Name: Baraka Philipo
Age: 26yrs old
Project location: Kilasilo, Kyela, Mbeya, Tanzania
Beneficiary target group: orphan and vulnerable youth support
Registered with TMT Tanzania: 2004.

I was raised in a poor and hopeless family. My mother was a widow. I missed meals, missed school fees and often walked without shoes. Life had no hope. After I completed my primary education I was selected to join secondary school and then life became much harder for me. Secondary school fees were unaffordable.
I remember it was July 2004 when I was selected by my community leaders to receive The Mango Tree’s support. I had been forced to stay at home for seven months due to our inability to pay fees. The Mango Tree funded all my school requirements and I was able to study with confidence with no disturbance of being chased away because of lacking fees, or books or school uniform. They encouraged me to work hard. I passed my Form Four exams, joined Malangali high school in Iringa region to study A levels, and then went to the University of Dar es Salaam, where I managed to graduate with a BA in Journalism.

After completion of my degree program, I decided to return to Kyela District and volunteer at The Mango Tree’s newly constructed Kyela Polytechnic College. It was a way of showing my appreciation and giving back my services to my poor community. After a year of volunteering I managed to secure a full-time job at the College as a Journalism Tutor and College Marketing Manager.

With the regular income I am now earning I am sponsoring my two younger brothers to study. One is taking a basic certificate in electrical installation at KPC and the other is still in Form 2 at Ikimba Secondary School.
When I think of the long journey of my life, I see the image of my poor mother trying to raise her family alone and with nothing, and I cannot believe how much I have achieved and how far I have come with the help of The Mango Tree.