Food That Helped A Young Tanzanian Through His Studies

Distribution of maize flour, Kigoma, Tanzania. Copyright: WFP/Jen Kunz.

WFP has been providing food to Sanganigwa Street Childrens’ Home in Kigoma, northern Tanzania, for more than 10 years, giving homeless youth the chance to grow healthy and get an education.

Bernard Samuel (25)  is the only son of a single mother who farmed a small patch of land in Manyovu village, near the Tanzania-Burundi border. In 1999, when he was  13, hunger forced Bernard to flee Manyovu and make his way to Kigoma, 60 kilometres away. Catching a lift with a neighbour, he arrived in Kigoma not knowing where to go or what to do. After three days of living on the streets he heard about the Sanganigwa Street Childrens’ Home.

Managed by the Roman Catholic Church and supplied with food by WFP, Sanganigwa became Bernard’s home until he reached advanced secondary school at the age of 25. Each day, for 12 years, he received three meals a day provided by WFP, of maize meal, pulses, and vegetable oil.

WFP has been present in the Kigoma region for 19 years, providing food to refugees fleeing conflicts in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to vulnerable people in the host communities. Sanganigwa has been receiving food from WFP since 1997 and today is home to 205 children, all orphans with stories similar to Bernard’s.

Bernard gives his spare time to help Sanganigwa with food management and record keeping, and presents a monthly report to WFP’s Kigoma sub-office. Recently, Bernard made a special visit to the office to thank Head of Sub-Office Abebe Hankore and Senior Programme Assistant Caroline Roberts in person.

“I’m very proud of WFP who supported our centre with food for so many years,” Bernard told them. “It helped me to grow healthy. Without WFP food, I could not have lived in peace. I could not have studied.”

Bernard is now preparing to start studying at the Tendabuye Institute of Health Science and Technology in Mwanza where he will pursue clinical medicine with a view to getting a job in a Tanzanian hospital. He says he will still spend his holidays helping teach his younger brothers and sisters whom he will be leaving behind at Sanganigwa.