The day I returned from my visit of Zanzibar (Tanzania/East Africa) in 2015, I felt like a complete different person. Having experienced one of the most indigent countries in the world affected me in a special way. Please kindly take some time and let me share my impressions with you.
Ally, the young man in the red shirt, lives together with his wife and daughter in a small cottage in Matemwe, a poor, little village in the northern part of Zanzibar. The air is dry and it feels extremely hot in the small cottage, which is simply built of mud and some rocks. Nothing but the tiny sleeping room is covered with a corrugated iron roof. The kitchen only consists of some plastic buckets and a small fireplace for the daily cooking. No floors, no electricity, no water and only a single plank bed for the woman and her little daughter. As a European I feel depressed to see the living conditions of this little family. I turn quite walking through the small “house”.
Ally, his wife and me preparing lunch.
Ally had taken me around the whole day talking about his land and the people of Zanzibar. He also told me about his future wish to become a doctor or teacher in order to help and take care of the people living in his village. Only 40% of the population have access to medical treatments. From Ally’s village it takes hours to reach the next doctor. There is no medical help in any case of emergency.
Despite the poverty they live in, Ally and his wife seem to be happy and satisfied. They have a smile for everyone, no matter if visitor or local. Ally tries to collect some money by taking tourists like me around, showing them the island of Zanzibar. He saves at least some of his earnings to, maybe one day, be able to afford the drive to the University of Dar Es Salam, on the mainland of Tanzania. He and his wife are preparing some fresh caught fish for me, together with some rice and a nice tomato sauce followed by some local fruits.
We are sitting on the floor talking and eating and in this moment I take the decision to support this great man. It won’t cost me much but can change his whole life, as well as the lives of this lovely family and the people of Matemwe.
The ”kitchen”, only equipped with some pots and buckets filled with rice and water. Often it takes a long walk of several kilometres to get to the next well where people can scoop the drinking water.
Only 40% of the population have access to medical treatments. Even small injuries can lead to heavy diseases like toxaemia and infections. Therefore the people are direly in need of bandages and first aid boxes.
Daily life at Matemwe. Mothers gather in the middle of the village to eat together with their children. Most fathers go out for fishing every day on very little wooden boats.
The head of the village showed me around - the integrated school, sleeping rooms, soccer field and the playground and many more.
On my last day on the island I decide to visit the SOS Children’s Village, so I take a taxi to Zanzibar City. On our way we pass several miserable suburbs and roads until we finally stop in front of a tall gate, the entrance to the SOS Children’s Village. As this is an unexpected visit, the moment I get off the car a man walks towards me, asking me who I am and why I wish to enter. I explain him how much I have always appreciated the work and idea of the SOS Children’s Villages and that I am very interested and curious to learn more about what they do to help children around the world and especially here in Zanzibar. And again, with a big smile he welcomes me warmly as a guest.
After a short conversation with the “father” and the “mother”, I am taken around by the leader of the village. I learn how the children live, study and play and what kind of incident in life finally brought them to the village. The leader introduces me to one of the “aunts”, who is currently taking care of seven children. She spends 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year with these children - cooking, doing the laundry, helping with homework and taking care of them, just like a mother would do in normal life. She completely gives herself to the little ones, to help them to become a good person and to at least give them a chance to experience a joyful future and to find their place in society one day. Most of the children are orphans. Some were forced to leave their families because of illness or hopeless living conditions and malnutrition.
A little two year old girl is watching me at some distance. The second I recognize her, she shyly lifts her hand and waves at me. I wave back and I can feel how this simple gesture affects my heart. She gives me a big charming smile. I smile back and this is the moment where I make the decision to support these adorable children, amazing adults and this great institution.
See how the kids at SOS Children’s Village live, play and study. They can benefit from the best possible support to receive at least the basics of a normal childhood, which is often more than their own families were able to give them at home. To me it was really impressive seeing the remarkable efforts of the “mothers” and “aunts”, who simply work to give children the opportunity to experience happiness and success in the future. Without these amazing people most of the children would have had no chance to live a life of joy and satisfaction.
Now it’s time to help. Let’s get started. Please find below the ideas I have been working on within the last weeks. I have already received some support and several commodity contributions for the following projects.
The kids love football. So I contacted several major football teams in Germany and Austria. Some of them, just like Borussia Dortmund and RedBull Salzburg, have already sent sets of football jerseys, which I am going to bring to Zanzibar personally next week.
Together with the management of the » Hotel Ndame Beach Lodge in Page we are planning to organize I little party on 23rd June at the SOS Children’s Village. On this evening we wish to celebrate the “mothers” and “aunts” at the village to thank them for their admirable work.
Only 40% of the population have access to medical treatments. Even small injuries can lead to heavy diseases like toxaemia and infections. Once again I will buy a number of first aid boxes and commit them to the people of the local villages.
His dream is to become a doctor or teacher. To start with the studies at home he is in need of a computer. I am planning to buy a notebook as well the tickets for the bus and ferry, he will need to get to the university of Dar Es Salam. Ally is a friendly and loyal person with great aims and deserves to receive the support to fulfil his dreams.
As you can see, there is lot’s to do. Luckily I have already received some commodity contributions and donations. The next big step is to purchases the things needed in everyday life. I will collect them for the SOS Children’s Village on the one hand and for the families in the local village of Matemwe.
There is a long list - Rice steamer, pots, cooking equipment, mattresses, toys, nappies, shoes, school bags, pencils and many more things. Due to the very high costs for transportation to Africa, I cannot buy all these things in Germany. Besides, most of the goods and products are quite cheaper in Africa than over here. With your support I will therefore buy everything on site in Zanzibar.
My trip starts on the 20th June and I am already very excited. The children and I are glad and grateful for any kind of donation. I would highly appreciate your support. Since I will bear all costs for administration and travel by myself, you can be sure that 100% of all the donations will go directly to the families, children, as well as the mothers and aunts at the SOS Children’s Village. I can guarantee that only the people in need will benefit from what I do.
In the name of the people of Zanzibar I would like to thank you very much for helping me to help them. Here you will find more information.
I already found some partners, who are sponsoring me by sending commodity contributions or granting discounts. Thank you very much.
I would particularly like to thank Katja Nessler and Philip Wolfahrt for a great personal support of this project. Thank you very much. Without you I would have not been able to realize all this.