Empowering local institutions
There are over three million orphans in Tanzania alone, according to the UN. Most frequently, mothers pass away during childbirth due to inadequate medical care or available blood transfusions - in other cases, HIV/AIDs, malaria, diabetes, and many other treatable conditions are still often fatal for all but the very rich. Children also frequently end up in orphanage care due to a parent's mental illness. Despite our best efforts at keeping children with their surviving relatives, in many cases there is simply no one available to care for a child, due to the mother's death or incapacity.
At TST, we are committed to partnering with our community and investing in local institutions. Nkoaranga Orphanage has been in operation for many decades under the ownership of the Meru Diocese of the Lutheran Church of Tanzania, and under the superb leadership of Martha Ayo (Mama Pendo), in conjunction with the leadership of Nkoaranga Hospital. Mama Pendo has dedicated her life to these children and unleashing their potential, despite enduring many heartaches. For more than a decade, they only had the capacity to care for children until age 3, at which point they were sent back to the village, whether or not there were available caregivers. Mama Pendo personally adopted several, but many more children ended up abused, neglected, or passing away because of inadequate long-term care options. The idea for TST was sparked when Bekka, our founder, was working as a volunteer and realized that she and Mama Pendo shared a vision for the future, including long term homes and family preservation assistance.
Since 2010, TST has partnered with the Lutheran diocese and parent hospital to help transform Nkoaranga Orphanage a model baby home, with high caregiver ratios, excellent nutrition, and a focus on long-term attachment. It now houses up to 30 happy, healthy children as they grow from newborns up to age five. We work with our children's surviving relatives to create long-term care plans, with family reunification as our ultimate goal. With support from our Family Preservation Team, more than half of children entering the orphanage will be returned home to families members by age five!