These experiences of childhood are what mold us and make us who we are. How you translate the life you see, feel, smell, and touch as you grow up – the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the food you eat are what you become. –Dr. Wangari Maathai
With few social welfare services available in Tanzania for vulnerable children, One Heart Source began in 2008 with the establishment of a home for children who have been abandoned or orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The goal was, and still remains, to provide not simply a place to live, but a family for these children.
Since its humble beginnings, the OHS Children’s Home has continued to grow as a place of peace, as the children of OHS develop a healthy sense of self, community, and purpose.
A wise person once said, “If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.” Through stories, we learn from those who have come before us. In the unbroken chain of oral tradition strong in Tanzanian culture, we pass on to our children what we learned from our parents and their parents, from our culture, from our lives. Our kids learn of things unwritten—of fables and personal history—why the zebra has stripes, how this family came to be, how the world has changed in forty years. Our permanent in-house staff is an unbeatable team of people from all walks of life; they are the core family deeply devoted to the kids and their every well-being.
Exercise & Health
Daily physical fitness promotes both physical and mental growth. The OHS Children’s Home has a full outdoor soccer field, grassy play area, swing set, and home-built jungle gym. Whenever they are not studying, you will almost always find our kids playing outside. Exercise is not only fun, but encourages kids to develop a healthy sense of sportsmanship, teamwork, and competition.
As a center focused on [sustainability][link:Sustainability], it is essential that our children understand from an early age where
food comes from. Tending to plants and animals on site generates respect for the cycles of life which provide the food we eat. We take this aspect of our children’s education as seriously as any other and incorporate the outdoors as the best biology textbook. The kids love to garden and each of the older children has their own patch of crops, often competing with each other to see who can grow the most mboga.
One Heart Source is a home like any other – the kids share in home responsibilities such as helping to prepare meals, cleaning their rooms, and taking care of the younger children. Collectively working to keep the house organized and on track builds each child’s sense of ownership and responsibility for themselves, their home, and family.
We celebrate Tanzanian holidays and Barack Obama’s election. We eat wali maharague and stir-fry. Living in a multi-ethnic, multi-national home means our kids get a taste and appreciation of different cultures. With on site internet capability, we can watch everything from Esperanza Spalding to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. The world is at our fingertips.