Program engenders self-reliance


Selemani Juma’s mother had been murdered by robbers and his father was paralyzed on his left side, and with no means of supporting himself, was very poor.  Selemani Juma was about 15 years old when he came to Amani Children’s Home (a program supported by Climb for Leaders) in 2002; he could neither read nor write. In 2003, a volunteer spent six months helping Sele to learn to do both. That year, Sele also found an apprenticeship with a carpenter.

Sele’s father became very sick and without any means of support, he would eat sawdust when he didn’t have food and he slept on a concrete floor. Sele, who was very devoted to his dad, hired himself out pushing wheelbarrows to earn enough coins to buy a bed sheet for his father.  One day at Amani, Sele asked how he could get a mattress, essentially for his father to lie on as he died.  Amani had an extra one and when Sele was told that he could take it to his father, he clapped and smiled and expressed his gratitude for the rest of the day.

In his apprenticeship, Selemani learned fast and enjoyed the work so, after just three months, Amani enrolled Sele in a one-year program at Mawela Vocational Training Center. When he finished school in 2005, Amani purchased a set of tools for Sele and paid rent on a room for him to live in. Within a year, Sele was successful in his work and became self-supporting.

In 2006 he informed his social worker at Amani that he wanted to get married, and Amani assisted with the planning and costs of his wedding. Selemani’s father had passed away by that time so Sele asked Japhary, his Amani social worker, to stand in for his dad at the ceremony. It was a very happy occasion for this young man who, in four short years had completely transformed his life. Selemani and his wife now have a daughter. Sele supports and cares for his family without assistance from Amani.

Selemani has a younger brother, Omary, who Amani is still helping. Omary also entered the Vocational Training Program and learned auto mechanics, passing his National Practical Exam in June 2009. Omary has since completed his internship and Amani helped him secure a job at a local garage. Because he is still new to the profession, Omary is making very little money so Amani is helping him with rent and other living expenses while also working with Omary to increase his self-reliance.

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