Mainsprings was founded because of one simple question: Where are the girls? When Mainsprings Founder & CEO Chris Gates first visited Tanzania, he was working at a center for street boys. While there were several options in the area for boys in need, very little was being done to help those most vulnerable- the girls.

Many young girls are faced with impossible choices: endure abuse at the hands of male relatives in exchange for shelter or fend for themselves on the streets, begging or selling their bodies just to have food to eat. It’s a vicious cycle of poverty and abuse that has ruined thousands of lives. But, for more than 55 girls, Mainsprings has provided a way out.

Currently, nearly 48 girls call Mainsprings their home. It is not an orphanage. We believe children belong in families, and that’s why the Mainsprings residential model focuses on creating as close to a family environment as possible. The girls live in groups of 8 in apartment-style dorms with a matron, who provides the type of loving support every child deserves. Our girls are raised and educated to be independent, strong, capable leaders of tomorrow, with the ability to be changemakers in their communities.

As girls graduate from the Joseph & Mary Secondary School, Mainsprings continues to support them in their dreams of higher education, ultimately allowing these graduates to attend various universities and professional colleges and provides life-skills training as they transition to their new endeavors.

    • Girls’ Government: Many of the programs in Bibi Mimi’s Girls’ home are run by the girls themselves. A self-elected body of peers helps to not only keep our programs running smoothly, but teaches these young ladies the skills they need to be effective leaders.
    • Self-Defense Seminars
    • Extended Permaculture Lessons
    • Chores and Life-Skills Training
    • Evening Prayer Time
    • Family Planning and Reproductive Health Education
    • Extracurricular Clubs