A nun stands inside a mud hut in Tanzania with a family - a mother on crutches and two young girls dressed in yellow and blue dresses

Early life

Maria is from the Chamwino district in the Dodoma region, a semi-desert area in central Tanzania. Maria’s father abandoned the family before she was born, and her hard-working mother cares for and provides for their family.

Maria’s mother is disabled, requiring her to move around on crutches. Despite this, she works hard to raise money for her family by travelling to a nearby hill to break rocks to turn them into gravel and sell to local builders. Maria and her brother, Baraka, sometimes go out to help their mother with this back-breaking manual labour to support the family with the small amount of money they get from selling the gravel. When their mother suffers from too much pain to go out and work breaking rocks, she still works, selling tomatoes to help them survive.

A young girl, Maria, in Tanzania stands at the doorway of her mud hut in a yellow dress

Meeting the Sisters

Maria met the Sisters during their visits to the Dodoma region to meet children in need of an education. Maria is already 13 years old and is missing out on her secondary education. Without it Maria would have no way to lift herself and her family out of poverty. With the education and skills the Sisters of Mary can offer to children like Maria, she can go on to secure long-term employment and live a productive life away from poverty.

Equal access to education for young girls in Tanzania is a priority. Girls are vulnerable to early marriage to provide families with a dowry or to ensure one less mouth to feed. They are also required to bear more care responsibilities in the home. Maria’s mother understands that the best option they have to secure a better future is for Maria to gain a quality secondary education so that she has better opportunities in life and can become independent, able to support herself and her family. With your support the Sisters will be able to welcome Maria and other children like her into a place at their school.