- Maneno’s story isn’t new to many of us. Born and raised in Mabibo Dar es Salaam, Maneno grew up in poverty and in an extended family that depended on their grandmother to feed and cloth them.
At the age of 12, Maneno Hamisi a primary school pupil then, knew nothing about being a happy child, “I always lacked school materials and other basic needs, I had no hope for my future. I always asked myself who was going to take care of my needs?”
Maneno’s story isn’t new to many of us. Born and raised in Mabibo Dar es Salaam, Maneno grew up in poverty and in an extended family that depended on their grandmother to feed and cloth them.
Furthermore, Maneno’s parents didn’t have a job to support their child who had so many dreams in life. The thought of not being able to afford going to school broke his heart.
“I went to stay with my grandmother who was our only bread winner by then, after my parents failed to support me. It was hard but she tried her best to support me and my other five uncles who were living in her house. The amount of money she earned from selling the local brew was used for my school needs and food though it never was enough,”he says.
Despite having it hard, somehow Maneno survived and managed to complete standard seven. Then, finally, a light shone at the end of his very dark tunnel. “I was lucky to complete my Standard Seven at Mabibo Primary School and passed my exams.I was later on selected to joined Yusuph Makamba Secondary Schoolof which I attended for two years.During this time,my grandmother met officials from an organisation called House of Blue Hope, its was in 2008, they agreed to support me by transfering me to a private school,paid for my school fees and other basic needs,” explains Maneno.
Upon completing his secondary education,Maneno joined Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology(DIT) for a certificate course and in 2013,he was employed as a computer technician,a job he holds till today.
“I am so thankful for what I have today,if it wasn’t for people who accepted me back then and gave me a chance to go to school, I might have ended up in streets using drugs.I have managed to support my mother by taking her to a embroidering course and bought her a machine, she now can make a decent living out of it,” he proudly explains.
Now at 24,Maneno have all the reason to smile and put everything that had happened behind him and focus on a bright and promising future ahead of him.However,all thanks to those who open up their helping hand to support him in the first place.
These are the people who understands that child poverty is more than just money but rather being deprived from such basic and important needs.One of them is Daudi Mboma ,an Assistant Lecturer at Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology who for the last ten years together with his friends, have been working closely to ensure that vulnerable children have the opportunity to live their lives like other children.
Despite the existence of many charity organisations that offer support to vulnerable children across the country, but the fact that they have been able to make a big difference in the lives of young people like Maneno
“This is our tenth year as an organisation, it is very exciting to reach such a milestone not only by the fact that we have reached ten years as an organisation but its ten years of changing lives of vulnerable children. We have seen children coming to the Blue House with no hope for the future but now we are witnessing different stories; some of these children are working already and some are still in colleges moving towards an even brighter future,” he proudly explains.
Recalling how their ten year journey started, Daudi who graduated from the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Dar es Salaam in 2008 with an Advanced Diploma in Computer Science, teamed up, while he was still in college with some of his former Loyola High School graduates and started a group known as YOGAA (Youth Global Action Aid).
“By then our group aimed at supporting the street children around the college campus which is located at the city centre. I used to volunteer during my holidays by supporting Billy Bludgus, an American volunteer who lived and taught in Tanzania for three years, we later decided to join forces and formed House of Blue Hope,” he noted.
Both Daudi and Billy saw the huge gap in life opportunities between children who have access to education and those who do not. And for the last ten years, they used different sources of obtaining children with needs.
“ We got these children through various sources,for instance there were those we got reference from friends and families,from the government, organizations and there were also those who came to the house seeking for assistance on their own,we basically give priority to the orphans and those who have lost one of their parents particularly a male parent,” says Daudi.
To support these children, Daudi says they do fund raising activities , contributions from friends and family and the board members annual contributions.The money they get they use to pay the school and college fees and other basic needs.
Before being recruited, all children undergo thorough investigation to check the validity of their life stories and at the end they sign consent with the organisation before moving in to the house. Through these, the project has managed to make a huge difference to all the vulnerable children who came to seek assistance.
‘Located in Mabibo area, painted with blue colour which symbolise its name House of Blue currently has 10 boys who are in Form One at Loyola High School and 7 Boys are at Gonzaga Primary School. We have recently started to recruit girls for our new facility, and we have already recruited 3 girls who have just been enrolled in nursery school and we still have vacancy of 7 girls,” says Daudi adding “ one of the things I am happy and excited about is the fact that we have a new group of girls whom I believe would be able to make a bigger impact in their lives by providing them with good living environment and best education every child would wish to get.
Their journey has also seen young men from their first batch during the start of their project successfully pursuing their careers and education in different areas. “We have several young men who have successful done well in their education. One is current doing his Bachelor Degree in Procurement and Logistics at Tanzania Institute of Accountancy, another alumnus is doing his Bachelor Degree in Accountancy at the same Institute,”
“We have another alumnus working with Sumaco Engineering Company Limited as a Technician in a road construction project in Manyoni District. We also have an alumnus at Institute of Finance Management doing a Diploma in Banking and Finance and another Alumnus already graduated at the same institute with a Diploma in Banking and Finance. Two alumnus have also graduated with basic technician certificate while one is employed the other one is still search for job opportunities,” he says.