When Tanzanian Children’s Fund was founded 16 years ago, the children living at Rift Valley Children’s Village were the center of our universe. Through our partnership with Gyetighi Primary School, we recognized the importance of providing young children and future leaders with a quality education. In the process, we discovered that many members of our community had only achieved a primary school level of education. TCF became determined to create economic opportunities that would help all residents of the Oldeani Ward break the cycle of poverty.
This month, our recreation hall overflowed with laughter and discussion as we celebrated 11 years of opportunity. Each year, Rift Valley Children’s Village hosts a Microfinance Day to recognize the hard work and success of clients receiving loans from our program. Program participants, plantation owners, and government officials came together to share and learn about new industries and income methods. Since we hosted the first Microfinance Day in 2012, participation has grown tremendously. Individuals eagerly attend the event to learn more about the program and empower others within their community.
A program that started with 50 clients has grown into a group of 720 devoted entrepreneurs, who are now able to support over 3,000 dependents within their communities. TCF is happy to report that over 69% of our clients are female. We believe strongly in the importance of empowering women, as they tend to prioritize their family’s needs, their kids’ education, and their family’s overall well-being.
At the end of this year’s Microfinance Day celebration, our co-founders Peter Mmassy and India Howell thanked everyone for having the courage to take a risk and pursue their dream. With over 20% of our clients now providing employment to other members of the community, we are seeing a momentous wave of change spreading across the Oldeani Ward.