Help the Children of Tanzania - Shirati Infrastructure Project


Since 2006 the “Help the Children of Tanzania Fund” has been an on-going fundraising endeavor born out of the Shirati Infrastructure Missions. The fund is used to improve living conditions, improve education for children and young adults, to provide some health care for poor and disadvantaged families and to create and support Women’s Initiative Groups. This past year has as always been incredibly busy and productive for the Shirati Infrastructure Mission and the Help the Children of Tanzania Fund activities.

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Women’s Initiative Groups

We have helped to create and also support existing Women’s Initiative Groups, helping them set up a business to create income that can be used to set up micro loans for the women to help them become more independent and support their families.

Last year we bought a grinding machine for a women’s group.  The women contributed by building the structure to house the machine. Women in that village were walking up to 10 km to grind their maize and now they have a grinding machine in their own village. Therefore it not only provides a lucrative income for the Women’s Initiative group to set up micro loans but also provides a much-needed service to the community. It has become a very successful project.

We bought and vaccinated about 40 chickens for 2 Women’s groups and a very poor family. Again they contributed to the project by building the shelters and enclosures for the chickens. This project allows them to sell the eggs to provide an income.

We bought 3 sewing machines for 3 women’s groups and our volunteers taught them how to make various kinds of bags to sell at the market to again provide an income. Our volunteers were blessed by their interaction with these local women.

This year we plan to continue working with Women’s Initiative Groups and support them with projects they choose.


$17,340 raised so far


Improving Education: 

Over the years, we have built 5 kitchens at 5 Secondary Schools to start feeding programs, a few sponsored by the Pembroke Kiwanis Club. We now have 5 school kitchens feeding porridge or other food mid-morning to over 2,500 students who would otherwise have no breakfast or lunch. The principals tell me the attendance is up and grades have improved since the students now have some food. 
We continue to pay school fees for many School of Nursing students. They are able to do their practical work at Shirati Hospital where we do much Infrastructure work. After they graduate, they are placed in a hospital or clinic by the government and are then able to support themselves and often their families, so sponsorship is incredibly worthwhile and gives them a chance at a better future.

Over the years, we have also sponsored many Secondary School students, a few technical school students and a few elementary students including paying boarding school fees for a disabled boy.
School supplies and hundreds of school uniforms have been bought for children who were home from school because their families, often grandmothers couldn’t afford to buy the uniforms which are required to attend school in Tanzania. 

Improving living conditions: With local teams, we have visited over 20 villages, supporting hundreds of clients and their families. One year we shipped a Harvestore Silo to the hospital to be built as a water tank and had room to also take donations from other organizations to send to Shirati. From the shipment we were able to give our clients the following items donated by Sew on Fire in Burlington and by friends; 700 blankets, 300 sheets, 350 health/school men and women's packs, and 40 woven plastic mats. They also received bags of dried vegetable soup from the 3.5 tons of food donated by Ontario Gleaners. The remaining backpacks were distributed to the Diocese and Hospital outreach teams and volunteer community workers whom I accompany on the trips to assess the needs and care for the clients. The fund also covers the cost of the gas and the driver for all these visits. Generally, I buy clothes, food, and mattresses locally but because of the shipment that year, we had lots of supplies to give out and they were so gratefully received.

Many thatched roofs of clients have been repaired or replaced, iron roofing sheets put on some mud brick houses, windows, doors, and floors installed and the walls of huts cemented to prepare for the rainy season. Sometimes we build a new house if the hut is falling down and can’t be repaired. The clients are so very grateful for all these gifts and it’s always a humbling experience to see such poverty and to make a small difference in the quality of their lives.

Providing healthcare: We continue to support healthcare. Medical care is provided to clients, surgeries (including a number of tubal ligations for women with huge families they already can’t support) medicine, hospital stays, and transport are all paid for by the fund. Donations are also made to the hospital poor fund for patients who need surgery throughout the year, but who are unable to pay. Money is given to the Hospital Palliative care team to buy drugs for their clients. Occasionally money is also given to the hospital to support infrastructure work that will benefit children on the wards.

We very much appreciate the prayers and generous support of so many people, family, and friends as well as other generous donors we meet along the way. The support through the Help the Children of Tanzania Fund allows us to go well beyond the funds available through the CACHA Shirati Infrastructure Mission and meets critical needs of the beautiful people of Shirati and region who are living in extreme poverty and often with HIV. Thanks to all our donors and supporters as well as to CACHA board and staff for supporting and enabling our work/mission each this year for the last 10 years. Also huge thanks to my colleagues at Shirati who share their time, wisdom and caring attitude to make this work all possible. IT HAS MADE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF SO MANY PEOPLE.

Erla Koch, Cacha Mission Co-Lead