Like many regions of Africa, the poverty stricken areas of Mbeya, Tanzania, are home to children experiencing life’s biggest challenges. Often orphaned, usually co-existing in one room with several other siblings and kin, these children receive only one meal a day. The head of the household ekes out a living perhaps from a small plot nearby, selling a few vegetables, or possibly by making and selling sweets or the local pombe (homebrew). Alcoholism, prostitution and drug abuse are prevalent, as is AIDS.
Young girls are left at home to care for the younger children. The boys are left to their own devices, too often forsaking school for the chance to “find” food or “earn” money on the streets through stealing and gambling. If caught by the authorities, they are sent to a Remand Home where they sit and wait for their trial. If not, they easily fall into a life of crime. There are services available to help the girls and boys who present as “good” children, but for those who are labeled “bad”, there are no avenues for help. They are regarded as Watukutu (scum of society).
Hope for the Future began in 2002 with visits to the local Remand Home, a facility that houses young boys (ages 10 – 18) who have been arrested for petty crime and/or violent behaviour. When these children were released, some of them had no safe place to go. Concern for these abandoned and vulnerable children led Hope for the Future to establish a Residential Program in 2002, to provide these boys with a home and family. Two years later an after school program called the Inner City Program opened it doors to give the many street kids a safe place with structured and meaningful activity. As the numbers attending the ICP grew, it became obvious that only a small percentage of these children were actually able to attend and remain in school. Thus the School Sponsorship Program was birthed.
Our Mission Statement:
- To identify and address physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of the children and youth who are living on the margins, and to implement supports and programs to alleviate these needs
- To demonstrate the love of God to each child instilling in them a sense of personal value and purpose, and to equip them with the foundations to meet the challenges of life through the Inner City Program
- To assist the children in receiving a formal education through the School Sponsorship Program
- To engage local business and community members in the operation of our programs
Sharmala Buell, Hope for the Future Founder and Director
Sharmala was born and raised in Sri Lanka. On a trip to Canada in 1983, she found herself unable to return to her homeland due to the outbreak of civil war. A trained Montessori teacher, she took a job teaching in the Canadian North. In the late 1990’s she felt God calling her to the mission field in Africa. Over the next three years, through a set of circumstances only God could orchestrate, Sharmala was moved and equipped for the work God had prepared for her in Mbeya, Tanzania. Upon arrival in 2001, she was invited to visit the Remand Home for children. What she witnessed there ignited the vision of Hope for the Future Ministries.
Hope for the Future Ministries Canada Board of Directors:
David Brown, QC
Ron Harder, financial officer
Jan Wilson, HFM volunteer, Newsletter
Hope for the Future Foundation Tanzania Board of Directors:
Bishop Emmanuel Tumwidike – Senior bishop of Restoration Bible Church, Tanzania. Living in Mbeya
Sultan Thawer – Business owner living in Mbeya and long time supporter of HFM
Sharmala Buell – Executive Director of HFM, living in Mbeya