The HOCET ”is a christian faith-based, non-profit, development-oriented organization serving orphaned and underprivileged children in the city of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania”. It consists of the City Centerand the “Shamba” Center, which is located in the outskirts of the city.
Hananasif Orphanage Center, HOCET was established in 2002 in a place called Hananasif – Kinondoni in Dar es Salaam. The founder of HOCET is Hezekia Sadick Mwalugaja who currently serves as HOCET’s Executive Director.
It began as a modest daycare center with just 12 children. During his first three years of leadership, Hezekia worked diligently to mobilize local support for the orphanage and to introduce his unique philosophy of ministry to the community. He spoke honestly about how he was not only burdened by the poverty and despair that gripped this emerging generation of AIDS orphans, calculated by USAID as more than 1 million in Tanzania alone in the year 2000, but that he was even more disturbed by the way that the majority of orphanages he had encountered were “being run like businesses,” where the children were used as a channel for access to foreign aid.
“They [exaggerate] their numbers to make money,” he explained. “After seeing this, I refused to do the write-up for foreign assistance. I believed that Tanzanians must commit to helping Tanzanians – that this issue we can solve through the work and the resources within our own community.”
Lucy, Gustaf, Irene, Asha, Stella, Msekwa, Antony, Aziza, Freddie, Tina, Omari, Bakari.
Soon a manageable 12 children grew to 30 as the original kids began to ask on behalf of their orphaned friends, cousins and other neighboring children if they could come as well to join the program. Beyond the food, clothing and school fees they were receiving through the center, the children of HOCET were opening their hearts to another critical aspect of the organization’s ministerial philosophy that Hezekia would say is the very centerpiece of his work: “They needed to first find the hope. They needed to first know that the loss of their parents or their life on the streets no longer defines them. It is not the streets or the poverty that has given them their name. They have been given a new name. They don’t call themselves orphans, no. They call themselves “Watoto wa Mungu.” Children of God.
The power of that message began to instill not only a deep and living hope among the children, but a strong sense of community and vision among them. Hezekia began writing song lyrics to capture the essence of this experience, and he called on members of the community to push the music initiative forward. Godfrey, Erasto and Emmanuel were three highly talented, twentysomethings with a passion for music and a love for children. They began coming regularly to the center to write melodies to Hezekia’s lyrics and teach the kids the songs. In time, 12 of the children were practicing nearly every night their singing and dancing routine. They came to be called the Hananasif Children’s Choir.
As another unique aspect of his approach to orphan care, Hezekia also sought out other members of the community to work specifically with the children toward the development of skill-sets and the nurturing of their natural talents, including sewing lessons, art classes, and English tutorials. He pushed forward with his two-pronged goals: to invest in the lives of his children and to continue to work toward establishing relationships with members of the community, gradually and persistently introducing them to his vision.
Friends of HOCET decided to hire a house at Kinondoni- Studio in the same area of Hananasif at plot no.987, Mkunguni Street which is now accommodating 18 kids. This was due to the extension of the church building which made life of the kid no to be comfortable. The kids who started with the centre early in 2002 have now finish form four in the year 2010. KUJALI have been paying renting fee for this house since when we moved in 2008.
While the main objective of HOCET in its early establishment was simply to provide the children’s basic needs, soon, many kids completed standard seven and were faced with another challenge. What next? HOCET then began to expand its to focus on education provision to all our kids from primary school to College and Universities. The main challenge was the ability for students to pay school fees to private schools if they were unable to pass to join Public Secondary School.
HOCET board members decided to focus on construction of our own Secondary School so that we could extend educational provision to both our current children and other vulnerable youth in Tanzania. In 2006 we decided to purchase a land at Shungubweni- in Mkuranga; just on the outskirts of the Dar es Salaam. Construction started within the same year, and in March, 2007, HOCET Secondary School opened. The first Form Four class graduated in 2010
The current aim of HOCET is to provide education to orphans and vulnerable children from all over the country- free of charge. HOCET schools hope to be built in rural areas across Tanzania. The aim is to open opportunities for most disadvantaged children who live in extremely poverty. We are focusing on dealing with both loneliness and poverty separately in opening these opportunities.
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