January 29, 2017
School Sponsorship Program 2017
What is involved in getting 142 children ready to begin school this year?
The following excerpts from Sharmala’s emails give an indication of the challenges she and Leonard met as they prepared to equip the children from the Inner City Program for the opening of school this month.
December 26, 2016
There is a crisis regarding shoes.The best shoes are second hand and there is only one supplier in town. Since Leonard knows him and we have been his customer for a few years, he is holding back those who want to buy shoes. We have only Tsh.1,000,000 ($644) to spend on shoes when Tsh.2,320,000 ($1494) is needed. The shoe wholesaler needs to go to Dar to buy more shoes since he supplies the outlying areas as well. Therefore needs the rest of the money by Wed. Leonard and I talked a few minutes ago about this situation. If we buy the shoes with the money we have, we might not be able to buy the rest of the shoes at the original price. The wholesaler can’t hold on to the rest of the shoes since the demand is great. Leonard and Amani are choosing the shoes as I write and have seen the number of people asking about the shoes. We have been given first dibs since we are regular customers and since the wholesaler knows why we are purchasing the shoes. I will try to borrow some money to purchase the shoes. Failing that, we might have to pay more for the second batch of shoes.
This is another example of how uncertain things are here. We have never had this crisis before. In my email of Dec. 23 I mentioned how long it takes for goods to be released from the port. That is one reason for this crisis.
The money allocated for fabric for the uniforms was used for the shoes. Now there is no money to purchase the fabric for the secondary school and KG students.
January 3, 2017
Leonard and Amani chose 136 pairs of shoes for the primary school students and paid a deposit to hold them until the rest of the money arrived. When the shop owner went to Dar to purchase more shoes, his wife sold the shoes we reserved for a greater profit. Now we have to start at square 1 to choose all the shoes all over again. The cost of the shoes have gone up by 11.25%. So the money that should have been used to purchase the shoes for the secondary school students will have to be spent on purchasing the shoes for the primary school students.
Leonard and Amani have to choose 136 pairs of shoes and 136 shirts today. Tomorrow we will have to see to the secondary school kids. The secondary school kids entering Form 1 need to have a medical exam done that takes up about a whole day and costs $124.83 CD.
Leonard and Amani go wayyyy beyond their call of duty during this time of year.
January 6, 2017
It is 04:50 on Saturday morning and I just got back after dropping off Leonard, Amani and Leonard’s guest who were here from about 6.00pm to pack all the clothes and school supplies. The final total is 140 kids; 132 in primary school and 8 in secondary school. The supplies will be distributed around 1.00pm today.
January 16, 2017
We invited some officials for the distribution of the school supplies, which was a very good idea. We crammed everyone inside so that they could see and experience the right space. We have got their support and a different piece of land was suggested (for the future home of our programs). Leonard and I went to see it. It is sufficient and doesn’t need extensive levelling. The location is also better. Will send you the coordinates for it.
Congratulations to Sharmala, Leonard, Amani, staff and volunteers who poured out themselves to enable 132 elementary students and 8 secondary students from the Inner City Program to attend school 2017!
A big THANK YOU to you all who made this possible!
October 5, 2016
Challenges for Children in the Inner City Program
Obedi, a boy who attended the Inner City Program, used to come and play with Sharmala’s boys, Stivini and Jose at their home. One day, when Sharmala returned from the Inner City Program she discovered things out of place and her camera, a headlamp and a pocket knife were missing. On a previous occasion Obedi had been caught stealing toys from the boys’ room so he became a prime suspect. After questioning him, Sharmala and Leonard took him to the police station. The Police Officer indicated that their office had become Obedi’s second home due to the frequency of his misdemeanors.
Children learn about life from those closest to them. But for children whose lives are compounded by poverty and hunger, the instinct to survive becomes their teacher. They learn how to use distraction and deception, how to become “invisible” and how to pickpocket and beg to meet their most basic needs. Their days centre around watching and waiting for opportunities to practice activities such as these. So as these children grow they perfect their “life skills” and are drawn into crimes with bigger payoffs.
But before Obedi could be taken off the streets and sent to the children’s detention centre he had to be charged for his crimes and his case had to go to court. Up to this point, this had not happened. Why? For many reasons, the judicial system here operates very ineffectively.
Sharmala took matters to the head of police, filed charges and met with lawyers to prepare a case against Obedi in order to keep him off the streets and safe in the juvenile detention centre. She has spent many hours of many days working very hard to keep his case moving forward. As yet, she has no court date.
What is the future for these children? It is time spent in children’s prison… or early death on the streets.
Hope for the Future began its ministry by visiting the Remand Home ( a facility with no programs where children charged with petty crimes await their trial) to introduce the
children to the lessons of life that can really give them hope. It was because of these visits that the Inner City Programs came into being.
Living with the insecurity of frequently changing family dynamics and shifting family relationships, the children in the ICP face significant barriers to consistent and successful education.
Selina is a lovely thoughtful girl who has been attending the Inner City Program for 3 years. After her parent’s separation, she was sent to her maternal grandmother, but her father soon took her away to live with him and his new wife in another town. False accusations by the stepmother and violence and death threats by her father recently precipitated Selina’s escape back to her grandmother. Selina is scheduled to sit for the Grade 7 government exam next month. According to government policy, she must write her exam where she is registered in school, the village where her father lives. Her father wants nothing to do with her.
In order to give her the best possible chance at success, Hope for the Future is trying to find a place for her to stay with another family in the village so that she can write these important exams.