Our mission is to bring education, health care and self-sufficiency to the people of Africa in order to help them create and sustain a better future. Our efforts are focused in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.
Hope Through Opportunity was founded in 1998 as a California Non-Profit Corporation IRC 501 (c) (3). We are the only voice for many of the people that we serve. We have no middle men, our staff is all volunteers and all donations go directly to help the people of Tanzania.
Tanzania is located on the East Coast of Africa Just below Kenya. It is two times the size of California. Most of the land is arid and does not support agricultural growth. Back in 1998 when Hope Through Opportunity was founded, Tanzania was the fifth poorest country in the world.
The village of Mbahe has a population of approximately 6,000 people. Most of them are farmers. The primary crops are bananas and coffee. Farmers cannot compete in the large world market for these crops where demands are met by more thriving countries. They do not have money or trucks to transport food products to commercial establishments. In addition, all of the crops come to fruition at the same time. The only market is the local people. The end result is no profit. The average income of a villager is less than $400 per year. Most live in a dirt floor house and cook on the ground using wood, three rocks and a pot. They are being discouraged from using the forest wood and are turning to charcoal for cooking and warmth. The smoke from both of these products produce lung problems and pneumonia. An economy based solely on agriculture will not support the people of the region. We work with the people to find additional economic opportunities. This is no small task! The proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as the beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the region present opportunities for tourism. Projects have included helping people set up climbing companies, local shops and sewing service businesses. Our goal is to promote self-sufficiency.
Hope through opportunity seeks to address health issues in the region on two levels; health care and health conditions.
At an elevation of 7,000ft the village can get extremely cold. During the cold rainy seasons villagers huddle together without beds and blankets. Children have only two sets of clothing. One outfit is for church, the other is for the rest of life. Shoes are very rare and usually in poor condition. Hygiene supplies are almost non-existent. Branches are used as a toothbrush and moss for toilet tissue. Pit toilets and even bushes are the only bathroom available to many. This is a source of infection. Such poor health conditions lead to Illness and death. Often this is the result of pneumonia or malaria. Many have poor hearing due to repeated ear infections. It is essential the people have basic necessities such as blankets, shoes, clothing and access to sanitary facilities. Our containers provide these necessary goods. In 2011 we were even able to provide the materials for the people to build a community bathroom.
Access to health care and scarcity of medicines, medical supplies and equipment are all issues requiring attention. When first visiting local health care facilities in 1997, Alice Hiatt encountered many needs. Hospitals had inadequate medical supplies. Patients would share beds and sometimes even a bowl of rice. The staff traveled the country searching for medicines, often returning empty-handed. Rope and pieces of wood were being used as a traction system for children’s broken legs. Gloves were washed and reused. Only disease-causing pit toilets were available. Families provided food and blankets to patients as the hospital could not. Over the years some conditions have improved through shipments of supplies and equipment. Our partnership with Direct Relief International has been providing medicine that otherwise would not exist. Death due to childbirth, pneumonia, malaria and other treatable illnesses is still too common.
Education is free through grade six to those who can afford a uniform, shoes, a notebook and a pencil or pen. Not all families can afford even this much and for orphans it would be impossible without help. No child should be without an education because they do not have those things. We also work with the schools to improve conditions where necessary.
Note: Hope Through Opportunity is a registered California non-profit and is not associated with any other Hope Through Opportunity NGO in Tanzania or elsewhere