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Serving vulnerable children and empowering families in Geita, Tanzania

Our Homes

 

big kids' home

Our "big kids'" home was the first house built for Neema House kids and it was opened in June 2013. We have separate bedrooms for our big girls (pink, chosen by our mamas) and big boys (blue, of course). We also have a two separate play rooms for the kids to engage in different activities with the mamas throughout the day!

 

baby home

The baby home was completed in December 2017 with the help of Captial Drilling here in Geita. Most the the children that came to Neema House during the overwhelming growth we experienced in 2015/2016 were infants or children under 1 year old. We needed a new home with enough space for these babies to crawl, walk, and play as they are growing. We are so happy to have this extra space for our smallest children.

 

preschool

Once the new baby home was completed late in 2017, we started renovating the old baby home into our new preschool classroom. Our preschool program began summer 2018 and is for our 3-5 year olds who attend a couple hours a day, 5 days a week. They spend their time learning their alphabet, counting, working on their fine motor skills while also learning to follow instructions. The kids love learning through play and we are excited to see our preschool continue to develop over the years. 

 

2019 / 2020 plans 

We have several things we are looking to start or develop over the next couple of years such as:

  • Explore the possibility of outreach program to educate others about children with disabilities
  • Begin outreach program to educate people in villages about basic medical needs and emergencies
  • Expand funding sources for the growing Maisha Matters program
  • Hire and begin training a new Finance / Office Administrator
  • Hire another Social Worker or Community Development Officer to help with program expansion and demands
  • Begin building family-style home for older Neema House children without families to transition into
 

Maisha Matters

‘Maisha’ is the Swahili word for ‘life’, 

it matters

The Maisha Matters program empowers Tanzanian families to care for their children. We provide life saving milk support and partner with families to assist them in long-term, sustainable success.

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 In April 2016, Neema House Geita partnered with Forever Angels Baby Home in Mwanza, Tanzania to implement their evidence-based Maisha Matters Program in Geita Region.

Maisha Matters was implemented with the goal of serving at-risk, starving babies whose mothers  have died in childbirth or are too sick with HIV that they are not producing milk to sustain their child. Previously, children in these circumstances were placed at Neema House on a temporary basis to help ensure the children’s health when it was felt that the circumstances were life threatening or the family had no other options. However, our desire to keep children out of institutional care by helping their families to raise them in their own communities. 

The Maisha Matters program allows us to support children suffering from severe malnutrition while also empowering their families to care for them at home. 

Here's how...


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 Nutrition

We start by providing infant milk formula for the baby on a weekly basis and train the caregiver on hygienic milk preparation to combat the risk of malnutrition. If a child is older than a year but suffering from severe malnutrition, we offer support in the form of powdered milk and peanut butter.

 
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Life Skills Training

We work with families to teach or improve basic life skills, including advising families about: business techniques, financial matters, child care, and improved farming techniques.

 
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Education & Training

We educate caregivers on issues regarding nutrition; health; basic first aid; the importance of clean water, hygiene & sanitation; and child development, including information about children with disabilities, as well as maternal health. We also support families with other health referrals & resources and mosquito nets if needed.

 
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Follow-up & Monitoring

Families come to Neema House weekly to receive formula and trainings. We weight children every week to ensure they are gaining weight and monitor their ongoing health. We also try to complete one home visit after the family has completed the program.

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Medical Support

Sometimes malnutrition co-exists with other health conditions that have either contributed to (i.e., cleft palate, tuberculosis) or resulted from (i.e., liver damage) the malnutrition. In these instances, we work with the family and consult with doctors to help address these additional concerns holistically.

 
 
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Business Planning / start-ups

When families lack financial resources to care for their children, we counsel them with business planning, supplies, or skills training so they can run a small sustainable business to provide for their whole family on a consistent, long-term basis. At times, Neema House assists in the purchase of the initial capital for the new business, for which they must pay back 50% of the invested amount. At other times, the family will be provided with a resource, such as a bag of clothes, to sell then use to purchase supplies themselves. If a family has sufficient resources at home that are going unused (i.e. livestock), the family will be counseled about how they can better use their current resources to improve their financial situation. In all situations, we seek to empower rather than enable families. 


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Meet Pendo

Baby Mariam was referred to us for support through Maisha Matters after being hospitalized for severe malnutrition. Mariam’s father had three wives, and her mother had disappeared with over a year earlier. When she returned, Mariam was so ill that she could not lift her head. Her mother then left the home again, but another wife, Pendo, agreed to care for Mariam and began bringing her to weekly Maisha Matters training. Within 6 weeks, Mariam had gained 4 kgs (8.8 lbs).

Pendo had some previous training to be a seamstress but had not ever finished her course. Neema House helped pay for three months of training so that she could then open her own business to help support herself and Mariam. Since then, Pendo has repaid the entire cost of her training and started her own business. Mariam continues to be healthy and happy at home with her father and Pendo!

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Meet Greyson

Greyson (age 1 year, 8 months) was referred to Maisha Matters by Geita Regional Hospital for concerns of severe malnutrition. At the time he weighed 5.97 kgs (13.1 lbs). After working with him closely for a couple of weeks, Neema House staff recognized possible signs of TB and took him to the clinic for testing and medication. Within 6 weeks of treatment and nutritional support, Greyson had gained 3 kgs (6.6 lbs). He has now regained strength to sit and play and has even begun walking and catching up on other developmental skills.