For the last couple of years we have been partnering with STOP THE TRAFFIK on their Freedom Ticket For Life campaign, which is working to protect girls and women particularly vulnerable to being trafficked and provide them with education, vocational training and jobs.
The Salvation Army are doing exactly that in Mbagala, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, which is the largest city in Tanzania. Here they run two homes for vulnerable girls and young women. These homes provide a safe place for up to 40 girls between 7 and 18 to each receive an education which keeps them off the streets or away from unsuitable areas, decreasing their chances of being trafficked and giving them a “freedom ticket for life”. Along with the education, they also receive vocational training which will enable them to obtain a job, putting them on a path to a much brighter future.
More and more young girls are travelling to Dar es Salaam hoping to find work to support their families back home, but do not always find the kind of work they were hoping for. These girls often find themselves being exploited by others for their own profit. Four girls who have been brought into the home in recent months were rescued from a local brothel. They had no choice but to fulfil whatever was asked of them by their customers and their mistress was always on hand to ensure that they did as they were told. This abuse resulted in one of the girls becoming pregnant at just 15 years old. The good news is that all of these girls are now in our programme and are taking part in vocational training courses. During the placements that they attend as part of this training they will be helped to find good employment and remove the need for them to be exploited and abused in the future.
Over the last few months the homes have been using money already raised through the Freedom Ticket For Life campaign to help pay for the girls education, both with the fees and all the equipment needed to be a student (like uniforms, books etc). In addition to an education, the girls are also receiving group counselling as well as gaining life skills which include cooking, washing, caring for the environment, tending vegetable gardens and flowers and how to stay healthy.
Suzana Paulo is just one of the girls whose life has been changed by the home. Suzana’s abusive aunt brought her to Dar es Salaam after her family passed away. On October 31, 2002 she came to Mbagala Home and was saved from the painful life she was living. The Salvation Army paid for her to go to Secondary School after she finished her primary schooling. Suzana was very successful, performed well in her studies and graduated in February 2010. She has now secured employment with one of the major banks in Dar es Salaam.
Could You Run for Freedom?
You can help support girls like Suzana by getting involved in Freedom Ticket for Life and raising money for Mbagala by setting up your own freedom run or other fundraising event. Find out more at www.freedomticketforlife.org