This series of stories are intended as a way to connect the lives of the children and families that we work in Tanzania with you and yours, TST visitors and supporters wherever you may be in the world. They also serve to demonstrate how, through our Family Preservation and Reunification Programmes, Happy Family Children’s Village, Community Outreach Services and Care Coalition, the funds from our much appreciated donors and sponsors empower, and so positively impact on, their lives.
Stories That Connect: Mama Doricas
Five years ago, Mama Doricas had a horrible accident while working, badly damaging one of her legs. She could not walk and it was broken in multiple places. She understood how serious her injury was and, more than anything, wanted to continue providing for her family and keep her three kids with her. But, with a badly broken leg, how was she supposed to do the work, to provide for her family?
Access to Health Care Can Undermine Family Preservation
Her husband was unable to help. He has an addiction problem, and although he takes some jobs here and there, somehow the money never ends up in the hands of Mama Doricas. She was struggling to feed her children. Struggling to keep them all together and safe.
She knew that if her leg did not heal, she would be in serious danger of losing her ability to walk, work, and therefore, stay with her family. With multiple breaks, the doctors did what they could and placed an iron plate in her leg to help her heal. But before she knew it, she could barely walk. The pain was so intense.
Stigma Adds to the Challenges of Poverty and Disability
Poverty prevents access to quality health care. In Tanzania, physiotherapists are expensive and also hard to come by. In addition to this, disability, just as in many other parts of the world, also comes weighed down with stigma from within the community. Mama Doricas pushed through her pain for five years, while living through the stigma of being both disabled and unable to successfully support her family.
Finding odd jobs here and there, she was finding it very difficult to keep her family healthy and her older children, Doricas (13) and Brian (9), in school. She had struggled like this for years, alone and in so much pain. Her leg was not healing and she knew it was because she did not have good quality health care. The signs were ominous. That’s when she sought support, and found The Small Things.
Donors Support Opportunity and Keep Families Together
When Mama Doricas came to TST in 2019, she asked the team, “how will I care for my three children like this?” She explained her story and her pain. Our Family Preservation team agreed that she was at risk and truly needed assistance. Thanks to the support of our donors and sponsors, TST was able to cover the costs of surgery to remove the iron plate from her leg.
She then entered into our Family Preservation Program. Families at risk of being broken up due to poverty are provided with business education, small business grants, access to microfinance loans, and nutrition tools. Within a few months after the surgery, Mama Doricas was doing much better and was able to walk. After receiving extensive physical therapy and the assistance she needed, she was able to get back on her feet, physically and figuratively.
Empowering Mothers Keeps Children in Their Own Home
Now, a year after her surgery, Mama Doricas is able to walk and even run around with her children. She is working so hard and has started up a few small businesses to reach her goals, the most important of which is to ensure that she can afford for all of her children to be able to continue to live with her. She sends them to school and, with her new kitchen garden, is able to give them nutritious meals all the time. Mama Doricas family’s future now looks bright!
One small act of kindness can bring about a myriad of change. Your donated money goes far in Tanzania. Mama Doricas’s surgery cost less than $400 and see what a difference it made in her life and that of her family! At TST, our primary goal is to keep children in their own home with their families, most often through empowering strong mothers.
Would like to empower children, mothers, families and communities by supporting our programmes?