AT least 80,000 children in the Lake Zone have benefited from health insurance services under the sponsorship of Compassion International Tanzania (CIT), a religious organisation, whose main activity is to support poverty alleviation efforts in the country.
CIT Director Mary Lema revealed this at the weekend during the 2020 Pastors' Forum attended by various religious leaders. The leaders met to discuss how to improve services provided to children from poor families.
"Fitness is one of the crucial activities in our programmes. That is why we offer insurance cards to make sure every child stays healthy," she said, adding: "Not only in the Lake Zone, but also children in other parts of Tanzania are covered in various ways. The organisation has been collaborating with about 500 evangelical churches, with over 112,000 children being reached so far country-wide."
According to her, about five million children and young people are expected to be served through various CIT poverty alleviation projects, mostly in health, education, nutrition, water, environment, sanitation and life skills.
The director said serving children was a cross-cutting issue, calling upon other stakeholders to join forces.
"That is why CIT collaborates with churches to address challenges facing children and young people in 21 regions of Mainland Tanzania."
Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania (FPCT) supervisor in Chato District, Geita region, Pastor Reuben Elias said over 200 children had been assisted, especially in the provision of stationery and other needs.
Pastor Elihuruma Swai from Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) in Mwanza noted that through CIT many children had been supported from nursery to university level.
"Those who fail to continue with tertiary education have been supported through entrepreneurship programmes, as some are engaged in carpentry and masonry, while others are small-scale traders.
One of the beneficiaries, Ms Magreth Erenutus from Lugeye Village in Magu District, Mwanza Region, said she was supported to study from nursery to university level.
According to her, she is a second year student at Saint Joseph University in Dar es Salaam, studying nursing.
"My dream will soon become true. I'm thankful to my sponsor."