Earlier this month, construction began on our first Village for Children in Africa! The Sisters of Mary were invited to expand their program to Tanzania in the fall of 2017 by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo. He offered the sisters 40 acres of land in his archdiocese in Dar es Salaam.
There are six Sisters of Mary currently living in Tanzania. They’ve spent the past year working to obtain the necessary registrations and building permits, familiarizing themselves with the Tanzanian education system and the problems facing local communities, beginning recruiting girls who will join the program, and learning Swahili. In November, they opened a training center for 20 young women from poor families to teach them dressmaking and other skills.
After blessing the land on February 6, construction began on a pilot school building which will accommodate 150 girls. This will include three dormitories, three classrooms, a chapel, kitchen, laundry facilities, multipurpose hall, tailoring workshop, computer room, laboratory, and small library. This building is scheduled to be completed by the end of April, at which time the sisters will begin classes for 150 eighth grade girls.
Following the pilot school, we will build a seven-story building with additional dorms, classrooms, and other facilities, as well as a separate workshop building and a gymnasium.
Our programs in Asia and Central and South American have proven to effectively empower children and their families to break free from the cycle of poverty. We are so grateful for the opportunity to begin offering this same chance to children living in extreme poverty in Africa.
We look forward to sharing additional updates with you about our new program in Tanzania and ask that you keep this new project, all the Sisters of Mary, and the children in our care in your thoughts and prayers.