STEMM as an organization has always been firmly committed to following the leading of the Holy Spirit when it comes to our ministry. No better example of that exists than our commitment to care for the orphans of Tanzania.
Since STEMM began in 1997, we were only peripherally aware of what at that time was a relatively small orphan problem. Little did we know that within the next five years due to HIV/AIDS the orphan population would explode throughout Africa including Tanzania.
It became very obvious to STEMM that the current population of misplaced children couldn’t be supported by the small poorly equipped orphanages that were in existence. In 2005 STEMM made a strategic commitment to build and operate an orphanage that would function more like a home than an institution for misplaced children.
STEMM CHILDREN’S VILLAGE (SCV)
We praise God for leading STEMM to orphan ministries. Functioning as a home, the SCV will accommodate 180 children when filled to capacity. The SCV will not merely save children from starvation, exploitation and death but also will provide a Christian environment for them to thrive. Built in a circle of homes in a village-like setting, each house will function as a family with a “Mama” caring for brothers and sisters in Christian love.
Phase One of the construction has been completed and consists of an Administrative Building (Tanzania Orphanage Director, Assistant Educational Director, Office and First Aid Room); Admission Building (Head Mama and office of Admissions); and 2 children’s homes that will accommodate a total of 16 – 20 kids. We are currently in the process of Phase II with construction of our Ministry Support Center well underway. This support center will be a place where teams can stay while visiting the SCV. Phase II will also include four more children’s homes.
Sombetini is not an orphanage, but a school located in the poorest of the poor area in Arusha. 51 children attend this primary school. On our July, 2006, trip, we visited the school which was 4 poles wrapped in plastic sack material. It had no roof. The pantry was empty and there was no more food for the children, which is the only meal most got for the day. STEMM bought a six-month supply of rice, beans and corn and left money for a roof.
In 2008, the STEMM team was able to update the siding to a rough lumber. They also built a new classroom out of cement blocks, which provided a shelter from the wind and rain. We continue to purchase clothing and food, as well as routine vitamins and worm medicine. The Head Mistress, Mama Elinaisa’s parting words to the team were “I can’t believe that you would do this for us. These are the most forgotten children in the world. Nobody pays any attention to them. Sometimes I get so discouraged, I just want to walk away and never come back. And then the ‘angels’ came! Their love has encouraged me. I cannot thank you enough.”
At STEMM are continually humbled by our calling to do His work in Tanzania. His prompting and guidance in bringing us from a point of no involvement to profound engagement with His children who are orphaned in Tanzania is a great testimony to the faithfulness of God and the hearts of the people involved in our ministry. We thank Him for His incredible love and guidance as we continue to follow His call.
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Your support is always appreciated!