Dogodogo Centre Street Children Trust is an non-governmental organization located in Kigogo, Dar es Salaam. It has one house for children, and a Multipurpose Training Centre which provides tailoring, carpentry, multimedia and electrical training for street children who complete primary education.
It was established in 1992 with the aim of caring for street children, especially boys aged between seven and 17 years. It started with 60 children who were provided with shelter, medical treatment, proper hygiene, clothing, counselling, school education, skills training, recreational facilities and family reunification before 2009 when the system changed.
The new operating system was met by a lack of funds and a high rate of street children, which continues to increase year after year. UNICEF estimates that in Dar es Salaam there about 3000 street children, while in Tanzania there 437, 500 street children. The new system is based on medical treatment and family reunification for those children who are willing to rejoin their families.
Most of the street children who are found in Dar es Salaam come from Mwanza, Dodoma, Musoma and other parts of the country. Family separation, family conflict, single parents and torture or abuse by parents are the main causes that these children leave their homes.
The Centre staff meet with children camps located in Kariokoo, Morocco, Tazara, Ubungo and Feri (districts in Dar es Salaam) for sports like football and counselling with the aim of reuniting them with their families, if they are willing.
“The children typically stay for one month at the Centre to see if they display any real change and after that are reunited with their families”, said sports teacher Mr. Ditufi.
The Centre has faced a number of challenges, such as lack of funding, deviant or deceitful children, and a lack of support from parents. Often times, the children who they reunite with their families are found back on the streets. Additionally, street children are treated badly by local citizens, and the centre calls on society to treat street children as human beings.
The Head of the Centre, Mr. Ntila, calls for government concern, especially in terms of funds. According to Mr. Ntila, they have already made a follow up but have yet to receive any feedback, which is very discouraging for an NGO that helps children, as well as the government who has failed to provide any support despite responsibility to do so under the Ministry of Gender and Children.
Dogodogo Centre is determined to reunite any street child who is willing to rejoin with his or her family, and believe that street children are able to change their attitude with appropriate counselling from experts alongside a greater concern of parents for their children.
Loveness is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism at St. Augustine University of Tanzania. She is interested in both broadcast and print media. In her leisure time, she loves to watch Korean dramas and listen to slow music.