A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organization The City of Hope (CH) operating in Tarime District has saved and sheltered about 400 girls who were about to undergo Traditional Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) last December.
The girls aged between 8-13 have been enrolled in the centre voluntarily and most of them ran away from their families fearing reprisals from parents after turning down early marriage offers.
The City of Hope executive Director Pastor John Chacha told reporters here that the girls were put under a new programme and were enrolled to start formal primary school education.
He explained that each year they receive many girls especially at the end of the year due to the fact that communities here have a tendency to drop their children from schools to attend traditional circumcision period and later marrying them.
He added the centre that was opened early in 2009 by President Jakaya Kikwete has also introduced a primary school that all underage girls are given an opportunity to continue with studies as well as a basic vocational training programme.
‘’We also have a primary school and a vocational training programme to help those girls with various talents to explore in the fields such as tailoring, catering and weaving to enable them become selfreliant,” said the pastor.
Pastor Chacha said besides providing quality education and expertise, the children are also given medical treatment, clothing and food all free of charge made possible by donor funds from both outside and inside the country due to the fact that most girls come from vulnerable families.
According to Mr Chacha a fraction of the girls sheltered at the centre situated some 30 km from Tarime central business district are orphans.
According to Tarime District Education officer Emmanuel Johnson, academically the centre’s pupils sat for the primary school national examination last year and managed to beat all schools in Tarime District to scoop the first position out of 130 schools.