of the devastation caused by the AIDS virus in this area of Tanzania. The Service Commission of Trinity-by-the-Cove chose to increase our global outreach and to begin supporting the work of Tumaini Fund in Africa.
Tumaini Fund USA, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was formed by a small group of local volunteers to assist the work of Dr. Wilson and her organization in Kagera. Our mission statement is “To help the estimated 200,000 impoverished AIDS orphans in the Kagera region of Northwest Tanzania to survive and become self sufficient by helping to meet their basic needs such as nutritional support, clothing, housing, mosquito nets, access to clean water and educational opportunities.”
Tanzania is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world as measured by most poverty indices. Most of the wealth in the country is concentrated around the capital of Dar es Salaam in the Southeast of the country. As the Region of Kagera is furthest from the source of wealth, it is one of its poorest regions and the AIDS widows and orphans are the poorest section of this community…. literally these are the poorest of the poor.
Typical families in Kagera are subsistence farmers. In a good year- one without excessive drought- a family makes an average of $110 USD per year. This is not a good way to survive. Education is the only way to get out of this hand-to-mouth existence. Primary schooling is free in Tanzania, but children cannot enroll unless they have school uniforms, books and pencils. This fact prices education out for a lot of subsistence farmers’ children and makes it impossible for sick widows’ children or children in child-headed families to attend school.
Children are called AIDS’s orphans even if only one parent has died from AIDS as the other parent is already likely to be ill themselves. Tumaini Fund tries to lengthen their time with their children by improving their health and life circumstances. In turn, the parent will come to know that, after their death, their children will be supported by the caring and loving team of workers from Tumaini Fund.
As education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, it is a primary goal of Tumaini Fund. Upon enrollment into the program, each AIDS orphan is supplied with a school uniform, books and pencils, everyone in the household gets 2 sets of clothes and a mosquito net. Malaria is the biggest childhood killer in Sub-Saharan Africa and repeated episodes of malaria threatens the lives of immunocompromised parents.
As of the 2012/2013 school year, Tumaini Fund is supporting 8,000 orphans in Secondary School at a cost of approximately $100 per year as well as many students in Teacher Training College.