Ibada is a courageous 14-year old boy from Arusha in northern Tanzania. He is often distinguished by his missing front two teeth which were knocked out in a boda ‘motorbike taxi’ accident on the street and make his Swahili difficult to understand.
Ibada used to live with his father and younger brother, who was 5 years younger than him before his life took a dangerous turn for the worse. Although this was a hard life living in poverty, it was at least a relatively safe one.
However, Ibada started to skip school when his father went to work. He would beg for money or food on the streets to help support his poor family. Eventually, he decided he would be better off on the streets, trying to make a living for himself.
Once Ibada had run away to the streets, he quickly found out that life on the streets was worse than he could have ever imagined. Older boys used him to steal things, and he was regularly beaten up by other street children.
He continued begging but found he often didn't have enough money to eat and regularly had to sleep outside in the cold in gutters.
Ibada first met a street educator in early 2017, which was when he learned about, and started using, the Hope for Children drop-in Centre in town.
Initially, he would only use the Centre from time-to-time, but he liked it there because it was safe, and so he gradually started to make more regular appearances there as well as using the night shelter, also supported by Hope for Children.
He used the drop-in Centre for 6 months until he felt ready to transfer to our local partner's main centre in Moshi for more support. He was quickly identified by the psychological counsellor and education department as having a hyperactivity disorder and is currently studying in a class with specialist support.
Although he was 14, Ibada could not read, write or count at all when he first started learning at the centre , but now he is happy to sit for a full hour of class and enjoys showing people that he can write his full name.
Ibada now loves living within the safety of the local centre where children are treated well, and a sense of home is created to help them feel more comfortable. He now dreams of working as a mechanic one day and building a life for himself away from poverty.