In Tanzania, caning is identified as the leading form of physical violence experienced by schoolchildren. According to a 2020 report, schoolchildren reported feeling unsafe at home, in the school setting, and on their way to and from school. Children named teachers and parents/guardians as the main perpetrators of the various forms of violence that they have experienced.
Our mission at Bright Jamii Initiative is to eliminate all forms of violence in schools by promoting The Virtues Project as an alternative positive disciplinary measure that will strengthen relationships among children, teachers, and parents; and by promoting life skills to build resilience in children.
We have been able to sustain engagement with 5 schools, reaching 250 children through school Bright Clubs, and 4547 children indirectly through Bright Clubs Reach Program where students use the arts to reach out to their fellow students and parents during parent-teacher conferences. We engage and train teachers in the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project.
One of our five schools, Bright Hope School has seen a transformation from our engagement, now declares themselves to be a Virtues Project school, and invites Bright Jamiii Initiative to keep strengthening the capacity of their teachers and help them establish a system that will eliminate all forms of violence in their school.
Children are using the strategies of The Virtues Project in their daily interactions with family, friends, and other people they meet on the street. They have reduced their risk of being exposed to violence. Here are some of their stories about using the strategies of The Virtues Project in their daily encounters:
SALHA’S STORY ON OBEDIENCE AND RESPECT
It was Saturday, my mother told me to rush to the market and buy tomatoes, at that moment I had other work to do so I decided to ask my young sister to go to the market instead. My mother told my young sister not to go and I should go by myself at the market, then my young sister refused to go to the market as my mother told her. After that we both refused to go to the market, my mother said that if I did not go then I would not have food for that day and I decided to accept it all. Later I took the money and rushed to the market and bought all the food items that mother asked for (tomatoes, onions and carrots). Later at night, I remembered about the virtue of obedience and respect and I knew that I made a mistake. I started to tell my mother, “Mom! Mom! I'm sorry!” my mother replied, “how can I forgive you while you made me angry”. Then I started to kneel down before my mother and saying, “mom! we are thought to forgive others when they make us angry Am sorry, I will not do it again”. My mother replied, “I forgive you”. Since that day I started to be a good listener, I respect elders and youngsters.
JOCTAN’S STORY ON PEACE AND HAPPINESS
A good thing I did in my home land, I told kids who were fighting each other to stop fighting, if they fight, they will hurt themselves and cause of conflict among their parents, because they will argue with each other like, “why did your child beat my child” therefore they must continue to play with peace and happiness.
NURU’S STORY ON FORGIVENESS, COURAGE, AND MERCY
One day when I was walking around, accidentally I pushed a young lady, I immediately remembered to ask for forgiveness, so I asked her to forgive me. But she told me, “What will ‘sorry’ help?” I was quiet, she started to insult me and claimed that she would beat me. I told her that I am sorry, she asked me, “didn’t you see me?” I replied, “yes I did not see you”, she asked, “you can’t, see?” I replied “I can see '' she asked, “then why did you push me?”, “then let me teach you discipline”. She grabbed a stick, and I remembered we learned to be courageous to protect ourselves from violence and so I cried loud so people can hear, I said “am sorry sister, I did not intend to push you. Please do not punish me”. she replied “why? you are a kid I am going to beat you”. I was very scared. Suddenly a man passing heard me and asked what happened there. I told him everything, then the man told that young lady, “why don't you have mercy for the kid?”, forgive her, it was accidentally”. The young lady forgave me and walked away. I thanked that man for his mercy.
PRISCA’S STORY ON KINDNESS AND HELPFULNESS
At school always my friend Christina has not been given pocket money for daily school using, also she always does not have breakfast in the morning because her mother does not love her and other students at school humiliates her also there is no one to give her hope. I remembered being kind to others and I helped her by giving her 500 because I had been given 1500. Thank you, this is my story.
MWANTIME’S STORY ON LOVE, KINDNESS AND FORGIVENESS
One day we were playing at the school compound, suddenly a teacher called us and said, “you kids, come” we went and a teacher told us to sweep the office, immediately Fidensia started to have stomach ache she said, “Mwantime, escort me to the toilet”. When we were there, we found no water, I tried virtues of love and kindness and I took my bottle with water and give it to her.
Another day, my friend and I had a fight and we all did not talk to each other. One day I was thinking and went to ask for forgiveness even though she was the one who started a fight. So, I asked her a forgiveness and she forgive me. I told her “Even if someone wronged you, you just ask for forgiveness you should not fight”, she understood. Till today when she had a fight with anybody, she goes ask for forgiveness.THIS STORY WRITTEN BY YOUR BELOVED ONE MWANTIME, I LOVE BRIGHT JAMII
ZAINISHA’S STORIES ON GENEROUSITY, MERCY AND HELPFULNESS
There is a woman in our street, who always does not give her child food. But I saw the child and decided to be generous and took the food from our home and gave it to that child.
Another story is, it was Sunday when I was on the journey, I saw a kid wandering around but I had mercy for the kid. I took all of my money and gave it to the kid so the kid can use it for food.
The other day It was Tuesday, when I was on my way out of school, I saw a child crying and told me that he owed money to her friend because he lost it. I helped that child with some money.
Also, near home, there is a child who does not being loved by her mother but I saw that the child had being given hard works by her mother, the child was doing laundry, cook, wash dishes, clean the whole house, the child does not even got time to play, the child does not get time to for studying. I was feeling mercy for her, I helped her with other home chores and I was cooking food for her till the situation became better for her to have time to study for some time. Thanks to those who read this story.
Our Way Forward in 2022:
It is inspiring to see how teachers and students respond to the program and the transformation they experience. In promoting comprehensive child protection to ensure children are safe, this year (2022), we are going to strengthen parenting clubs to empower and support them to use the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project in their parenting practices as part of the positive parenting practice.
We are aiming at initiating 5 parenting clubs, engaging parents of the schools we work with, and with collaboration from VPIA and support from GlobalGiving, we remain optimistic to raise at least $5,000 this year to be able to do that. We thank you all for your ongoing emotional and financial support. You make our work possible.