babies & toddlers

Mwanzo Daycare

Mwanzo Daycare is a small daycare facility close to the big Kilombero market in Arusha City Centre. The daycare is run by Nancy Nashilu our very trusted partner in our Community Outreach Group. She is the founder of three schools in remote villages and now has also taken over Mwanzo Daycare. Nancy is doing an incredible job and we are happy to support her with this new project.

Right now there are 23 kids between 1 and 5 years attending the daycare. Their mothers are working at the market and drop the kids at Mwanzo before going to work. They are not allowed to take their kids with them to the market – a new law that was introduced by the government a few years back, that’s why a daycare like Mwanzo is so important for the families in this area. Rather than leaving the children unattended at home their families know that their children have a save and loving space to stay during the day. The future plan is to more kids a safe place during daytime while the mothers are at the market.

Gily's Children Foundation

Gily’s Daycare is a kindergarten / preschool founded in 2019 for children aged 9 months to 6 years. The aim of the facility is to offer age-appropriate care for children who live in difficult economic and personal circumstances. The parents or guardians of the children do not pay any monthly contribution to the facility. To ensure childcare and meals the center is supported by international sponsors. While their children are being looked after, parents have the opportunity to work or study. There are no public childcare facilities in Tanzania for children under the age of 4. Many parents are therefore forced to leave their children alone or with neighbors while they are working or trying to find work. In the worst case, children run the risk of being brought to orphanages by their desperate families for lack of other perspectives, which the family hopes will improve the future prospects for the children. However, such a separation should be avoided at all costs, since it can result in long-term damage for the children such as attachment and anxiety issues. The Gily’s Foundation consists of two Centers, one for the little ones and one for the Pre-school children. 

Statement on the Closure of Cradle of Love Baby Home

Unfortunately, our very popular baby project, the Cradle of Love Baby Home, was closed very suddenly over Easter 2024. STEP Africa had no prior knowledge of the closure, which was due to the director’s poor health. The entire organization was taken over by a reputable NGO in Karatu, three hours away, where the former Cradle Babies now live. Unfortunately, we therefore have to assign current and future volunteers to other projects and it is no longer possible to apply to work at the Cradle of Love Baby Home.

Even though we were initially shocked, we are convinced that for every closed door, a new one opens. Orphanages as a solution for babies and children from difficult backgrounds, as well as volunteer work in such institutions, have long been controversial. Research and increasingly practical approaches are moving towards family-based and more holistic support for children and families in need – and away from caring for children in orphanages.
We would therefore like to take this opportunity to continue to raise awareness and steer our project work in the direction of family-based support. In future, we will no longer work with children’s homes and orphanages under any circumstances. Instead, we want to support daycare facilities, community centers and outreach programs even more than before, which enable children to grow up in a family setting despite difficult life situations, thus avoiding separation anxiety and attachment difficulties.

The STEP Africa team is planning to set up a baby and toddler daycare center for children up to the age of three whose parents/guardians are at risk of having to leave their children in children’s homes due to poverty and illness. In addition to daily care, families will also be offered advice. Children will be supported in their education by long-term sponsors. We will continue to provide information about the progress on our social media channels and our website and hope for the active support of our volunteers as well as the support of friends of STEP Africa and supporters of our work. As soon as volunteers can apply for the new project, we will of course announce this.

We hope for your understanding for this difficult situation and are always available for questions and comments.

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

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