At the Tanzanian Children’s Fund, there are very few titles more important than “mama.” After all that is the center of our mission in its most simplistic form—to create a permanent home for children with plenty of motherly love to go around.
At the Rift Valley Children’s Village, our 94 kids not only have Mama India to love them, but a whole team of mamas to ensure they receive everything they need! TCF employs over 100 local Tanzanians, who each play a role in ensuring that our family and community remain at its very best. However, it’s our 26 House Mamas who impact our children’s lives the most.
Each of our 8 children’s houses has two House Mamas and one day Mama who together act as the heads of the home in the traditional sense. They cook, clean, care for, and love every last child in their care. The Mamas are who wake them up in the morning and tuck them in at night. They are there for every birthday, to celebrate every A in school, and to help nurse every scrapped knee. Our Mamas provide a stable, consistent support system for our kids, as well as helping ensure that they are continuously exposed to Swahili and Tanzanian culture. Our Mamas are essential in helping us raise and nurture our children, enriching both their present and future.
Not only does being a Mama at RVCV provide these women with a source of consistent income, but the intrinsic rewards are equally as important to them, and you can feel it in the way they care for the children. When our youngest boy Raif moved from Manyara house to Serengeti house, you could see how incredibly hard it was for Mama Jangala to let him go even though he was only moving 30 feet away! When asked what her favorite part of her job was, Mama Sophia replied, the “watotos. Ninawapenda sana”, which translates to ‘the children. I love them very much’. That love is more than reciprocated by the kids of RVCV.
One of our favorite traditions at RVCV is our Mamas’ Appreciation Party, a festive event hosted every year by our 8-time return volunteer, Sue Scott. There’s music and dancing and eating and most of all, lots of love for our Mamas!