These pages will give all our supporters- worldwide the latest news on our;
Campaign to allow Bethany girls to continue to take advantage
of a course being offered at a UK College.
This is a two year BTEC, level 3 diploma in ‘Children’s Care Learning and Development’.
Campaign Start 8th August 2011 - Updated August 18th 2011
To take advantage of this opportunity we need the written consent of the local government officials. This support was given in 2007, 2008 and 2009 (opportunity not offered in 2010) for visa applications but has now been withdrawn and social welfare are now insisting the girls finish secondary school first even though they are aware that if they have to wait the opportunity may not be available in the future (especially in view of the current economic climate).
This we believe is an infringement of their human rights.
They could of course finish their secondary education on their return if required.
So far our Children’s Home manager (Daniel Bujiku) has had two meetings with officials at Magu Government Offices and we believe that they are still investigating the issue. We need a quick decision as the course starts at the beginning of September. We also believe this refusal could contravene the new ‘Law of the child act 2009’ (click here for a PDF copy). We believe we conform to all the obligations set down in this act.
Under section 11 138.-(I) While a child is in an approved residential home or institution the staff of the home or institution shall assume parental responsibilities for the child and ensure that the rights of the child under this Act are protected.
The girls are Deborah aged 17yrs in form 2, Mpelwa ages 17yrs in form 3 and Rehema aged 18yrs form 4. All three girls have been receiving extra education at Bethany and have already passed the IELTS English exam required for visa purposes.
Make clear the advantages and disadvantages of the course (details here)
To appeal through the various levels of government from District level through to Regional level and finally National level if required.
To enlist the support of UNICEF, DFID and the British High Commission.
To campaign in the UK and in Tanzania contacting local MP’s and human rights organisations
In the interests of transparency and fairness we will publish reports together with dates, places, names and job titles and also give the people named the right to reply. If you have been named on this site and you feel the report is unfair / unjust or incorrect them please email me and I will include your email on these pages and correct any proved inaccuracies. Also, if you are having similar problems please email me (let me know if I can publish your comments or not).
email address: email@example.com
NEWS 18/08/2011: Daniel (Bethany Manager) together with Mpelwa and Deborah went to Dar-es-Salaam today and visited the Commissioner for Social Welfare a Mr. Dunford Makala. Daniel tells me he was welcomed and Mr. Makala listened patiently to the issue but after about 20-25mins he had to go to a meeting and so Daniel was passed on to another lady in the office who explained that it was government policy for all children in children’s homes to go to secondary school and it was unlikely that any exceptions could be made. However she promised to put all the points to Mr Makala and he would make the final decision next week.
We therefore have a few days whereby we may still be able to influence this decision.
Mr. Makala’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLICK HERE for list of Emails sent so far
The issue as we see it is this: The Government has introduced a policy whereby secondary education is compulsory for children in children’s homes. We commend this basic concept (forcing chldren’s homes to provide secondary education). However it is not compulsory for children looked after by parents or relatives or who live independently on the streets. The problem is: if the parents of a child wish to send their children abroad to take advantage of what they may consider to be a better education then they are at liberty to do so. However this option is not presently available to orphans in children’s homes. The policy says they must stay in the Tanzanian secondary system until it is finished whatever opportunities are open to them. We are sure that this was never the intention of the policy - to discrminate against orphans but that is exactly what is happening in this case. We believe that children in orphanages who are offered a better education elsewhere should be allowed to take it at whatever stage they are in the secondary school system just as biological parents have the freedom to do.
We know that it is easier for government officials to say letting our children go to the UK for Education is against government policy but when it actively discrimates against the benefits to the child (something the act never intended to do) then exceptions should be made. We are led to believe from others that Mr Makala is a compassionate man who recognises injustice when he sees it and so we are confident that his decision next week will be to ‘let our children go’.
However, we would appreciate it if any of you who have been following this issue would write an email to Mr. Makala to let him know how you feel. Please be polite, Mr Makala deserves our respect for the responsible position he holds as a government minister.
We have already been in touch with a solicitor in Dar and her comments were very encouraging. She has advised as to the best way to escalate the issue and the people we need to target. We now have several names, addresses, emails and telephone numbers and we will be approaching these people in due course. We are also clear on the legality of our actions.
Sogeska Secondary School: where our children now attend - interesting reading. We believe the school has around 600 pupils from form 1 to form 4. They all take national exams at the end of form 4 to see who passes to go to high school.
The results were: 2007 5 boys and 1 girl (Emmakulatha from Bethany), 2008 14 boys and 1 girl, 2009 7 boys no girls, 2010 12 boys no girls.
So in the past 4 years the total passes to go on to high school are 38 Boys and 2 Girls.
The question is WHY only 5% of girls pass. If you were a parent of a girl attending this school and were offered the opportunity for your daughter to take the BTec course in the UK (FOC) would you take this opportunity? Undoubtedly you would! However, if you are an orphan at Bethany the local authority is at the moment denying you this opportunity. I believe this could be described as discrimination against orphans. Click here to see the Tanzanian governments web site giving all ‘O’ level results for Sogeska school since 2007.
Bethany School Inspection: You will be aware that we withdrew our children from the local Yitwimila primary school and enrolled them at a private school JBFC some 18 months ago. We employ teachers at Bethany and our children are progressing exceptionally well. However, the local government inspectors visited Bethany on Friday 12th August and Daniel (Bethany’s manager) showed them round and from being a little negative to start with they went away very happy with what they had observed. The chief Inspector even said he would help Daniel register the school rather than work under JBFC. However Daniel informs us that a letter came from this same Chief Inspector the following Monday 15th to say Bethany must close the school and send the children back to Yiwimila primary school. We wonder what happened over the weekend for him to change his position!
The campaign has got off to a slow start but we have a full UK team meeting on the 8th September and if nothing has been resolved by then we will start to organise ourselves and meet with several local MP’s in the UK to involve the DFID and the British High Commission etc. and then MP’s and ministers in Tanzania. This will not be the first time we have had to visit government ministers in Tanzania or Regional Commissioners etc. I’m sure it will take some time but eventually we will resolve this issue when everyone is aware of the facts. We are aware that the Tanzanian newspapers would be interested in this story and can see the headlines now ‘Government policy discriminates against orphans’. However we need to see how Daniel goes on in Dar first.