Kinyerezi II – Upskilling, an opportunity taken
16th August 2017
On the Day of the African Child, CSI Energy Group – through its charitable Foundation – donated 100 solar kits to The Baobab Home in Bagamoyo. This is the story of the center, its mission, and the children whose evenings have been lit up.
“Sustainability is more than a buzz word for us,” Terri Place states firmly, “it’s at the very core of how we operate. The Baobab Home is fuelled entirely by solar power, we cook with biogas and we grow our own organic vegetables. Our community was set up deliberately this way, with a commitment to self-sufficiency and low-impact living, and we teach these principles to all who pass through here.”
Terri founded the Baobab Home – set on 12 acres of breezy farmland – in 2004 with her Tanzanian husband, Caito Mwandu, and over the past 13 years the home and its helpers have supported hundreds of vulnerable children, including through their school, their orphanage, and their breakfast club.
“Many of the children who attend programmes here were born with HIV or have lost their parents to AIDS,” Terri continues. “Others come from desperately poor homes where HIV and AIDS have destroyed the traditional family structure, forcing children to look after sick parents, or to work rather than attend school.
The problems we see here are not uniform and neither are the solutions, and we try to tailor a holistic plan of care for each child, one that takes into account their diverse needs. For some this means support with school; for others support with food and healthcare. Now, with CSI’s help, we have expanded our reach to change children’s lives and promote sustainable living in the wider community.”
Caito Mwandu explains: “A lot of the children we care for here return back to their communities in the evening, and many of those who lives in homes without electricity struggle to keep on top of their school work. Between the end of school and sunset the children are often busy with work or domestic chores, and so when those are finished and it is dark, they can only study by kerosene lamp or candlelight.
When we talked to CSI about these issues they offered to donate 100 solar kits to The Baobab Home, so that we could distribute them to the households that most needed them. We did that just a few months ago and already the lights are having a profound effect.”
Solar kits and street lights distributed to the Baobab Home and its children. CSI has long supported sustainable initiatives that use Tanzania’s abundant sunlight to create power for its people.
Local mother and rice farmer Zawadi Sultani Shabani agrees: “Before we had the lights, our children would get sick because of the smoke from the burning kerosene. But with thes new solar lights the children are not falling ill. The children are also able to study at night and we are saving 18,000 shillings a month because we no longer need to pay for kerosene or to charge our phones.”
“The light works very well,”14-year old Maimuna Rashidi adds. “It saves my parents a lot of money and also helps my sister and I study and read books at night.”
“At the very heart of the Baobab Home is an emphasis on earth-friendly sustainable living,” CSI’s Annette Kanora comments, “and this initiative has helped spread that principle – practically and demonstrably – into the wider Bagamoyo community.”
The Baobab Home runs 4 programmes from its Bagamoyo farm:
To read more about the Baobab Home including how to donate or volunteer, please see www.tzkids.org.
85% of the children that attend the Steven Tito Academy are from very poor families or live far from a government school. The majority of children are sponsored by international donors, with whom they exchange regular letters about their lives and progress.