After considerable research and advice in 2001 and 2002 we chose to set up the Mango Tree in the Kyela District of Tanzania, along the border with Malawi. Why?
- The region is extremely poor, but it does have a local economy that could potentially employ the kids we help. We have seen the economy expand over the last eight years.
- At least 1 in 5 people in the district are HIV positive
- The border crossing into and out from Malawi and Zambia were closed at night and thus many of the truck drivers and traders stayed in the local area in Kyela and slept with the local women and bar girls in the cheap hostels.
- There was no one else there to help the large numbers of orphans that were located in the area. Other small NGOs came and went but none stayed to secure the long term future of the children.
For several years The Mango Tree was constantly being asked whether it would stay and help or would it go away like the other projects that came to Kyela. Nine years later and The Mango Tree is certainly there and involved for the long term. The local village communities were keen to become involved and the aim of it being a local solution to a local problem delivered by local people was quickly embedded. The Mango Tree director is Andilile Ibrahim and he has established a very impressive working model for orphan care and is widely respected in the area. He is looked upon as the father of ther Mango Tree in the local community and he is held in great respect by the orphans, the guardians, the volunteers and the local government officals too. A couple of years ago he hosted the Tanzanian President when The Mango Tree education branch opened its central library in Kyela!