Before the change of the millennium, the undersigned, who had just retired from a post as Senior Lecturer at The University of Dar es Salaam, realised with growing horror how very many children, mostly orphans, were in reality forgotten by society.
After a lot of soul-searching, I realized that most existing projects fell into two main groups:

  • Glamorous projects, giving the children a life, which measured by African standards, is a life in luxury, a lifestyle the children will have difficulties to forget when later faced with the harsh realities.
    In my opinion the conditions in the SOS-villages is an example of this mistake.

Unfortunately, I have seen and being told of gross misuse of the funds given to the SOS Villages.

  • The other extreme, where the children were ‘just kept alive’ through some basic foodstuffs as a hand-out now and then.

Here, in my opinion, there is too much emphasis on “just save the physical life” instead of giving a meningsfull future.
Of course the best alternative will always be family care – Assuming that the child is not neglected being ‘not real member of the real family’.
One of my ex-students, he has two wives, 5 children of his own and 7 more, who are treated as his own.
He could afford it and, contrary to so many others, he has a good humanistic heard.
The basic concept of project proposed by me is “we must be realistic” using lowest costs, but still provide a dissent living using African lifestyle and traditions.
Especially not annihilating the children from their roots and not making it too difficult to return to “a normal life”.

It got a warm welcome, as long as it could be limited to kind words.
But for several reasons, it never got other support.
Finally it was abandoned, partly because I had left Tanzania and cumminication became more and more difficult.

Originally, the description of the project was available on the internet as a “homepage”, which was “taken down” for lack of interest.

The following is a modified summary of these writings and it is my naïve hope, that it can be useful, giving inspirations to others, who may start a similar project. Under more realistic conditions.

Thorkil Søe

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