KOICA lends hand to street children

STREET children attending training at Mwanza Regional Library in a group photo with Korean volunteers. ( Photo by Moses Matthew)

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ALL over the world, education provides children and adults with the skills they need to address social issues, break the cycle of poverty, and improve the health and well being of communities.

This can be done through two ways. One is in the Millennium development goals which targeted children to complete a full course of primary schooling by the end of 2015.

The second method uses the term to highlight organizations undertaking education projects to benefit the community. This includes disease prevention, health education, skills training and social change.

Recently Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in collaboration with Hands on Science Organisation Tanzania (HSOT), Tanzania Rural Health Movement and Mwanza regional Library is implementing vocational education project to 130 street children in Mwanza City.

The KOICA country’s director, Tanzania Office, Mr Joonsung Park says the objective of the education project is to create ability to street children to sustain themselves. “These vocational skills will last for six months of training, as this class has only 10 months after it was established that more children have developed interest to join the training,” said Mr Park.

He said that another group of street children is receiving normal education, where they are selected according to knowledge gained and registered for library membership. Mr Park noted that KOICA sends volunteers for science, library, computer and sewing as vocational skills.

This is to make sure that this mission is accomplished for the children to attain their living. He added that that KOICA has granted USD 3,000 for the purchase of science materials and sewing machines.

His tour in Mwanza is one of his responsibilities to see if the implementation of the project had made any progress, particularly to see work being done by five volunteers teaching science to street children.

The Tanzania Rural Health Movement ( TRHM), Founding Executive Director, Dr Marko Higi said that TRHM is providing health services to street children in the program with KOICA.

A physics teacher and KOICA volunteer, Ms Chooryeong Kim said that the skills from the training has brought positive change as three boys went back home after the skills they obtained from the school and have rejoined the community.

She said that in this project KOICA does not provide accommodation or food services to street children to avoid children overcrowding. They get training and skills to help them in their lives as volunteers cannot afford such services of food and accommodation.

Ms Kim said that the aim here is to change the children’s mindset of going back to the streets to beg. The chairman for hands on science organisation Tanzania, Mr Dan Kitambala said that science is a right to everybody and assumes that also street children have the right to get this kind of knowledge.

The KOICA Street Children programs Coordinator, Mr Joseph Mtuke called on people to learn from others on how to create independent Tanzania through education and vocational skills and invited everyone to join the efforts to rescue street children.

A street child John Imara said that the KOICA program has helped to impart skills in street children. They now intend to do everything possible to sustain their welfare and stop begging resulting from family problems.

Most of the street children have been abandoned by their parents.

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