Preaching the religion of love and God, who is the God for all regardless of tribe and colour, is the motto of a faith-based and nongovernmental organisation, Sathya Sai International Organisation of Tanzania (SSIOT). It doesn’t remain just a written motto or simply spoken, but SSIOT has been putting it into practice, which speaks louder than words when it comes to caring for those in need. This translated into doing selfless service, serving humanity.
On April 25, this year, SSIOT went out to show love by offering selfless service to needy pupils and elderly Dar es Salaam Region. These were some poor families in Kinondoni District and children with special needs in Ilala District. SSIOT started at Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School where it went to break the fast with about 100 schoolchildren during this Holy Month of Ramadan observed by Muslims.
“Service to fellow humans is service to God. This is our fundamental principle and goal,” said SSIOT Chairman Nathumal Sajnani during a charity walk in Dar es Salaam. He said the charity event was part of the 10th anniversary of former Indian Guru and spiritual leader, Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
“That’s why we all have congregated at Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School in Gerezani area to offer charity service as a token of love,” he said.
Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School is in Ilala Municipal Council. It has pupils with special needs. Most of them are visually impaired, while others have both visual and hearing impairment, mentally challenged and those with physical impairment. All of them are at different levels of primary education.
Mr Sajnani explained further that his nongovernmental organisation had been supporting this school from the early 1970s, but official support took place in 1992.
“From 1992 to date, we have been providing three meals a day, starting with breakfast, lunch and dinner for boarding schoolchildren. Day pupils are served with breakfast and lunch,” Mr Sajnani added.
For boarding schoolchildren, SSIOT ensures boarding school facilities are in good state and are accessible by all. “We always ensure that there are adequate beds and bedding materials for each pupil and this is done in collaboration with the government, mainly through Ilala Municipal Council,” he pointed out. Since 1992 SSIOT has also been implementing many humanitarian projects, including healthcare fairs, donations of foodstuffs and spiritual programmes. Recently, SSIOT donated 10 computers with special software to be used by pupils with visual impairment for learning and other related activities.
It also sponsored drilling of a bore well for supplying water to four dormitories used by pupils with special needs at Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School. Not only that, SSIOT does regular maintenance of dormitories to ensure safe, secure and user-friendly facilities.
The nongovernmental organisation looks forward to working hard to link Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary Schoolchildren with relevant Indian educational institutions to intensify learning through exchange programmes. In 2010, eight pupils with visual impairment and one specialist teacher visited two schools of visually impaired children in Bangalore, India.
To simplify cooking at Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School, SSIOT plans to install modern energy saving cooking pots in the kitchen. The facilities are environmentally-friendly as they mitigate to a great extent adverse environmental effects such as air pollution. Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School is one of the oldest educational institutions in Tanzania.
It was established in the city of Dar es Salaam in 1921 and was the first to accept pupils with disabilities to learn alongside other children in classrooms. Some of the school’s male and female pupils are visually impaired, some are both visually impaired and with hearing impairment, while others have learning disabilities.
In another development, SSIOT donated foodstuffs to 100 needy families mainly from Kigogo in Mabibo District in the commercial capital city of Dar es Salaam. Mr Sajnani said the donation was part of commemorating oneness of humanity and God’s action and it included sugar, flour, beans and rice, went to elderly households. Previously, other needy families totalling 120 had been given mosquito nets to protect themselves against mosquito bites and minimises chances of contracting malaria.
“We thank SSIOT for their generosity. I will at least have a different meal to feed my grandchildren with different dishes,” said Ms Amina Ali, a resident of Kigogo after she received some foodstuffs.
Besides SSIOT Chairman Mr Sajnani, others present during the donation were members of the faith and the board of trustees. SSIOT members are people from different walks of life - professional managers, businesspeople, engineers, bankers and so on. SSIOT’s mythology is to love all and serve all principles of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Mr Sajnani said: “all this was done to people as there was only one language of the heart, only one caste which is the caste of humanity."