Plumbing, Learning, and Playing-Improving Lives for Refugees in Tanzania

There are too many stories of refugees around the world which have not received the attention they should have.  One of those is the story of the almost 300,000 refugees who have left the political turmoil of Burundi and sought haven in Tanzania. As with so many refugee situations, a large portion of the impact of such uprooting falls on women.

Women often are the ones responsible for cooking for the family, caring for children, and seeking to ensure that the family is able to maintain basic hygiene--no small task in the midst of crowded refugee camps!

 Photo: ACT Alliance

Photo: ACT Alliance

Through your support, Week of Compassion has been able to respond through our partner, ACT Alliance, in ways that help women and families have adequate food, housing, and water. In the Mtendeli camp, engineers worked to drill new wells and improve the productivity of existing wells. 300 hand washing stations were installed in the latrines for individual cleanliness.  One refugee, who works as a plumber, said: “I give thanks to ACT Alliance [for the] water network improvement. This reduced the risks of eruption of water-borne diseases and gender violence,” as women and girls no longer have venture beyond their households to collect water. Commenting on something most North Americans take for granted, another expressed appreciation for Week of Compassion’s contribution “for the construction of household latrines to our homes, as this helps in reducing risks of diseases, fights amongst ourselves over shared latrines, and environment cleanness as a whole.”

Week of Compassion also supported ACT Alliance in other vital services that improved lives of women and their families: 1800 participants met to discuss the implications and negative effects early and forced marriage have on women and the community in general and how damaging marriage practices needed to be abandoned. Women received group support with counselors as they navigated their situations. Classes to improve literacy and numeracy provided women and family members better tools for dealing with their situations. Another refugee said: ACT Alliance helped “by restoring hope, dignity, mental and social well-being that promote a sense of normality in the camps and encourage a stable and proactive life. The sports brought us refugees together, enable us forget our differences and increase the interactions while in the camp.”

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Photo by: ACT Alliance

Your gifts and generosity have made a real difference to people who have had to flee their homes. Your partnership helped bring dignity, safety, and diminishment of the threat of disease. Your support of Week of Compassion have done “more than you can imagine!”  Thank you!

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