What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
One night in 1999, Sister Crispina Mnate went to bed in her small home in Arusha, Tanzania, and dreamt of finding a small child abandoned, left to die, in the bush. The next morning she woke and headed into town for her job as a nurse at a local hospital. En route, she saw a crowd of people huddled around an infant left in a bag on the side of the road. She pushed through, picked up the child and started running towards the hospital. The baby died in her arms. Shortly thereafter, Crispina decided her calling was to rescue and care for the discarded children — those with no family and no other chance for life.
A local pastor gave her three acres of land and ~$20 USD. She purchased concrete to begin laying the foundation for the first dormitory. From there, good samaritans began bringing abandoned babies, and — by going door to door asking for help — support started to trickle in.
Crispina and her story was brought to our attention by Unite’s Director of Projects, Tanzania, Elias Shayo. Crispina’s joy for life is infectious, and her devotion and commitment to each and every one of her now 43 children, ages 3 to 23, is motivating and inspiring.
Since the Spring of 2014, Unite has renovated and painted the buildings; built vegetable gardens; purchased and installed two industrial stoves (donated by our Unite for Africa youth group), solar lights, and rainwater harvesting systems, tanks, filters and pumps for potable water, and built new latrines and complete sanitation systems. We have secured student sponsors for 16 of the 43 children and are currently seeking sponsors for the rest of the orphans. The cost: $500 for pre-primary, $750 for primary, $1,200 for secondary and $2,000 for University. Crispina is committed to providing her children a private, English education to ensure them the greatest chance of success in life. Government schools, although less costly, oftentimes suffer the challenges of extreme poverty; lack of proper infrastructure, resources, and experienced teachers; and overcrowding.
Students in need of sponsorship:
Angela was born in the Kilimanjaro region but was orphaned along with her two younger sisters and one younger brother in 2005 following the deaths of her parents to HIV/AIDS. Angela just graduated from St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Christ Secondary School and will be attending Arusha Modern School for her form 5 year beginning in June, where she will focus on sciences. Angela hopes to be a pilot after completing her studies. Cost to Sponsor: $1200 USD.
Christian, 8 years old, is going into Heaven Primary School, Standard 2. His favorite subjects are English, and Mathematics, and he wants to be either a carpenter, doctor, farmer, or pilot when he grows up. He loves Footbol, Singing, and Studying. Both of Christian's parents died of HIV/AIDS. Christian is one of the brightest students and proudly leads the announcements and singing of the national anthem and pledge of allegiance before class every morning. Christian acts as the unofficial English police man, making sure the others do not speak Swahili during the English medium lessons. Cost to Sponsor: $750 USD
Denis Raphael Mapendo
Denis Raphael Mapendo, 13, is going into Form 1 at Arusha Modern School, Form 1. His favorite subject is Geometry, and he would like to be a pilot when he grows up. Denis was abandoned as a young child on the streets of Arusha, and in 2000 he became one of the original five boys that Sister Crispina Mnate took in. Denis is always optimistic about his days and future and one will always see him walking around with a smile on his face. Cost to sponsor: $1200
Ester Bahati Florence
Ester, 14, is attending Arusha Modern School, Form 1. Her favorite subject is Mathematics, and she would like to be a nurse when she grows up. Both of Ester’s parents died when she was very young due to the extreme poverty, and Ester was then taken in by Sister Crispina Mnate of St. Joseph’s Orphanage. In her free time, she enjoys playing football with her friends. Ester is one of the most welcoming people you will ever meet, making sure one is comfortable and happy at every moment of everyday. She brings good vibes and there is never a dull moment when she is present! Cost to Sponsor: $1,200 USD
Fidesta Mathias Ndokio
Fidesta, 14, is attending Arusha Modern School, Form 1, and her favorite subject is Mathematics. She would like to be a doctor when she grows up. Fidesta was taken in by Sister Crispina when she was very young following the deaths of both of her parents due to conditions relating to the extreme poverty. Today, she just finished her standard 7 year at Lady of Mercy Primary School in Arusha. In her free time, Fidesta enjoys delving deeper into her school books, reading novels, or playing with her friends. She is shy but once you get to know her she has a kind heart and can make someone laugh in an instant. “I would greatly appreciate a sponsor to help me pay for my school fees, books, and school shoes.” Cost to Sponsor: $1,200 USD
Genes, 20, is in Form 5 at Nyerere High School Migoli. His favorite subjects are Mathematics and Geography and he would like to go into business, and he loves athletics of all kinds. Genes lost both of his parents to HIV/AIDS when he was a child and came under the care of Sister Crispina of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in 2005. When he is not at school, he is either plowing the fields to plant the seedlings for the next season, riding a bike around his village, or running around on the soccer pitch. Genes has a kind heart, genuine smile and is one of the most approachable people one can meet. Cost to Sponsor: $1,200 USD
Godfrey Daniel “Freddie”
Freddie, 23, will attend Kesemic University, Kilimanjaro, in 2015 to study biology. His dream is to become a doctor. Godfrey is one the oldest members at St.Jospeh’s Orphanage. When Godfrey was very young his parents abandoned him on the streets of Arusha. He became one of the original boys whom Sr. Crispina Mnate took in, in 2000. Today Godfrey just finished the Tanzanian National Service, a mandatory program that occurs after secondary school and before university. In his free time, Godfrey enjoys playing soccer and reading novels. His laugh is infectious and he always brightens up the room with good humor. "Nothing under the sun is impossible and with some help, I will someday become a doctor.” Cost to Sponsor: $2000 USD
Michael, 8, is in Standard 2 at the Heaven Primary School. His favorite subject is Mathematics; his favorite sport is football; and his favorite book is “Franklin Goes to School.” Michael was brought to Sister Crispina Mnate when he was about 2 years old. After being in an unhealthy environment for the ear lies part of his life, his step-father decided that Sister would give him the care he deserved. He has lived at the orphanage ever since. He is a bit quiet but if you give him a ball he will run up and down the football pitch for hours. Cost to Sponsor: $750 USD
Rose Joseph Kavita
Rose, 14, is in Form 1 at Arusha Modern School, Form 1. Her favorite subject is Physics, and she dreams of becoming a mining engineer. Rose lost both of her parents when she was very young to HIV/AIDS. In the year 2005, Rose was taken in by Sister Crispina. Although a bit shy, one can tell that Rose has a great heart and is a good friend to anyone that knows her. She is one of the most active members in the orphanage, always doing chores or helping where ever needed. Cost to Sponsor: $1,200 USD
Peter, 20, would like to go to secondary school and learn to become a businessman. He was very young when both of his parents died of HIV/AIDS and he was brought to St. Joseph's. Through his childhood at St. Joseph’s, Peter walked to and from school at Olkereyan Primary School, a government school about six kilometers away. He and the other children of St. Joseph’s who attended Olkereyan Primary set out before sun rise and often returned after sunset. Peter hoped to go on to secondary school, but a lack of funds prevented his ability to continue his education. Instead Peter went to driving and mechanical school to help gain larger skills for manual labor so that he could assist Sr. Crispina and became the caretaker of St. Joseph’s. Today, Peter still has dreams of going to secondary school and maybe university. In what free time he has, he enjoys reading novels. “I thank you for helping me fulfill my dreams” Cost to Sponsor: $1,200 USD
Paul A. Daniel
Paul, 12, is in Standard 7 at Lady of Mercy. His favorite subject is Mathematics, and he dreams f becoming a Civil Engineer. Sister Crispina took in Paul when he was 4 years old and his brother, Julius, due to his father killing his mother. Paul is an exceptional student, and in his free time, Paul enjoys playing soccer and drawing. Paul is very outgoing and willing to help his friends and Sister in anyway possible. “With your help, I can continue my education and become an engineer.” Cost to Sponsor: $750 USD
Currently, Unite is working on raising the funds to purchase and install a maize mill at the center to establish an income-generating program that will create jobs and a sustainable source of revenue for Crispina, her staff and her children. Future programs include: The renovation of an on-side guest/volunteer house; the build out of the Heaven Primary School and an on-site dispensary.
Here, a recent video of Unite’s work with St. Joseph’s Orphanage.