Refuge the Mainsprings WayApril 26, 2018 1:08 pm
To continue our in-depth look at the pillars of Mainsprings, this week we would like to look at refuge, where our organization truly began. There are many things about Mainsprings that are different from other organizations around the world. For one, the diversity and holistic nature of our programs are extensive. After all, who would be crazy enough to run a school, clinic, girls’ home, permaculture and lodge all at the same time (and think about replicating it all). But, when you dive into each of these individual programs, there are several things that set us apart as well. Over these next couple of months, we are going to offer a series of blogs to help highlight some of these differences in our various ‘pillars’. And today, we are going to uncover just a few things that make our residential program here at Mainsprings so unique…
1. We are not an orphanage! We have written many individual blogs about this, but one of our least favorite words is the ‘O’ word. When many people conjure the image of an orphanage or orphan, they often think of an institution or a young person, completely void of hope, lost, and with little chance of a prosperous future. The girls in our residential program are far from this idea. They are strong, powerful, happy, and they all have individual dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. They are a part of a loving, thriving (albeit non-traditional) family, and they are OUR children. We do not kick them out when they get older, misbehave, or don’t do well. When a girl comes into our home, they are HOME!
2. Our girls are a part of a family! So many of the organizations in our area have large, dormitory-style buildings to house their children. Again, this ties back to the stereotype that so many organizations have when housing vulnerable children- they are institutions. When designing the Mainsprings dormitories, we wanted to make sure that every child is a part of a smaller family, which is why we designed our dorms to accommodate only eight girls, with each dorm being overseen by a matron. These matrons are mothers, making sure that each girl in her dorm is cared for, doing their chores and homework, and doing okay in every aspect of her life- just like any mother would do. These girls are sisters, they look out for each other and only occasionally bicker.
3. Girl Power! At the very core of Mainsprings’ promise lies the belief that more women in Tanzania need to be in power. We believe they are the change makers of tomorrow, they are the ones controlling the families, and they are the ones to have a true ripple effect across the country. That is why we have so many empowerment programs for our girls, ensuring they grow up to be strong, independent women capable of making true change in their society. We have a girls’ government where our girls learn the valuable skills of leadership through on-campus programs and off-campus training. We educate our girls in the art of self-defense, so they are never a victim or helpless. And, we make sure that all of our girls know about responsibility through chores, community service, and general care of each other.
4. Lifelong support! Because we are not an institution, our care for our girls doesn’t simply stop when they finish Secondary School. We are devoted to ensuring that all of our girls have the opportunity to realize their dreams and support them beyond just what our campus offers, Whether they dream of a trade, a professional college, or a four-year university, our social workers, staff, and supporters make sure that all of our girls are able to get a certificate or degree that enable them to secure solid, well-paying jobs to support their future families and lives. And, no matter how far they get away from our campus and programs, we are always there, always a family, and will always be able to counsel and support our girls in their lives to come.
We could go on and on about our various programs within our residential programs and what makes it so unique. We are excited about the type of change our residential girls will make in the future and we know that Tanzania will be a better place because of them. From once bleak futures, our residential program is providing brighter tomorrows for dozens of girls who are now determined to break the cycle of poverty and create brighter tomorrows…
This post was written by Mainsprings