Nkoaranga Orphanage houses up to 30 happy, healthy children where they grow and flourish from newborns up to age three
TST’s growing partnership with the Lutheran Diocese and parent hospital has been crucial to Nkoaranga Orphanage’s transformation to a recognized model baby home, characterized by high caregiver ratios, excellent nutrition and a strategy that focuses on long-term attachment. Guided by the ultimate goal of family reunification – and with the dedicated support of our Family Preservation Team – more than half of all children entering Nkoaranga Orphanage are able to successfully return home before school age. The other children move into family-style homes at Happy Family Children’s Village, where they maintain close relationships with their original caregivers and any surviving relatives in the hopes of eventual reunification.
TST is committed to investing in local institutions
We rely on an essential partnership with the longstanding Nkoaranga Orphanage located in northern Tanzania’s Arusha Region. Under the ownership of the Meru Diocese of the Lutheran Church of Tanzania and the outstanding leadership of Martha Ayo (“Mama Pendo”), it operates in conjunction with nearby Nkoaranga Hospital. Since 1987, Mama Pendo has dedicated her life to caring for children, improving their lives, helping them realize their potential and inspiring hope for a better future. For more than a decade, the orphanage was limited to caring for children until age three, after which they were sent back to their villages regardless of whether the support of caregivers was available. While Mama Pendo personally adopted several children, many others less fortunate experienced abuse, neglect or died due to the lack of long-term care options.
When TST founder Bekka Ross Russell was working as a volunteer in 2010, she and Mama Pendo shared a vision for a different future for the kids – one that kept vulnerable and orphaned children in their families and provided loving residential care for those at-risk. This became the impetus for founding TST and growing it over the next several years. Empirical research (link) and experience on the ground confirmes that family preservation can be achieved by creating sustainable, participatory, and evolving care plans that strengthen the community’s long-term capacity and by working one-on-one with surviving relatives. And who better to facilitate that work than the women who know the children best?