Friday, September 6, 2013

Rehema Mgimwa

Rehema Mgimwa is a very important member of the NGO family. She came to us in 2011 asking for work at the Children’s Village as she had a certificate for child-care from a college in Tanga (in the far away coastal region of Tanzania). She was confident, well-dressed, and management was only slightly worried about how long she would last in the remote environs of Igoda village, where amenities such as electricity, running water, and reliable phone network were not available. She was born and raised in another part of Mufindi district, so things wouldn’t be terribly different, but there is a lot to get used to living in this rural area.
At fist she worked as a House Mother helper at Igoda Children’s Village. The Children’s Village is not built like a compound or one big infrastructure, rather it is built in a manner meant to have the feel of a neighborhood in the village. Each of the six separate homes has a live-in full-time Mother, or guardian who cares for up to 12 children in one house. Each house then has a helper who generally lives nearby in the village and comes each day to help with the responsibilities. Rehema was started as a house-mother helper that rotated between all houses when the regular house helper was taking her day off. She quickly gained the trust of the guardians, and became a full-time helper at one particular house after only a few months. Then, in October of the same year as house number 2 was completely constructed and ready to be opened, Rehema became the head house-mother of the new house.
In June the following year, our first NGO committee was formed, and Rehema was an integral part of the group. When a formalized system of committees and departments was formed at the start of this year, Rehema was named as a member of the Big Committee (or Kamati Kuu) and she is now the strong leader at the Igoda Children’s Village. She has shown great poise and determination taking on several cases at the district level regarding child abuse and neglect, and she has worked with the administrative committee and other leaders in the NGO to make an itemized budget on food and household items at the Children’s Village.

This week she organized a difficult logistical exercise arranging a new income generating scheme the NGO should benefit from later next year. We have purchased food supplies to last well into the following year, and the plan is to sell the items to stores or customers during off season at a reasonable price- but higher than point of purchase for the NGO. The extra food supply will be safely stored in the containers located at the Children’s Village. Rehema organized transport of these goods to arrive in the morning of the 28th, then she got a lift back to town with the lori, to travel on to a trading town named Makambako. Once there, she purchased items such as shoes and jackets in bulk to be sold at a nearby church seminar in Igoda village. The same day, she returned on the same truck in the evening which was carrying building supplies for our various building projects.
We continue to look at various ways of creating more self-sustainability with the NGO through various income generating projects and ideas. Rehema has brought several ideas forward, and her follow-through has been tremendous. Apart from that she is a fantastic Mother-figure to the young children that live at her home at the Children’s Village. We are so pleased to be working with amazing women such as Rehema!

Rehema with storekeeper/computer teacher Ezra Mhegele
Closing Note: Our organization, and in particular the ‘Kamati Kuu,’ would love to hear any and all ideas on income generation from anyone with an opinion! We welcome anyone to share ideas with us, on how the organization may become an even more sustainable endeavor.

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