Imuma: Faith, Love, Hope

Bagamoyo is a coastal village in Tanzania, approximately 70 kilometers north of Dar Es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania.  The regions of Bagamoyo, Magomeni and Nianjema are home to a growing number of orphans and vulnerable children.  While family members try to nurture these children, financial resources in the homes are often scarce and even the nominal contribution for primary school of 10,000 Tsh (~8 USD) and school supplies and uniforms are prohibitive.  Some of these children are increasingly on the streets where history suggests they can develop detrimental habits that will burden them and the communities for years.  These children sometimes start using drugs or stealing to provide for themselves and their families.  They are sometimes victims of mental, physical or sexual abuse, child labor or HIV/AIDS.  They almost invariably face some combination of poverty, poor nutrition, unemployed parents and a lack of love and guidance.  All are from broken homes.  Often the parents have left Bagamoyo and taken refuge in the urban areas of Tanzania, leaving the children with relatives who don’t always have the financial and emotional resources needed to properly raise a child.

The Members of IMUMA recognized the threat to the children and community posed by the growing number of children in need, and in 2006 banded together to found a center for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).  In March 2008 IMUMA gained status as a Non-Governmental Organization from the Tanzanian government.  IMUMA is short for Imani (faith), Upendo (love) and Matumaini (hope) and exists to help look after the OVCs of the communities of Bagamoyo, Magomeni and Nianjema.  The small campus is located within the Bagamoyo community and most of the children live in very close proximity to IMUMA.  There are currently 48 children aged 5 years to 15 years attending IMUMA.  Because the demand for IMUMA’s program far exceeds the capacity, IMUMA is turning away needy children in the community, usually leaving them to the streets.  The facilities consist of two small rooms for teaching, two rooms for boarding and one small office.  There is no kitchen (the meals are cooked over an open fire in the yard), no covered dining area, no plumbing and limited electricity.