International Childcare Trust established a partnership with Shalom Centre in March 2011. Shalom is a local NGO, established in 2005, which provides support to street children in Arusha, northern Tanzania. As well as providing services from its main centre and meeting the basic need of orphans and street children in the Arusha area, Shalom has developed an extensive outreach programme which focuses on reintegrating these children back into society. Shalom supports children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to reach their full potential. One such child is Sophia who has recently received a Diana Award after being nominated by Shalom.
Sophia is from Arusha and comes from a poor background. Having spent two years living on the streets, she met a social worker from Shalom. After meeting with the social worker three times, Sophia and her two siblings were helped to get off the streets and back into school. Sophia was enrolled in Lesiraa Primary School where she completed her primary education in September 2011 and was then selected to join secondary school in January 2012.
The Diana Awards were founded in 1999 by the UK Government to act as a lasting legacy to Princess Diana’s belief in the power of young people to change the world. The awards encourage their exceptional young recipients to continue building a better society for all.
Sophia has been awarded a Diana Award for her contribution to her community and the determination she demonstrated in the face of adversity when attempting to secure remedial classes for herself and her classmates, and an electrical generator for Shalom. Sophia is assertive, persuasive and courageous. She seeks to understand why some things are not progressing in a positive manner and actively looks for solutions to these issues.
Having broached the subject with her peers, Sophia approached the teachers at her primary school with a request for remedial classes to help those students who were struggling. She was sent away with the message that the school could not afford to do this as it would mean providing an additional meal to all of the students and staff involved in the classes. Sophia was not deterred by this news, and instead, having spoken to parents, went back to the teachers with news that parents had agreed to pay for the extra meal. Remedial classes were established and examination pass rates at the school consequently increased from 34% in 2010 to 81% in 2011. The Ward Educational Officer was so impressed upon his visit to the school that he suggested to all of the schools within his ward that they establish a similar remedial class system to that of Lesiraa Primary School.
Not only did Sophia succeed in establishing a system of food and remedial classes at her primary school, she also suggested to Shalom that they install an electrical generator at the Centre to enable the resident children to complete their homework, in the light, at night. Unfortunately Shalom did not have the funds to install such a generator, but again Sophia was not deterred. She demonstrated her determination by working with Shalom to raise funds for an electrical generator by visiting churches in the area with the choir which she had founded at Shalom. Sophia was successful in raising the funds needed to purchase the electrical generator.
Sophia is a role model and inspiration to her peers, inspiring them to lead positive lives. Her peers admire and learn from her, and the way in which she continually acts in the best interests of the community and her classmates.
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