In November 2009 two friends Udo Neyer and Hanno Breitfuss travelled across Tanzania. With a borrowed Land Rover, over hills, rocks, through water and mud, from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, across the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater and on to Arusha and Moshi.
Both had already traveled through Africa several times. This time, however, the two friends didn’t only travel with a passion for the continent, but the bigger idea of giving something back to the country. A friend from Vorarlberg had told the two friends about a small, improvised orphanage in Moshi. They wanted to visit this place.
The orphanage that Udo and Hanno found was a rented shed with 5 small rooms measuring 9 square meters each. Two of the rooms were the bedrooms for 16 girls and 16 boys. Another 9 square meter room was the common room for all 32 children. In front of it a clay place that turned into a mud bath when it rained.
The orphanage was founded and managed by Edward Lazaro, who everyone calls the “Teacher”. The “Teacher” himself comes from Moshi, and works as a mountain guide on Kilimanjaro, where he has climbed the summit over 400 times. With his modest income he provided for his own family, as well as the 32 orphans, but had little financial support up to that point.
It was clear to Udo and Hanno that support was needed for this project. There were children who urgently needed help, and a committed local who looked after the orphanage with great personal commitment and warm heartedness.
The orphanage in Moshi has progressed well in recent years. The building was upgraded and expanded. 51 children can now be accommodated in it and are looked after by the Teacher, his wife Dativa and caregivers. The children go to school and receive medical care. Finances have been secured.
And in mid-2013 the idea of a new, individual Project arose. Always in the foreground: creating a future worth living for children in one of the poorest regions in the world. To enable orphans to have a “family” in which they are loved, respected, encouraged and cared for. The Children should be supported in growing up to be happy, independent and responsible people.
After travelling many more kilometers through the country and many conversations with aid organizations and locals, a piece of land near Morogoro was found and purchased. The foundation home for the Mafiri Children’s Home was laid. Gradually, an orphanage for up to 100 Children is to be built based on the model of the SOS Children’s Villages.