At last week’s meeting, our own Rotarian Diana Butler gave
an update on her recent visit to Tanzania and the continuing
work of the ‘Care for Africa Foundation’ in the Tarime area
of the north of that country. Her talk was a mixture of joy
and sadness. She told of the joys of the accomplishments of
the on-going programs and how they are transforming the
lives of people in that area, particularly women. The sadness
came when Di recounted the tragic death of ten-year-old
Hidaya (pictured) through drowning.
Di reported on the completion of the third Women’s Centre
which the foundation has built.
Our club has committed $5,000 per year for three years to
support this project. The Women’s Centres provide opportunity for women to support themselves and their
families through sewing, sunflower oil production and other activities, as well as providing education opportunities
for women, for example in book-keeping and family planning.
The Women’s Centres also are facilitating the provision of menstrual packs for young girls through the ‘Days
for Girls’ program, also supported by our club, thus avoiding their absences from school.
The women’s groups work together in the various activities and participate in the education programs which
are facilitated by the government.
Di said that provision of buildings for the Women’s Centres was only part of the story—the programs running
in them must be sustainable at a local level and not be reliant on ex-pat supervision and support.
Another important part of the program is child sponsorship, of which some of our club members are part. The
sponsorship program allows children to be lifted out of poverty through quality education. ‘Care for Africa’ also
runs breakfast programs in government schools in the area as well as building quality toilets.
To date, the foundation has provided ten safe water-wells, thus avoiding people drinking contaminated water
and saving water-carriers—mainly women, from having to walk long distances to collect and carry water.
Di said she would be returning to Tanzania in September to further review the ‘Care for Africa’ programs there.
Di then read a detailed account she had written about the tragic death by drowning of a girl very dear to her
heart—Hidaya. Di told of how devastated the family was, considering they had also lost a baby son only a short
time earlier. Di was able to share in their grief and also support the parents and siblings at the mortuary and
the funeral proceedings. Di showed how much her heart reaches out to her African family in times of tragedy.