Neema W.

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Neema intake photo, 2009.

DOB October 25, 2005

Came under Tumaini care early 2009.

Neema, which mean “Grace” in Kiswahili lives in Usa River, Tanzania and is the youngest of five children to Mama Eliza.  Mama Eliza was forced to “farm” out her other children due to the extreme poverty they live in.  Her husband abandoned her and the children after infecting her with HIV.  Unfortunately Neema was born before her mother knew she was HIV+ and she transferred the illness to her youngest child at birth.  Neema is the only child of Mama Eliza who is positive.

The living conditions in Usa River are deplorable.  Eliza and Neema live in a mud house with a dirt floor (see the photo), near the cemetery, where no one else will live because people believe “evil” spirits haunt the vicinity around the cemetery.  Neema’s mother has been unable to work because she must physically protect her daughter from the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS.  People actually try to harm Neema.  Although awareness improves, HIV+ people still suffer isolation and injury because of fear and ignorance.

Neema will come to live at Tumaini House and will go to school which will allow her mother to work.  We have made a micro loan to Neema’s mother enabling her to begin a small used clothing business.  As a result she will be able to support herself, help us with supporting Neema and help her other children.

Public school is a poor option for Neema and Julie’s Spa in Burlington has committed to raising six hundred dollars to send Neema to English Medium Private School.  The public school system costs $100.00 in itself, often has one hundred students to the teacher, and does not teach English, which is necessary to allow a child a chance at a proper education because a national exam must be passed in order to advance into secondary school and that exam is written in English.

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