May 2019 - Uplifting Displaced Children Through the Scouts Program
Since its inception in 2004, Tumaini Junior has always had a Scouts Program. Similar to the Boy and Girl Scout programs in the United States, this extracurricular activity is meant to help build character and confidence. Though they do not sell cookies, these Scouts take up a pivotal leadership role within their school and the greater Karatu community.
Both girls and boys take part in this activity upon entering 5th grade. Led by school staff, the students develop discipline, leadership, and team building skills. After school and during lunch, they can be found rehearsing formations and reciting the Scout’s Promise to always do their best.
Scouts, common in most Tanzanian schools, represent their school at district events and nationwide. Tumaini’s Scouts are a unique group of students. Most of them are displaced children who came to Tumaini through the support of TEC’s sponsors, orphanages, and children’s homes. This support has enabled them to serve their community in a significant capacity rather than be viewed as a burden.
Regardless of their backgrounds, Scouts are all strongly committed to service. Outside of scouts, these students are the first to volunteer around school. They are the role models on campus, known to be dependable and always setting an example for their younger peers. At community events, the district office often commends Tumaini for their famed dedication and commitment.
On April 11th 2019, the Karatu district celebrated “Street Children’s Day.” This annual event is held to acknowledge the displaced children within the community and the work being done to create viable opportunities for them.
Commemorated with a parade and field event, children across the city came together, led by the Tumaini Scouts in a march along the main road of Karatu. Though the march was comprised of nearly 100 Tumaini students, Mwema Children’s Home and Bwawani Primary School joined them.
Mr. Nyange, a Karatu district social worker, explained that the event testified that hundreds of children that were previously on the street or without homes are now being cared for, no longer humiliated or discriminated against. Instead, these children have the opportunity to attain an education and a viable, strong future.
Within Tumaini, about eight orphanages and children’s homes were represented. The local government views Tumaini as a valuable resource in social issues. Many of the children removed off the streets since 2017 have been able to receive a high quality education that they otherwise could not afford without sponsorship.
Madame Elizabeth Fabian, the teacher overseeing the TJS Scouts, is proud of how the Scouts have represented the school. “Seeing them develop, I know they will go on to always serve. They appreciate what has been done for the and they want to make Tumaini proud.” You will find that a lot of these sponsored students are courageous, eager to learn and prove their talents.
Scout commander, Christina Joseph, is a TEC-sponsored orphan from Shalom Orphanage. She and some of her fellow Scouts shared their thoughts on being a Scout:
Christina Joseph, Class 6,
Christina leads the Scouts in every appearance they make. She takes her role quite seriously. She explained that people don’t see an orphan when she is in her uniform. As commander, she is the first face you see and gives the marching orders. In the future, she feels this experience will help her fight corruption as a soldier and accountant.
Antony Gilbert, Class 6
Antony enjoys being a scout because it is an opportunity to visit different areas of the country that he would not see otherwise. He also loves the special responsibility of carrying the Uhuru (Unity) Torch during parades and events like Worker’s day, and Children’s day.
Jessica Phillipo, Class 6,
Jessica believes that her role as a scout is to help children who can’t help themselves and show them the way. She has learned how to cooperate in a group setting, be helpful, and be proud of herself. She chose to become a scout to learn more about Tanzania’s heroes like Julius K. Nyerere, the country’s first president, who fought for independence.
Emmanuel Pascal, Class 6
Emmanuel wants to be a soldier when he grows up and says that daily practice with scouts is going to bring him success. “I am a student, but when I am a scout, it is different.” He added, “We are the leaders at our school. They expect us to work hard, be respectful, and be serious.” I want to great so other boys know they can be great.