In September 2017, His Eminence Cardinal Polycarp Pengo invited the Sisters of Mary to establish a Children's Village in his archdiocese in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Once the Sisters of Mary are legally established in the country, they will begin construction on a 62 acre plot in Kisarawi District, about 19 miles from Dar es Salaam. The land is currently owned by the archdiocese, who will transfer it to the Sisters.
The Sisters are temporarily staying in an old parish priest house, 30 minutes from the land. They have been traveling to different institutions to learn about the Tanzanian education system and technical training, as well as to families to learn what challenges impoverished communities are facing. The Sisters setting up the programs are Sister Acela, Sister Theresa, Sister Maureen and Sister Elena; they are busy each day organizing the project, meeting potential contractors and of course studying Swahili! The Sisters have also received a blessing from Pope Francis to begin their new mission in Tanzania.
Child malnutrition accounts for over a third of under-five deaths in Tanzania and substantial numbers of children are living in desperate conditions. Many children drop out of school and, without sufficient skills, have few options for work. So many young children are living at risk, malnourished, vulnerable and in need of our help. The Sisters have seen many children begging on the streets or selling whatever they have scavenged. They feel humbled to meet these children and learn about the terrible challenges faced by each of them. Once the construction work is complete and the new program is set up, the Sisters of Mary will be able to provide a place of safety and the chance of an education for these children so that they are not forced into a life of poverty.
The future site of a Children's Village!
The Sisters visiting the land offered by the archdiocese.