A street child who still see a bright future in him

Amos was a child living in the street in Iringa town, Tanzania and had a tough life. One day he met a social worker from the Upendo center who convinced him to move there and get shelter, food and education. Now he has moved home to his grandmother and studies hard.

Each street child that you will find in the street today has her/his history that caused him/her to migrate to the street. Some it is because of been neglected or abused, some it is because of the failure of extended families to offer support or where they find that home is worse than the street. But some it is because of poverty like what happened to Amos Msigwa a 17 years youth who grew up as street children in Iringa town.

- After a very long stay in the street I met some staffs from Upendo rescue centre and they said to me that at the centre they provide shelter, food and education. I greed to follow them; since then I have never thought of going back to the street. I want to study hard so that I can help my grand mother to take care of my young brothers and sisters. Despite of the hardship I have gone through I still believe I have the chance to have a bright future Amos says.

Amos was born in 1995 and raised in a family of three children Amos being the first born. Amos had lots of vision of whom he would like to be when he grew up. In 2005 Amos’ father died. After the death of his father Amos’s vision turned to nightmare as his mother abandoned them and went to leave outside Iringa town. Amos and his two young brothers had to stay with their grand mother who was already taking care of six grand children. Life at his grand mother Paulina Sanga (60 years old) was and is still hard as Paulina is now taking care of 9 grand children and her income depends on selling alcohol which per day she can only make a profit of 2,000 Tshs.

Like other children who move from home because of poverty or failure of extended family to provide support; in 2006 Amos decided to run from home and start new challenging life as a street child. In the street he joined other street children begging around Iringa town, asking for left over outside hotels, in market and else where just to get their bread for a day survival. At night he slept along the road with nothing to cover his body from heavy cold. At home Paulina Sanga tried to look for Amos but he could not find him.

In July 2011, Amos met with a social worker from Upendo rescue centre run by Iringa Development of Youth and Disabled Children Care, IDYDC, with Varldens Barn fund. After a very long conversation with the social worker Amos agreed to leave from street. At Upendo centre Amos met other street children and joined a special class before sent to ordinary primary schools to continue with primary education. In September 2011 Amos set for his standard seven final examinations where he did well and he was selected to join form one at Kleruu Secondary School in Iringa town. While at the centre efforts were made by the social workers to get contact with Amos family for reunification purposes. In February 2012 Amos was reunified with his grand mother where he now stays with the other grand children of Paulina Sanga. Amos is now working hard in his studies so that he could fulfil his dreams after being a street child for 6 years. Amos is still receiving support from IDYDC for his school requirements as his grand mother is unable to support him due to her low income she makes out of selling alcohol.

Written by Helena Chikomo, Regional Office East Africa
Photo: Gunnar Kraft, Regional Office East Africa