Ashura´s life has not been easy. Her parents separated when she was nine years old, and since then she has never seen nor heard of her father´s whereabouts. Her mother is the sole income provider of the household, depending on selling sardines to meet the needs of her five children. When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, things took a turn for the worse for Ashura and her entire family.
Ashura´s mother went in search of greener pastures with her two children in October 2020. Ashura, who was 10 years old then, her 15-year-old sister and 17-year-old brother were left to fend for themselves. They barely had any food to eat on most days, so when their neighbour approached Ashura´s brother with the promise of employment, he jumped on the opportunity. He was trafficked and his location as well as that of their neighbour remains unknown. To make matters worse, Ashura´s 15-year old sister also suffered the same fate three months later in March 2021. Just like her older brother, she was trafficked and her location remains unknown. For more than a month, 11-year old Ashura was living alone in a rented house in Ukerewe, Tanzania.
Luckily for Ashura, the Tanzanian government covered tuition fees for basic education. She occasionally went to school despite her struggles. Over time, her irregular attendance caught her teacher´s attention who probed the matter. She noticed something was amiss with Ashura´s irregular school attendance and learned more about her situation after talking to her. The teacher reported Ashura´s case to the District Social Worker who came to her rescue on the same day. The girl was placed in a shelter managed by our partner Kiwohede.
While staying at the shelter, Ashura was provided with accommodation, food, counselling and medical services. She also informed our partner Kiwohede about her siblings´ trafficking and they reported the case to the police. Efforts to trace and rescue her two siblings are still ongoing. The project supported the family tracing and reunification of Ashura’s mother and her two younger siblings. They were all informed of the dangers of child trafficking and unsafe migration as well as the importance of pursuing one´s education.
The project is still monitoring Ashura´s progress now that she is back in school. She was provided with new school uniforms and other school supplies. Ashura was among the top three best students in her class when she sat for her end term examination in June 2021. Talking about the assistance she received, she explained, ¨I was afraid and unhappy because my mother abandoned me alone without any responsible guardian, food or school support. Now I am so happy for the support and intervention from Kiwohede, my teacher and the social welfare officer to bring back my mother and all the other services provided to me, let God bless them all for this kindness.”