Kicheko, Kiswahili for 'laughter' looks after 9 children in ages 8-16 who all for different reasons (orphans, abuse) cannot be brought up by their own families.
Kicheko is different than most local children's homes. We are a small organisation with only 9 kids because we want to make a real difference for them, not just setting the bar at surviving.
The kids live in a "normal" house, where they have their own beds and a few shelves in the cupboard. There is a living room where the kids can make their homework and play. And the kitchen and bathroom facilities are clean and indoors. Also important is that our compound is safe and secure with a large garden where we enjoy many an afternoon talking and playing.
When the kids are not in school they are looked after 24/7 by a dedicated staff of 2. We also have a lady coming to our house a few times a week to do our laundry. Tanzanian kids learn to look after themselves from a very young age and we strongly encourage this but with a big household come many chores and homework, playing and resting are also necessary!
Next to providing a safe and healthy environment we have a strong focus on education. Our kids go to a good primary school in the neighbourhood (it's important for them to spend time with other kids their age and not always stay within the same walls as is the case in many projects). The school provides bi-monthly meetings for us to keep track of the kids' progress and wellbeing.
We look after our kids as if they are our own and we cook healthy and varied meals every day to make sure their bodies get all the nutritions they need for growing up. We also take them on a bi-annual visit to our local GP to check their health. Sometimes diseases can go unnoticed which can be dangerous or harmful when untreated (malaria, worms, UTI) and we want to prevent this as much as possible.
Kicheko is run like a family. But it is of the utmost importance to us that our kids also keep a strong connection to their own family and familiar surroundings. This is not always easy but we communicate with at least one family member on a regular basis and during school holidays we bring our kids to stay with them. Depending on each situation this can be anything between 1 and 4 weeks. And we want all parties to be happy about this arrangement so we bring them with a big bag of groceries that can last them until well after we pick them up again.
An orphanage or children's home, should always be the last resort. In our opinion there is no better place for a child to grow up than with their family. But when this is not possible, we want to be the best alternative. For us that means providing a safe and healthy environment with a strong focus on education, but also with a lot of love and some personal attention every day. Kids don't need the newest football, they do need someone who can watch their latest trick. And by being and staying small we can do this.
We've had many requests of people asking to do volunteer work with the kids. And as much as we appreciate everyone's interest in us and someone's best intentions, we always say no. For practical reasons, our kids are in school until 1pm (the younger ones) and 4pm (the girls) which means there simply isn't enough work to do. And for impractical ones. In our experience children need stability. And in the long run we feel it doesn't help them when their happiness, the running and success of our household depends on people who come and go.
We very much support and even recommend doing volunteer work in a local school or hospital where forming a bond is also important but always more temporary. And there are many good projects out there who we will be happy to put you in contact with.
Saying no to volunteers doesn't mean we don't welcome visitors! We love meeting new people and the kids like to practice their English with you when you pass by our house. If you are interested in this please mention this in your booking with Magufwa Safaris or bring it up with one of our guides. Karibu sana (= be welcome).
No terms and conditions
It is our goal to help our kids to become responsible and independent adults. And we feel that terms and conditions should never apply to this. Yes that means that unfortunately we cannot help more kids, but we rather do something small very good than something big just average. When our kids are ready to leave they leave, to boarding school, business education, university or employment. Or back to their families should their situation change. But there will always be an open door for them. Like family.
Kicheko can't run without the help of sponsors. Whether it be a Women's Club or a primary or high school organising a fair raising money for us, a law firm sending us the proceeds of their candybox, a couple giving us their Christmas Card budget since they started sending them by email or "just" someone who likes what we are doing and donates a few dollars every month, we need and appreciate all the support we can get.
Your money is well spent!
Thank you for booking with Magufwa Safaris, you won't just book a holiday, it means the world to us!