Ester was born in 2002, the youngest of three siblings. When she was only three, her mother passed away from heart failure. Her father, who is a day laborer on a local coffee plantation, struggled to work and care for his three small children, so in 2009 we enrolled Ester in our Kids Living with Relatives program.
When Ester first came to us she was timid and reserved. However, she quickly integrated into our TCF family, and this sense of belonging and security helped her grow into a confident and poised young woman, who is a role model for her peers. Four years ago Ester was selected to join our Girls Club, which further nurtured her leadership and public speaking skills. So it came as no surprise to us when Ester became class valedictorian and was chosen by her peers to deliver a speech at graduation.
As she stood in front of an audience of more than 700 students and adults, her voice was strong and clear as she implored parents and community leaders to take action when children are being abused. Child abuse is a serious issue in the region, and it is rarely addressed in public. Considering it is unusual in Tanzania for girls to even speak up for themselves, Ester’s courageous advocacy for other children was a brave and groundbreaking act.
When Ester spoke out that day, she changed what was possible for young women in our community. Her speech also prompted renewed commitment and support for TCF’s Malengo Mamas program (a group of community members dedicated to taking action against child abuse).
Ester’s incredible personal growth and courage inspires us, and we hope it inspires you too. Your gift to the Tanzanian Children’s Fund will provide the opportunity for even more children to reach their full potential and become the next leaders of change in Tanzania