Skip to Main Content

Empowering the next generation

Through our Youth Associations, young people in Tanzania are leaving the streets behind and building brighter futures, thanks to the opportunities that new-found skills bring. Dionis Shimbi, Railway Children Africa’s Program Development Manager, tells us more...

Publish date:

Dionis Shimbi


Transforming lives in East Africa

For many of the children we work with in Tanzania, an essential part of their journey off the streets is being reunified with their families or placed in a nurturing, family-based environment.
But this isn’t always possible with young people. And that’s where our Youth Associations come in.
Our Youth Associations bring together young people, aged 15-24, to learn new skills and empower each other. Together, members choose a trade such as mechanics, tailoring or catering which, when learnt, can lead to apprenticeships or the chance to set up their own business. Young people can then start building a stable income and supporting themselves in the long term.

During 2023, we set up a total of 12 Youth Associations with a total of 240 members. That’s a lot of young lives transformed!

Part of this transformation is the life skills members build up around punctuality, communication and behaviour – all essential components for success.

Through taking part in sports and recreational activities, as well as a camping trip, team members also quickly build trust and cooperation, enabling them to support each other through the programme.

We celebrate young people becoming self-sufficient and leaving the Youth Association with a graduation ceremony. Independence and self-reliance are the indicators that a Youth Association has done its job.

Still, many young people who have gone through the programme stay in touch and look for ways to give back.

Some get involved in outreach to other children and young people still living and working on the streets. Others may support Youth Associations that are just starting up.

In this way, the impact of the model – and the impact of your support – goes on long after a Youth Association has ended.

£49 could pay for the tools a young person needs to complete their vocational training, enabling them to build a better future for themselves.