Baby Takbari announced himself on the New Year’s dawn. Motherless too soon, he has been in the care of his grandparents ever since. His grandfather first brought little Takbari to Forever Angels when, at 3 months old, he weighed less than 8lbs. Eager to do right by their boy, Takbari’s grandfather and uncle alternate attending education sessions hosted by Forever Angels. Almost one, he is growing like a weed, tumbling into happy toddlerhood.
Samwel was born deaf. Without any support, Samwel struggled in school. His mother, also deaf, could not find work. Unable to pay his school fees he was forced to abandon his studies. The family was very poor and Samuel was often hungry. When he and Forever Angels found one another he was offered a job as a gardener at the Baby Home. Working diligently Samwel saved up enough money to fund his enrollment in a catering course. He now works as one of the Baby Home cooks, providing nutritious meals for the little ones. He has found his dance, ensuring no child in his service ever knows hunger.
Lilian, a native Mwanzan, came on staff at Forever Angels as an eager 17 year old. From seed to blossom, she’s grown up at the Baby Home and become the consummate professional that she is today. Lilian’s resume could hold its own against many an expatriate aide worker trained in non-profit management or international development. Under her wings as marvelous Manager of the Baby Home both the babes and the charity at large are thriving.
Monnie is blind. When she came to Forever Angels she was malnourished, alone and terrified. With patience, love, and dedication, the mamas and volunteers showed Monnie big love, slowly but surely teaching her to trust the world around her. Today she is a little girl who loves to ride on the swings and walk around the grounds using her cane. Forever without sight, she is never lost. When Monnie is older she will move to a school for the blind, unless she is adopted by a “forever family” first.
Tanzania is a dangerous land for an Albino baby to be born into. To keep her safe Winifrida’s parents sent her to an orphanage as a very young girl. She was well cared for by nuns and protected behind concrete walls. But at age 18 she had to enter the fray of an uncertain life as an Albino adult. She found employment at Forever Angels working with the babies who delight her. With her steady and deserved salary she affords rent on a house in a secure area in Mwanza. Alive. Safe. Thriving.
Romadi is 23 years old. Born a triplet, his mother died when he was 6 and his father was killed in a road accident when he was 11. He was taken to live at Bethany Orphanage. At age 15 he came into Forever Angels’ fold on their D.A.V.E. program (Developing Adolescents Through Vocation and Education). Forever Angels helped launch Romadi’s studies, as they saw a young boy desperate for an education. Today Romadi is studying Form 5 and has the highest of hopes that he will qualify to attend University to study Law. Keep climbing, brave and resilient young man, keep climbing.
Felista took a position at Forever Angels eight years ago. At that time there were beautiful twin babies whose mother had died. Loved glued her to these motherless twins and later to their birth father, widowed and open hearted. They wed and last year, they adopted a child from Forever Angels. Felista’s heart sings with love for her three adopted children. Now Assistant Manager of the Baby Home, Felista is able to ensure these children are protected from the vulnerabilities they all once faced. Employed, educated and empowered Felista can provide them the gorgeous future they each deserve.
Msobi was born an albino. Albinos are both hunted and persecuted in Tanzania. When Msobi was still a small baby he survived an attack on his life carried out in his home. His mother knew she could ensure neither his safety nor his survival. Desperate, she handed him into the care of the Baby Home where he has grown up free from fear or pain. Forever Angels gave Msobi’s mother a job as a chef so she could see her darling boy every day and tuck him into his bed each night. During critical years Msobi was free to play and dream, safe under the protective wings of the Baby Home. He now lives again at home, now in a safe part of town, returning daily with his mum, who remains a devoted employee, to play at the Baby Home.
Josephine was hired nine years ago, when Forever Angels took in its first baby. She was hired to do a job. The job became her passion - caring for those left vulnerable and lending a voice to those without one. She is now the Baby Home’s on-site manager, living at Forever Angels with her own family. She is never more then a breath away from the needs of the children and outreach families be it a fever in the middle of the night, a mother without milk for her starving baby, or a lullaby needing to be sung. She has woven the professional into the personal, taking the mission of her work deep into her heart.
Bibi Judith’s daughter died giving birth to baby Judith almost two years ago. She tried to care for her little grandchild but she was already raising six others. There was no money for formula. Stoic and realistic, she took Judith to the Baby Home, intent on saving her from starvation and disease. At age one Judith went back home to her Bibi where she remains – happy, dotted on and healthy. With the support of The Maisha Matters Program and A House For A House Bibi Judith runs a small business and lives, along with her gaggle of seven grandchildren, in a concrete home – safe, dry and forever hopeful.
Neema was the birth lottery recipient of a cruel childhood. She was taken in by extended family, in her case an uncle. Abusive, he denied her an education. Neema’s future came to a crossroads when she was transferred to a local orphanage for older children from where she eventually transitioned into Forever Angels’ D.A.V.E. project (Developing Adolescents Through Vocation and Education). Through D.A.V.E. Neema flourished. She funded her way through further schooling, reclaiming her right to an education, and built her own house. A survivor and landowner, Neema, on staff at Forever Angels, is a woman more than holding her own.
Baba Maggie ~ A Tribute
Maggie’s mother survived childbirth six times, to six baby girls, but died after the seventh – Maggie. Deeply impoverished, Maggie’s father, Baba Maggie, was watching Maggie die before his eyes. One day he handed her to the staff at the Baby Home to ensure her survival. At the time the Baby Home was short a gardener, a position that Baba Maggie was all too eager to take on. As staff he was able to see sweet Maggie daily and watch her grow. After two years she went home to her family. Baba Maggie died a year ago this January. His job with Forever Angels fed his family well and enabled his girls to go to school. Unwilling to let the family fall through the cracks after his death Forever Angels has employed his eldest daughters, Flora and Mecky, who now watch over their younger sisters with courage and commitment.
Vicky is turning 5 years old this Christmas Day. Four years ago Vicky was found outside the gates to a street children’s center, dressed warmly with a bag of clothes next to her. Born with hydrocephalus it is likely her mother, who had lovingly cared for her thus far, knew she could not save Vicky for want of funds to pay necessary surgical costs. A drop in the bucket for so many meant the end for an impoverished mother. Forever Angels took Vicky in and paid for her life-saving surgery. The Baby Home’s social workers worked tirelessly to find Vicky’s mother but she was never found. Today Vicky is a bright light at the Baby Home – a vivacious little girl who loves face painting and swimming and who wants nothing more then a family to call her own.
Bibi Bahati’s daughter died last year after giving birth to her grandson Bahati. She tried to care for him but being elderly nobody would give her work. She fed Bahati tea and bread but he became sick and was admitted to hospital with malnutrition and pneumonia. Bibi Bahati thought he would die. Enter The Maisha Matters Project. The outreach staff provided Bahati with milk weekly, weighed him and supported his Bibi to start a small business selling charcoal outside her house. They now have enough money to buy food every day. Bibi Bahati misses her daughter terribly, but is proud to be caring for her grandson successfully, giving him a second chance at life.
As a very young girl Amy dreamed of running an orphanage. She didn't just achieve her dream. She far exceeded it. She has founded what Tanzanian government officials declared “The best orphanage in Tanzania” and from it The Maisha Matters Project was born. Amy lives and breathes for the children and families who she has dedicated years of her life to. The impact she has had on the community of Mwanza is immeasurable. Committed to hiring only local staff, she ensures them the provision of invaluable training and stable salaries which has in turn increased the standard of living for so many and invigorated the local economy. Forever Angels is a living, breathing act of love whose shelter invigorates more than just the vulnerable children whose mission it is to nurture.
Lujanga is 18 months old, about to go home to his father after a prolonged stay at the Baby Home. His mother died when he was born and his father couldn’t afford to feed him. He was taken to Bugando Hospital where he was left hungry and barely touched. He never smiled, never cooed. Since being transitioned to the Baby Home he has developed into a sweet star of a toddler. He eats like a baby elephant and can’t help but smile. As part of the Baby Home’s preparations to ensure Lujanga’s transition home is secure, his father is the recipient of a seed capital grant through The Maisha Matters Project that will ensure he and his little boy can make their own way.