After the third minute of a fascinated Kizzie watching me work on my laptop in the office at the Rift Valley Children’s Village, I told her it was time for her to go back to playtime. When asked why, I reasoned with her by saying, “because how lucky is it that you get to play?!”
In that moment, I meant that Kizzie was lucky to still be six and not yet have the many responsibilities that accompany adulthood. But I soon realized that my reasoning spoke to something much deeper.
The truth is that Kizzie is lucky to be able to play because it means that she has a childhood to enjoy.
Too often children in the Oldeani region of Tanzania don’t get to be kids. The outcomes of extreme, generational poverty force them to work long hours on top of their schooling, become the primary caretakers of their younger siblings, or seek employment to help their family make ends meet.
As I watched Kizzie return to the playground and get lost in a game of tag, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief knowing that Kizzie wasn’t forced to grow up too soon. She will grow up in a home where playtime matters, where creativity is encouraged, and laughter is frequent.
When Kizzie joined our forever family, she was given a second chance at childhood. And from my time at the children’s village, I have learned that there is nothing more important than letting kids be kids.
Cheers to childhood,
Director of Development and Communications