According to the UN, millions of children and young people around the world are out of school or are in schools that are under-equipped. Without the facilities or resources to excel in education, many disadvantaged young people fail to gain the skills needed to reach their full potential.
Five young people who are trying to change this in Tanzania are Elius, Anna, Jacqueline, Matilda and PrayGod, all students at Mzumbe University in Morogoro. They are five of 13 young people who lead NGO organisation WapeSmile (meaning ‘give them smiles’ in Swahili).
Founded by Raleigh Tanzania alumni Jacqueline, WapeSmile works to support orphans in Tanzania to excel in their education and grow in their personal development. They do this by working closely with schools on fundraisers for stationery and materials, and by running events and confidence-building workshops for young school children.
The charity runs a number of events called ‘back to school’, where the young leaders visit under resourced schools to hand out stationary such as pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, notebooks which have been fundraised to support their studies.
“We are not only giving out stationary. But we try to show them love and train them to have good behaviour in society. We give them a direction on how achieve their life goals. At events we also prepare different topics about self-awareness and other training. We show them a lot of time and support.”
WapeSmile run a range of sessions for young people, including a number of sessions focusing on supporting young girls. These workshops provide valuable life education to young girls on menstrual hygiene, making sanitary pads and pregnancy prevention. Through their work, they are providing support to young people who are lacking family and support networks so they can have a better and more prosperous future.
Dedicated to improving the lives of young children, the young leaders of WapeSmile are united by their individual passions to make a difference in Tanzania.
“Sometimes we can say that we all grew up in difficult lives. That’s why when we met each other, we pulled together our passion and joined up to do something that helps us and the society from which we come from.”
The young leaders of WapeSmile position themselves as at the forefront of promoting the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, working at the community level towards development of the young girls and children. Through their amazing work, they are changing lives for those in disadvantage and making a positive impact for the future of Tanzania, East Africa and Africa at large.
“Society sometimes leaves the orphans behind. So we want to show that we are there for them. When we show children that love, they see it as a big thing, even more than receiving money and material things. It shows that we are together, and that even the small things make a big difference.”
You can follow the work of the young leaders of WapeSmile on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Raleigh’s alumni network is made up of over 50,000 inspiring people who are taking action to change the world. Find out more about our alumni here.