Between 2006-2008, Brit Olam sent volunteers in the areas of medicine, rehabilitation, and education to Minjingu and successfully oversaw the establishment and operation of a local Community Center. In addition, Brit Olam sent disabled children to surgeries and medical treatment in Israel and provided ongoing support in Mwangaza’s activities. Brit Olam also organized and sent multiple student delegations to Tanzania in order to encourage education and humanitarian activities, providing both students and the Minjingu community with lasting benefits.
Children of Minjingu
Hundreds of children in Minjingu, Tanzania, suffer from congenital physical disabilities as a result of toxic pollutants in their drinking water. Between 2006-2008, Mwangaza and Brit Olam partnered to give these children hope for their future. Children of Minjingu now operates as an independent organization.
The villages in the Minjingu area of northern Tanzania use groundwater that naturally contains fluoride. When children consume water high in fluoride, they are at risk of developing a crippling condition called osteofluorosis, which causes severe bone deformities and weakening of the bones. In addition to the problems caused by the water condition, the children of the area are at particularly high risk because of poverty and malnutrition.
Social and cultural problems in the area make the situation even more difficult for the children. The local villagers believe that sick and disabled children are irreversably cursed. Many of the children are kept hidden in the family huts, disconnected from the outside world, because of the local beliefs and the shame of the curse.
In 2006, Brit Olam joined Mwangaza in helping and assisting the children and the local community by conducting a joint project called The Children of Minjingu. Mwangza, which translates to “beacon for the disabled” in Swahili, is a Tanzanian NGO active in the Minjingu area that helps disabled and crippled children. Mwangaza operates field clinics to find children with disabilities and provide them with surgeries and rehabilitation. The organization also builds clean water tanks and runs activities to raise the awareness of the community to health and hygiene. Between 2006 and 2008, Brit Olam sent a number of delegations consisting of students and volunteer professionals in the fields of health, education and rehabilitation.
Stories from the Field: A Taste of Tanzania
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