Arusha Project

June 22, 2007, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Abroad Program, Uncategorized

Yesterday, Richard, founder of Tumaini, came to Kwa Idi (our town) to tell us his story. The organization, founded to encourage individuals to get tested for HIV/AIDS and promote accurate discussion about HIV/AIDS, has succeeded in breaking down existing social stigmas by creating a co-ed soccer team comprised of HIV infected individuals that play against non-infected teams and use part of the game time to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and testing. Although the concept seems simple, the results are quite complex and influential. The team members, originally discriminated against and not accepted onto existing teams due to their HIV/AIDS status, have fought to get recognition, respect and finally financial support for their organization. They have watched their friends and teammates pass away, sometimes from simply not having the means to buy the medicine that could have kept them alive, yet they have dealt with this grief by sustaining a sense of hope and faith.
Tupo kids

In the day, Tumaini also serves their members’ children as well as local children who are HIV-positive or children of HIV-positive couples with pre-primary education. This morning, Barbara, a returning volunteer, and I arrived to about 40 energetic kids in well worn uniforms tossing around a small soccer ball with three volunteers from another non-profit who are finishing up their few remaining day/s at Tumaini. As I entered into the office, I was interrupted as the children all standing in a circle began to sing from memory quite lengthy tunes in perfect English. On the side, others diligently studied and proudly shared their homework with us.


Not interested in anything else, one of the smallest children, too short to write on the blackboard, struggled to reach it in Tumaini’s hand painted classroom. The common thread throughout orphan/at-risk/disadvantaged children’s educational organizations here in Arusha is turning out to be the actual children’s eagerness to learn and sheer joy in response to any attention volunteers and teachers give them.



1 Comment so far
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Soccer is such a great way to bring people together! Between the ball and the goal there are no stigmas. On another note, I just saw an ad for Trojan condoms called Evolve, which morphs a pig into a man, and says, “Use one every time”. Even here in California promoting safe sex needs a dose of creativity!

Comment by Kristian Beadle

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