Case Studies

Programme 1 students live with one or more of their birth parents.


Juma is 15 years old and in Form 2 at Mji Mpya Secondary School, Tanzania. He lives with his mother and younger sister, Halima, who has not yet started primary school.

Juma also had a younger brother, Ramadhani, who recently passed away following various urinary complications and kidney failure. Ramadhani’s medical treatment and funeral were paid for by Kijana Kwanza through our Emergency Fund.

During Juma’s early years, his parents quarrelled regularly, and his father used to beat his mother. He also physically abused the children. As a result, Juma’s mother took the family to her home village in Tanga Region. Life was exceptionally difficult for the family; his mother earned a paltry income washing clothes in the street for local families and Juma would go to the forest to make charcoal and sell it at market. After a couple of years, his father begged his mother for forgiveness and she returned to Moshi, leaving behind Juma who was on the verge of finishing primary school.

Following his mother’s return to Moshi, the family situation did not improve and she reported her husband’s violent behaviour to the local police. Since then they have permanently separated and his father does not play any role in the family, and his whereabouts are often unknown. He was last seen briefly at Ramadhani’s funeral, where he turned up drunk until he was chased away by the local community.

Juma completed primary school in Tanga as well as Form 1 of secondary school. During this time, his mother processed his school transfer and he was reunited with his mother and siblings in late 2019.

In Moshi, the family live in a one-bedroom house with no electricity, sanitation or separate cooking facilities. Juma’s mother works at the local market selling vegetables. Her daily profit is less than £1/$1.20 per day, which means that the family are regularly lacking basic needs including food and clothing.

Juma was sponsored by Kijana Kwanza in September 2020.

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Programme 2 students live with a foster parent who may be a relative or an unrelated guardian.


Gladness is 14 years old and is in Form 1 at JK Nyerere Secondary School. She currently lives with her grandmother and 4-year-old cousin, Abraham.

Days after Gladness’ birth, she was rushed into hospital because she seemed weak and appeared to be in a lot of pain. At first the doctors were unable to ascertain her condition, but after she was struck by convulsions, the hospital contacted a foreign doctor, who was volunteering at a neighbouring hospital. The doctor recognised that Gladness was suffering from dehydration, which had affected her spinal discs and was causing her a lot of pain.

Gladness and her mother spent several days in hospital, whilst her father visiting in the evenings to spend the night with them. One night, as mother and baby were sleeping, Gladness’ father disappeared, and he was never seen again. Since Gladness’ mother was relying on her partner to pay the hospital bill, the foreign doctor who was overseeing Gladness’ treatment in hospital paid for her medical fees and the cost of food during their stay.

After being discharged from hospital, Gladness continued to live with her mother in absolute poverty. At the age of 2 years, her mother left Gladness with her mother (Gladness’ grandmother), saying that she had found employment as a domestic servant in Iringa Region and that she would send money back home for Gladness’ care and maintenance. However, after she left, Gladness’ grandmother lost contact with her daughter, and she too has not been seen since. As a result, Gladness has spent most of her life with her grandmother, having been abandoned by both her parents early on in her life.

Gladness’ grandmother is very old and sick. She contracted HIV in 2014 and due to a weakened immune system, she was infected with fungal meningitis causing headaches, fever and vomiting. Her condition has not been treated because she does not have enough money for regular medication. As a result, she has no ability to work and no way to earn an income.

The small family rely on remittances from Abraham’s mother – Gladness’ aunt – who works as a mama ntilie (street cook) in Dar es salaam, preparing food for low-income workers. These funds pay for rent and part of what the family needs for food. Otherwise they are reliant on donations from neighbours and sometimes, Gladness is forced to go to bed without eating all day. There is a rarely enough money to pay for school costs, and Gladness is beaten by her teachers because she goes to school without proper uniform and schoolbooks.

Gladness is generally in good health but suffers from short-sightedness. However, her grandmother cannot afford to pay for an eye test or glasses.

In the future, Gladness would like to be a nurse, so that she can help people who are sick.

Gladness was sponsored by Kijana Kwanza in September 2020.

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Programme 3 students face multiple challenges and include orphans, former street children and those at risk of child labour or exploitation. The majority of students are from outside of Moshi Town, and live on site at our shelter.


Riziki is 17 years old and comes from a small village called Duga, in Tanga Region, Tanzania. He has been sponsored by Kijana Kwanza since January 2019 and is currently in Form 2 at Reginald Mengi Secondary School.

Riziki’s family are very poor. When his father was alive, he worked as a water distributor; he would spend the day going back and forth to the communal well, providing water for the villagers. The financial pressures facing his father led him to desert his family, abandoning his wife and 8 children to fend for themselves. When Riziki was 12 years old, he learned that his father had died of an unknown illness.

To meet the family’s needs, Riziki’s eldest brother took up work as a motorcycle rider, transporting local people in town. His mother also began to sell vegetables in the local market.

Riziki attended primary school intermittently. Sometimes he went to school in normal clothes because his mother and brother could not afford to pay for uniform. On other occasions he just stayed at home. In fact, he did not attend school for a period of 2 years, when the family’s financial situation was extremely difficult. Despite his irregular attendance at school, Riziki is intelligent and he finished primary school, passing all his examinations. After his brother married, he was unable to support Riziki any further with his education, since he had his own family to take care of.

Since his arrival at Kijana Kwanza, Riziki has excelled both academically and in his personal development. He is always in the top 10 of his year group of over 200 students and was recently appointed Head Boy at school. Riziki is a natural leader and positive influence on his peers. We are confident that he has a great future ahead of him.

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Halima is 15 years old and comes from Tanga Region, Tanzania. She has been sponsored by Kijana Kwanza since January 2020 and is currently in Form 2 at Reginald Mengi Secondary School.

Halima is an orphan – both her parents died by the time she was just 3 years old and so she has no memory of them. After the death of her parents, she was taken in by her aunt who lived in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, where she started primary school. In her penultimate year of primary school her aunt passed away and since she had no relative to care for her, she dropped out of school and became a street child.

Two months later, she happened to meet a lady who took pity on her situation. Despite her own poor condition, she agreed to take her in.

Whilst Halima was quite shy and unsettled when she first arrived at Kijana Kwanza, she has slowly grown in confidence and is now happy with her new surroundings. Academically she is a mid-range student, but we have high hopes that her results will improve with time. Outside of class, she enjoys taking part in different extra-curricular activities and she stands out amongst her peers for the immense respect she has for both staff and peers.

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Romana is 15 years old and comes from Kindi Village, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. She has been sponsored by Kijana Kwanza since January 2020 and is currently in Form 2 at Reginald Mengi Secondary School.

Romana is the first born in her family and has 3 sisters (aged 6, 9 and 11) who are still in primary school. In 2015, her father passed away from pulmonary edema and her mother abandoned the family. It is not known exactly where she currently is, but she is thought to be in Moshi Town. With nowhere else to go, Romana and her sisters moved in with their grandmother.

The family lived in absolute poverty since Romana’s grandmother was unable to provide even the most needs of her grandchildren.

Romana would often go to school barefoot because they had no money to buy shoes. Despite all these difficulties, Romana completed primary school in 2018 and was selected to join Kisam Secondary School, which was located some 3 villages away. In her first year at secondary school, she would walk 5km every morning to reach school, and sometimes she would be late or miss classes.

Due to the dire situation facing the family, she was invited to join Kijana Kwanza after the end of her Form 1 examinations. Romana is a pleasant young girl who is always smiling. Her academic results have improved dramatically since she moved to our shelter, and she has settled well into her new surroundings. Outside of class, she enjoys gardening and is quite protective of the new bed of flowers she has created outside the shelter, which she waters and tends to every day.

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Laurent is 15 years old and comes from Majengo Village, Manyara Region, Tanzania. He has been sponsored by Kijana Kwanza since October 2019 and is currently in Form 1 at Reginald Mengi Secondary School.

Laurent has no memory of his father, who passed away when he was very young, leaving behind a widow and 4 children. Laurent is the youngest; he has 2 older sisters and 1 older brother.

His mother is a small scale, subsistence farmer, planting maize and beans in the rainy season. The family also has 2 cows, which provide them with a small income to pay for their living costs. Laurent is very grateful to his mother for sacrificing so much so that he could complete primary school, which he successfully passed with an average grade of B.

Since his arrival at Kijana Kwanza, Laurent has excelled beyond our expectations. He is top of his year group in school and is slowly becoming fluent in speaking English. By nature, Laurent is a curious person, and in his spare time he can be founding reading or talking to staff and volunteers about one or more academic subject. At all times, he is friendly and has impeccable manners.

We are very proud (and protective!) of Laurent, are very excited about the future that awaits him.

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Programme 4 students comprise young people ages 18-35 years who are looking to acquire a specific skill or trade to improve their employment prospects. They live on-site at our hostel.


Mohammed is 23 years old and was born in Songea Rural of Ruvuma Region, in south-western Tanzania. He has 2 older sisters, one who is now married with 3 children.

Mohammed’s father was a farmer and he struggled to provide for the family. To make matters worse, he developed symptoms of mental illness when Mohammed started primary school, although this was culturally interpreted as the effect witchcraft. In 2005, whilst Mohammed was in Standard 4, his parents travelled to Dar es salaam for traditional remedies, leaving Mohammed to fend for himself. By this time, his sisters had already moved to Dar es salaam to find work.

Soon after his parents arrived in Dar es salaam, his father passed away, and his mother decided not to return to Songea. As a result, from the age of just 8 years, Mohammed lived alone in his parents’ mud hut without any family or friends to support him.

In order to eat, Mohammed went to market every day before school to sell charcoal. After school he returned to market, to continue selling charcoal so that he could earn a small income. On some days, if he did not sell enough charcoal, he would starve. This would be Mohammed’s routine all the way till the end of secondary school.

Mohammed passed his secondary school examinations achieving Division 4 (equivalent to Grade C). With few prospects ahead, he took on a new trade, transporting clothes from town to nearby villages. But after only a few months into his trade, he had a major accident, when the car he was driving overturned at the edge of a ravine.

At the same time, his eldest sister got married and moved back to Songea and Mohammed went to live with her. He became very depressed as he was no longer able to work for the transport company and could not find any other suitable employment.

Three years later, and now aged 22 years, his uncle helped him to secured sponsorship from Bilal Muslim Mission in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region to study towards a Certificate in Primary Education. He successfully completed the 1-year course last year, and started an internship at a local primary school.

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