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May started with a very special border crossing experience for Jenipha and myself. The first time for Jenipha to travel outside of Tanzania to our fellow neighbouring country Kenya for a children's education forum. Meeting with representatives from other charities from numerous African countries we enjoyed five days of learning, networking, group activities, community visits and prayer and worship. The event hosted by CRY (Care and Relief for the Young) was a huge success and we are so thankful for the invitation and the timing of the event as we plan to open our own daycare facility this summer. It was great to gain additional knowledge in multiple areas of educating children in Africa and I was very inspired by the performance from Afrocure Kids Kenya a community based organisation that empowers children and youth through dance (worth a follow on Instagram). It is also always great to get out of the busy city life in Arusha and reflect on where our Hope and Soul projects have reached and reflect on how far we have come but also always where we can do better. The biggest blessing was having the invitation extended to Jenipha and normally both of outside of the office for five days would be unheard of. However, as we are continuing to grow our little team we handed the office phone and keys to our faithful Mama Zion usually working in the field with our vulnerable families. She stepped up to manage the office in our absence and did extremely well! A success all around and a great start to May!


The highlight of my life here in Tanzania running Hope and Soul is being able to say ‘yes’ to requests of support. I am extremely aware that the ‘yes’ is through no work of my own but the generous support of our donors and sponsors but it is such a joy and privilege to be here face to face with children, youth and families making dreams come true. May 2024 will be remembered as the month we were able to say ‘yes’ to the dream and ongoing request Fadhili has had for the past year of returning to school. Fadhili was doing well in his third of four Secondary School years when his mother became sick and left the family home. This meant as the eldest boy in his small family he was responsible for providing food and fled to the streets daily to beg for money and sell small bracelets in an attempt to provide some food at home for his siblings. Now after nearly two years out of his school, his mother back at home but still without enough work to provide Fadhili with the resources to return to school he is without any future prospects. He has frequently found my car in town since last year, to say hello and ask if there are any opportunities for helping him with school, finally May 2024 was his ‘yes’ day!

As we prepare Fadhili to start boarding school July 1st, it has also been the end of a school journey for our Emanuel who finished form five (equivalent of college) this May. Emanuel is an orphan who came under full Hope and Soul support when he turned eighteen and was required to leave the orphanage where we run a sponsorship programme. Emanuel will now start to prepare for starting University in October where he wishes to study law. We are hoping there might be an opportunity for him to study abroad, if anyone has any experience on this or could advise us in any way please let us know. 


On May 23rd I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Eric, a teenage boy living with his grandmother. Eric has physical and learning disabilities but it does not stop him being extremely welcoming to all guests at his home who he is always incredibly delighted to meet. Having been abandoned by his mother at just two years old he is now in the full care of his grandmother who does her best to carry him from a very worn mattress on the floor to his chair and back every day. Having had the pleasure of working with children with special needs for a number of years in the UK it is always incredibly hard to meet vulnerable children who are confined to small spaces for their lives without any support. Knowledge surrounding care of these children is almost non-existent although there are a number of very good charities working hard to remove the stigma which is still so strongly felt amongst families. Eric has a clear love for his grandmother and their bond is incredible to watch as he responds in his own unique way to her commands and requests. Over the past few weeks thanks to incredible donations of support we have been able to provide Eric with a brand new mattress for sleeping and physio therapy and also two new chair cushions. The photos speak for themselves, but they do not reflect the gratitude from the grandmother and her continual hugs and handshaking at every visit. What a privilege it is to do this work.


29th May we had a uniform shopping day with our seven children from a local government Primary School who last year were fortunate enough to be in a funded nutrition programme through Hope and Soul. This year we are pleased to continue supporting the children with food at school and also uniform provisions. A very special group that have all grown in confidence and smiles since our input which is a true marker of successful outcomes in this work. Starting at the uniform shop for sweaters, shirts, socks and hats then we move to the fabric shop for measuring to make skirts and trousers. Followed by a special visit to the underwear shop as these are families that have no ability to even buy correctly fitting, or enough pairs of underwear. Finally finishing at the second hand shoe market, I will never cease to be continually humbled by how excited children are over ‘new’ school shoes.

The end of May marks the end of the school term and we look forward to a month off for the whole of June. That means all our boarding school children return to the city to be with family and everyone gets some good rest. Although the children who have national exams this September remain in school and study though the whole month. I had the delight of receiving some ‘fashion show’ video clips of some Hope and Soul children in a local daycare. Jovin (4), who still bursts into tears when he sees me and refuses to talk, was confidently strutting the daycare halls fully suited as his friends chanted his name! Children in boarding school normally live off a mix of rice and beans and maybe one other meal so it is always a pleasure to go for a treat of a bag of chips  and a soda on the way home from school which is what Lucy and Iddi were very excited to be treated to this week. 

On a personal note I got bitten by a dog this month which was quite a scary experience, but luckily wearing jeans meant it didn’t break skin I just had some very colourful bruising for a few days! I also attended a local comedy night which is filmed for National TV. The whole night was of course in the local Swahili language so I was very pleased that I understood the majority of it and really did genuinely find it funny! Never a dull moment here..

On the UK side, if you are living in the Portsmouth area we are offering Afternoon Tea packages which are great for your summer events with 100% of the profits supporting Hope and Soul. See the details below and send us a message on social media if you would like more information…

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