The L.I.F.E. Community Center
The centerpiece of L.I.F.E. is a community center which will be a meeting and learning point for families from the surrounding neighborhood as well as home to a daycare and afterschool center. The center will be located in Arusha near Morombo, which is a rather young suburb and marked by a large number of rented buildings and rooms, most of them only half finished and often occupied by whole families on very limited space. People who live in the area mostly cannot afford a home closer to town. We are planning to become an integral part of our direct community by providing essential service to vulnerable children and their families.
Many NGOs in Arusha rely on arranging school sponsorships for so-called English Medium Schools – English-speaking, comparatively inexpensive private schools that are very popular with the Tanzanian middle class. The language of instruction in public primary schools (grades 1-7) is Swahili; in private schools however, English is taught from the start. All secondary schools, whether public or private, only use English as the language of instruction. Many students from public schools therefore fail to move to secondary schools due to a lack of English language skills. Choosing an “English Medium School” therefore seems obvious for families who can afford it. It also seems to be a sensible solution to find school sponsors for children whose parents cannot afford such schools. However, these sponsorships also have disadvantages. It is impossible to find school sponsors for all children in need. This encourages envy in families and, in the worst case, can threaten cohesion within a community. Public primary schools in Tanzania are free of charge and thus, in principle, equal opportunities are guaranteed.
For the Tanzanian Society it is important that the long-standing donation model of “school sponsorships” for individual children is transformed into the support of entire families. L.I.F.E. does not question ongoing sponsorship programs but rather suggests a holistic approach to it, that includes a sustainable solution for the whole family. The monthly contribution of a school sponsorship is significantly higher than the living expense budget of an average Tanzanian family. With the same amount of money that one private school sponsorship costs 2-3 children and their families can be supported at the L.I.F.E Center.
Our tasks are to deal with and improve the challenges public schools and their students regularly face:
- insufficient promotion of the English language
- crowded classrooms and
- poorly trained teachers
- lack of food for the students
Not all schools provide meals for their students. In case they do, families have to pay a monthly contribution which not everyone can afford. Students whose schools don’t provide food often have no access to a filling meal for the entire day. Another problem is the number of students. Schools often have to accommodate such high numbers of students that classes take place in two shifts, morning and afternoon. Most children spend the rest of the day unsupervised at home or in the neighborhood.
The Afterschool Center will continue where the public system still fails! We will provide the children with a meal, give language support and tutoring as well as offer meaningful free time activities!
L.I.F.E. supports and complements public schools to offer all children fair chances within their community!
There are barely any public daycares or preschools in Tanzania. It is therefore the responsibility of the family to look after younger children. Work and childcare, especially for single parents, can hardly be combined. As a result many children, including very young ones, are left alone at home or under loose supervision of neighbors and are therefore exposed to acute dangers and threats.
Young children have the right to be cared in a safe and secure environment. This should never have to be a question of income. In the L.I.F.E. Daycare children from the area, for whom no care is guaranteed within the family, are supervised and supported.
Further Educational Programs
Numerous other programs in the field of youth and adult education will be built up and adapted to the needs of the community:
- Business – Training
- Education about fundamental rights – especially with regard to rights for women and children
- Crafting skills and courses
- Tutoring and Language Programs
- Individual legal and financial advice
- Education on a sustainable lifestyle and nature protection