It was celebrations galore as the Tanzania arm of the SOS Children’s Villages celebrated the ‘40 Years in Africa’. SOS in Tanzania now supporting 387 children in 3 Villages and 1415 in families of origin felt they had so many reasons to celebrate. September 10th 2011 was a day to remember for the children, staff and visitors who were present. The party which took place in the luscious grounds of the Dar es Salaam CV had an ambience which was full of joy, as the children got ready to host their guests.

Present at the anniversary celebrations were, representatives of the corporate and diplomatic communities. Other NGOs and government agencies were represented. Members of staff and their families as well as the press were also there to celebrate with them.  Members of the board headed by Dr Mary Nagu were there to receive Special Guest of Honor, Former President Alhaji Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

Rita Kahurananga, National Director, talking about the highlights of the day said ‘The SOS Children’s Village is celebrating 40 years in Africa this year 2011.  We thought it would be appropriate to honor our Former President Alhaji Ali Hassan Mwinyi as Goodwill Ambassador to let him know how much we appreciate his contributions over the years. It was Alhaji Minyi who invited the SOS Children’s Villages to Zanzibar. He has given us tremendous support over the years. We felt this is a perfect opportunity to thank him’.

Alhaji Mwinyi, who reminisced on how SOS came to Tanzania, appreciated the SOS gesture and promised to represent the organization to the best of his ability. He took the opportunity of his visit to take a guided tour of the Dar Es Salaam CV. He was impressed with all he saw. He enjoyed the beautiful surroundings as he walked through the entire premises, despite his age, with his entourage.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to inaugurate their ‘latest baby’ as Rita called it, a water tower donated by Rotary Club. ‘You can call it killing two birds with one stone, really.  Alhaji Mwinyi opened the tank for us’.

Rita explained further in her speech, ‘Getting the public to come in contact with us to hear and see what we are doing is very crucial. Once they get to understand what we are doing, it becomes very easy to support from the public. That is why we thought of celebrating on the Village grounds, so that the public gets a feel of what we are doing. We have invited corporate organizations, government agencies and dignitaries, the diplomatic corps, funding agencies, churches and schools to celebrate with us’.

The children were a major part of the event as they staged great performances for the guests. There was singing and dancing and the epic was a fashion show which was very impressive. They showed off outfits from all works of life to everyone’s delight. The children were very excited as they made their presentations. Alhaji Mwinyi was also very impressed by their outings.

Rita highlighted all the work being done in the villages in the kindergarten, medical centers, youth facilities and the Family Support Program, as she called for more local support. Shedding more light, she also announced the Mwanza Village which she said would start to be built in January 2012. ‘It will be the fourth and the biggest’. She explained the need for more local funding to augment what the international partners do. ‘The more funding we get locally, the better’, she concluded.

The chairperson of the Board, Dr Mary Nagu, being satisfied with how far SOS CVs have come in Tanzania, had something to say. ‘We are giving all the support we can muster, to reach the goal of deep rooted local funding. That is the next level we want to achieve’.

It was a day to remember for everyone who attended. Incidentally, the celebrations coincided with 20 years of SOS in Tanzania. Call it double cause for celebrations. Happy double Anniversary

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