Robert Mangeni was employed as a community worker for Kabizzi and Nyenga the summer of 2011.
There have been many families who have contacted the children’s home in hope of getting at least one of their children into the care of Nyenga Children’s Home. Both the management of the children’s home and the foundation in Norway have understood that this is an expression of a desperate economical situation and a wish to secure the future of their children. In most of the cases there was not a lack of ability or will to care for their children. Many of those who contacted the children’s home were widows who had no source of income after their husband’s death. Nyenga Children’s Home did not have the capacity to take in all the children in question. Meanwhile, previous experience indicated that measures that would improve the entire family’s situation would help the children.
Robert works by giving advice, counseling and by use of microfinance. The loans given are meant to help families start their own income generating activity. Before he gives the families a loan, Robert helps them find out which jobs they can manage realistically and that can give the family a secure income over time. A plan for paying back the loan with rents is also made. A normal loan for a family is 250 NOK. Some families have not been granted loans if Robert has considered them unserious and with unrealistic plans. Those who have received loans have not had problems paying it back according to the repayment plan.
Since the establishment of this project Robert has been working systematically towards:
- Families/guardians of the children who live at the children’s home. Joseph’s aunt and the twins’, Oliver and John, mother has both started their own business with sale of local beer.
- Those who have requested for their children to be taken in by Nyenga Children’s Home, but been denied this. The family of 8, now with 10 family members, has been mentioned previously. The father has established his own job in buying and resale of dried fish. The family has been able to build a better house and the children in the appropriate school age are now attending school.
- Three women’s groups have received larger loans that are operated jointly by the group. With the money from the loan they have bought piglets for meat production and chickens for breeding and sale of broilers.
- The group of boys hanging out at the corner in to the children’s home’s area has received a loan to start producing bricks. The group has been reduced, but a loyal group is remaining.
- Other families in need who Robert has come in contact with have. This has resulted in two new sales booths in downtown Nyenga, amongst others. One grandmother sells fruits and vegetables so that she can provide for her grandchildren who live with her. Another grandmother is selling firewood and sweet potatoes.
- There are villages at the other side of the valley that are using the health center frequently. A family there has received a loan to restore a motorcycle so that it can be used as a boda boda – a motorcycle cab. Several children from these villages have been enrolled in the New Horizon School. Robert is working on getting the road between the villages and the school improved so that it is safer, especially during rain season. He is collaborating with the local government and the appropriate villages.