West extends additional support to orphans
Mbagala Girls’ Home is one recipient of increased sponsorship.
The Western Territory agreed to support The Salvation Army Amani Girls’ Home in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with $2,500 in ongoing monthly operating costs.
The funds come from an estate reserved specifically for orphans in Africa, and will also support “social orphans” whose families cannot care for them.
“This support reflects the commitment of the Western Territory to be proactive in supporting those in need throughout the world,” said Lt. Colonel Edward Hill, territorial program secretary. “We will continue to look for fresh opportunities to do similar kinds of projects in other places. As in the past, we continue to encourage officers and soldiers to make World Services giving a high priority.”
As an extension of the Mbagala Girls’ Home for girls ages 7 to 18 who were rescued from human trafficking, the Amani Girls’ Home offers safety and security to girls 14 to 18 who complete the Kwetu Counseling Centre’s six-month program and are unable to be reunited with their families.
“It really is a great blessing for us serve and provide for these girls, who are the most vulnerable in the country,” said Colonel Ted Horwood, territorial commander in Tanzania. “To provide opportunities for the rural, underserved is to do it as unto Christ. This is just a reminder of the privileged lives that we lead.”
The Salvation Army provides basic accommodation and food, tuition and school expenses, and spiritual guidance for girls like Mofa Mbalahenya who are on their own.
“Now in her second year of secondary school, Mbalahenya is a happy, intelligent and vibrant young girl,” Horwood said. “However life has not always been so easy.”
Born into a Masai family in northern Tanzania, Mbalahenya’s father was expecting a boy. Disappointed when presented with a healthy baby girl, he was so ashamed and angry that he took the newborn infant out into a field infested with snakes and left her there to be bitten and die. She was bitten but was found by people in the village and taken to a medical facility where the decision was made to amputate her left leg in order to save her life.
“Not only was she a female, but she was a female with a disability—two ‘conditions’ that are seen as cursed or degrading to a family,” Horwood said.
Not much is known about what happened in the first few years of Mbalahenya’s life except that she was not accepted by her family; however, when she turned 7 she was brought to The Salvation Army Matumaini School for Disabled Children. She received a new artificial leg especially made for her by the workshop team, seven years of primary school education, love and support, a love for God, and a place to call home.
“Mofa passed all her exams in order to continue onto secondary school, something that is quite an achievement in Tanzania, but due to having no family support Mofa was unsure as to what her future might look like,” Horwood said. “Having been a part of the wider Salvation Army family for seven years, the territory decided that we could not let this bright and gifted girl be sent away from Matumaini with no home, no possibility of gaining her education and left to fend for herself. The territory in a sense adopted Mofa. We are her family. She is our child.”
Through overseas sponsorship, Mbalahenya attends a secondary boarding school during the school term and lives at Mbagala Girls’ Home during the holidays where she is a valued part of the family. As well as paying for her school fees, personal items and transport costs, The Salvation Army continues to ensure that Mbalahenya is provided with a new prosthetic leg and related medical support as she grows.
“Mofa’s life has been changed. Our lives have been changed by knowing Mofa,” Horwood said. “Our prayer for her is that she will use the gifts and abilities that she has been given to better the lives of others here in Tanzania and be an amazing example and role model particularly for girls in this country.”