In the second part of our blog from Kissa Mwangosi, manager of our children’s centre in Tanzania, we hear more about what led her to her current role and the huge challenges, and rewards, it brings.
'Working with vulnerable children has been my dream since l was in school. The first time I visited a shelter for children from desperate families I was shocked by how many there were in a small space. Looking at their faces I could see they had a lot to say, a lot of stories to tell, but no-one they felt they could talk to. From that day I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to children.
Breaking the cycle of violence
'Now I can invest my time, knowledge and energy on guiding human beings, children and their families, and helping them change their behaviours, attitudes and develop new understanding. If they can find hope, a sense of future and the ability to live a happy life then I know they can break the circle of violence and difficulty for future generations and that is what makes me most proud.
'This is what we have achieved with Monica, a mother of seven children we have been working with. We met her after finding her daughter on the streets and it has been a long journey to help her create a happy, stable environment for the family. She had such a difficult childhood herself that she had no idea how to love and care for her children but we’ve helped her develop a positive relationship with them which keeps the whole family so much safer as they are more likely to stay together.
The challenging part of the work…
'But there can be some extremely hard parts of the job too. Sometimes we come across a child on the streets who is in grave danger. They are living a life full of risk – being exploited or abused and facing violence – and we explain what we can offer them but they won’t accept our help. I know we have to accept their decisions and give them time but that is the thing I find hardest. Particularly when they are in a high-risk situation I struggle to find peace and can’t relax until we make them safe.
'However, by taking this approach I know we have more impact in the long run – if they come to us having decided for themselves that they are ready to make changes, the outcome is likely to be the most successful it can be.'