Financial adoption of children with a mental disability in Tanzania

The Origins of the Umoja-Project

In 1999, Henny Schuurmans first went to Tanzania leading a group of students. In Dodoma Henny worked primarily as a volunteer in the technical school of Don Bosco. Dodoma is the official capital and lies in the center of Tanzania. She got to know various other volunteers and together they began the Umoja Project. She travelled annually to Tanzania to further support the technical school and was further confronted with the needs of the community.

In 2007 Henny travelled with her son to Shirimatunda, a small village near Moshi at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Despite the great poverty which they discovered there, they were touched by the friendliness and hospitality of the local population. The main impression from this visit was the daycare of children with disabilities. The center consisted of a few poorly built rooms and was truly pitiful.

On their return home, the group didn’t hesitate in creating a new project to help the community in Moshi.

They called it the “Umoja-Project”. Umoja means unity – being as one.

For a detailed version of our history please view the flipbook or download the PDF file.

The Beginnings of Umoja 2009.pdf