Joyce is a 65-year-old lady who lives in Mwanza with her husband and is known locally as Bibi Joyce, meaning Granny Joyce. This title is not just because of her own extensive family – she has nine children with her husband – but also because of the care and affection she offers to other children.

Together with her husband the pair were only too happy to put themselves forward as foster parents to care for vulnerable children found on the streets.

During her life Joyce has suffered violence and abuse herself in the past, so she understands a lot of what the children we meet on the streets have often experienced. She said: “The abuse I suffered affected me psychologically and emotionally.” While dealing with her own trauma, Joyce has been involved with organisations that champion the rights of women and children and has had awards for her work.

I’m very passionate about my work as a foster parent and I’d like to ask my fellow community members to sign up for the program too as we do not always have enough room to accommodate the children who need somewhere to stay.

There is no salary or incentive to join the scheme but Joyce and her husband are happy to help these children who many potential foster parents are reluctant to care for. They have attended extra training organised with Railway Children Africa and have set aside two bedrooms within their small home to allow up to six children to stay at any one time. So far Joyce and her husband have cared for 12 children referred to them by Railway Children Africa while we worked to reintegrate them with their families.

It’s so rewarding to be able to help put a smile on the faces of these children and bring hope to one of the most vulnerable and hopeless sections of our community.