Straßenkinder Tansania e.V.
Charity to help street children in Singida, Tanzania
In his capacity as longtime vice-president of the Chamber of Crafts Lüneburg – Stade, Heidulf Masztalerz has participated in projects of the Handwerksförderung Ost-Afrika e. V. (Promotion of Handicrafts East-Africa; HOAV). HOAV originated from the cooperation of the ecumenical working group for crafts and the churches in Lower Saxony. In this context, six handicraft workshops were set up in Tanzania, including one in Singida, central Tanzania, a region which is economically and climatically disadvantaged (semi-desert) and located far from the tourist centres.
In 2004, during a visit to the workshop in Singida, H. Masztalerz was made aware of a home for street children in Kititimo on the outskirts of Singida. At that time about 50 street children, boys and girls aged 4 to 16, lived there completely on their own, without any care. Affected by the unsustainable conditions, H. Masztalerz decided to organize support for these children.
Immediately after his return to Germany he founded our charity Straßenkinder Tansania e. V. with ten like-minded people, mainly craftsmen colleagues. With the call “Craftsmen help parentless street children in Tanzania” first donations were soon made.
Today the charity has more than 100 members.
Our work in Tanzania
Until the end of 2016, the focus of our work was the home in Kititimo. In addition, we founded individual projects at the Upendo home, another home for orphans and street children in Singida and a kindergarten in Iambi near Singida.
At the end of 2016, practically overnight and without informing us the home of Kititimo was closed by the municipal administration. On our initiative, many children could be accommodated in the very well managed Upendo home, but unfortunately not all of them.
In the past, the Upendo home was mainly financed by the Austrian association Städtepartnerschaft Salzburg/Singida (Sister Cities Salzburg Singida; SCSS). Since the beginning of 2017, we bear a share of the annual costs of the Upendo home, i. e. the costs of food, school fees, school uniforms and other clothing, medical care, safe housing (new buildings, maintenance, refurbishment and renovation work on existing buildings; infrastructure); we also take over the costs of a second matron.
One of our most important concerns is the vocational training of young school-leavers from the Upendo home, in order to prevent them from ending up on the street again after finishing school and sliding into crime or prostitution. The costs of vocational training will rise in the coming years, as more and more young people will complete their schooling. It is very gratifying that some very talented young people from the Upendo home are also attending grades 5 and 6 of the secondary school, leading to a degree similar to the Abitur.
Wherever possible, we are guided by the principle of “helping the children to help themselves” and we try to strengthen their environmental awareness. For example, just as in the past at Kititimo, maize, millet, beans and other vegetables are grown at the Upendo home around the home.
Our work is being sponsored by
- the Bingo Environmental Foundation of Lower Saxony,
- the parish of St. Johannis Lüneburg,
- the regional representation of the Chambers of Crafts in Lower Saxony, the Chamber of Crafts in Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Stade, the Chamber of Crafts in Reutlingen, the Chamber of Crafts in the Palatinate,
- the Working Group of Vice-Presidents of the Chambers of Crafts,
- the Regional Union of businesswomen in Crafts of Lower Saxony
and a number of private sponsors.
Thanks again to all of them!