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In the context of widespread poverty and a daily struggle to survive, violence is a fact of life for many in Tanzania. UNICEF has found that almost two-thirds of children experience violence before the age of 18.*  

To escape unbearable situations, thousands of children leave home every year – but often what they find on the streets is far worse. 

Kanoni** was only nine years old when she found herself living on the street following the death of her father. Without access to social services, money or education, as she grew up, her only means of survival became sex work – and the violence and abuse that went with it. 

But then Kanoni met a Railway Children project worker, and her life began to change.

She attended counselling and enrolled in a Railway Children skills training project, known locally as a Youth Association.  

Through the association, she learnt essential life skills like financial management and sexual health; she also received funding to attend a three-month training course in food production, earning her a job as a cook at a local hotel. By joining the association's savings scheme, Kanoni could save some of the money she earnt and had access to a low-interest loan if she needed it.  

Soon, Kanoni was thriving. Her regular salary meant she could rent a safe place to live. She even had enough money left over to pay for her younger brother to go to school. The other girls in the Youth Association were so inspired by her they elected her vice chairperson of the group.  

The best thing about Kanoni’s story though, is that it doesn’t end with Kanoni.

Through their involvement with the Youth Association, young women like her are encouraged to become Youth Facilitators and to pass on what they have learnt to help others change their futures too. So your support goes on changing young lives for years to come. 

Today, Kanoni has big plans for her future – she aims to run her own restaurant one day. And armed with the confidence, skills and self-belief that the Youth Association project has given her, we have no doubt she’ll do it! 


**Names and identities have been changed.