The AK Shalom for Justice and Peace presented by the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt has selected two projects in Tanzania as the recipients of this year’s Shalom Prize on its 40th anniversary.
Project to combat school violence in Tanzania’s Rulenge-Ngara and Mwanza regions
Born in 1964, Felista Tangi, an educator, wrote her doctorate on the impact of school violence on students‘ performance and skills development. Given the alarmingly high rate of school pupils, who are subjected to corporal punishment and violence at the hands of teachers and fellow schoolmates in school, Tangi set up a non-violent, inclusive secondary school in Nyashishi, Mwanza Province, Tanzania with nuns in the Teresina Sisters order of which she is a member.
The school caters to 250 pupils from mainly rural areas, orphans and children from poorer families, who are badly affected by school dropouts and violence. Around 20 per cent of school places are reserved for children with inclusion needs.
People with albinism are among the school’s committed, main target group. Albinism is a rare, genetically inherited condition and affects about one in 20,000 people worldwide. But in Tanzania Albinism occurs one in 1492 births. Albinism occurs in both women and men. Belief that albinism is a „punishment from God“ or constitutes bad luck and that the „disease“ may be contagious are common in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria region. This lack of knowledge about people with albinism means that folk tales and superstitions cause sufferers to be persecuted and/or be subjected to discrimination.
The school uses modern concepts of classroom management to combat violence, bullying and discrimination based on material developed in a project against school violence by Prof. Dr. Margit Stein and Prof. Dr. Daniela Steenkamp (University of Vechta and Villingen Cooperative State University) and which is accessible free of charge in Kiswahili on a homepage for teachers: (http://www.against-violence-at-schools-in-tanzania.com/swa/about-this-great-project-fighting-school-violence-in-tanzania-sw/).
All pupils with special needs are assisted by student teachers from St. Augustine University in Mwanza in terms of coaching and mentoring. The Department of General Education at Vechta University of Applied Sciences and from St. Augustine University in Tanzania offers the newly-founded school academic counselling and support.
Pippi House for Girls in Arusha
The Pippi House Foundation for Girls is the only women’s shelter in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. The name indicates the nature of the house as a refuge and plays on the Swahili word for sweets „Pippi“. The women’s shelter is thus a sweet haven in a bitterly tough life.
At present, the women’s shelter houses about 100 girls and young women aged between 14 and 25 years, who had previously lived on the streets, were sold as maids or trafficked as child labourers, raped and sold into prostitution. Some were pregnant or already had small children when they arrived at the Pippi House. Around 16 infants and toddlers live there at present.
Founded in 2011 by Aristides Nshange, a Tanzanian social worker in Arusha, at that time support in the city centred on male orphans and younger street children. The wide-meshed social net of the state or private initiatives did not help teenage girls, especially pregnant women or young mothers, who were left to fend for themselves. This prompted Aristides to found the non-governmental organization, which he has managed passionately ever since with a view to offering the girls a glimpse of a self-determined life. Apart from being their home and offering regular meals and safety, the foundation provides initial help (re-) integrating into social life using a good, solid education as a basis. All of Pippi’s residents are given an opportunity to attend school beyond the free primary education in Tanzania. Girls are helped with learning and finding an internship, a degree or a permanent job after graduating.
Pippi House does not receive any government funding whatsoever and is thus wholly reliant on national and international donations. The German ProManity e.V. (Quellenweg 28, 20535 Hamburg, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.promanity.de) association has supported the Pippi House financially since 2017. Founded by three young women who had volunteered at the Pippi House, the association wishes to continue supporting the project from Germany. The donations raised and managed by ProManity pay the costs of food per month, toiletries, school fees, medical costs e.g., visits to doctors and hospitals and any medicine needed as well as the monthly rent depending on the amount donated. Since January 2020, the association has paid Aisha Shaban’s salary, a Tanzanian social worker who supports and represents Aristides on site.
At present, Aristides and the women and girls live in a rented, eight-room bungalow. Apart from the financial strain of finding enough money to pay the monthly rent, the house is too small for over 100 women and children, who all live in very confined, cramped conditions. Therefore, purchasing a new home for the project is one of the next major items on the agenda.
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