Tanzania is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa and worldwide. With over 120 ethnic groups and respective languages, the common language of Swahili binds Tanzanian society. The country is rich in biodiversity with a growing economy based on tourism, agriculture, and extraction of natural resources. Climate change and population growth, however, are forcing historically rural communities into cities where lack of economic opportunity is leading to dire urban poverty. Lay missioners currently work in areas along the shores of Lake Victoria in the cities of Musoma and Mwanza.
Young women with disabilities learn vocational skills at the Rosemiriam Dagg Center in Musoma. As part of their training, they learn to make and sell beautiful handicrafts. Children with disabilities stay at St. Justin’s Centre homestay facilities which enables them to attend a day-school nearby. Missioners also serve as educators within the government education system, working for greater accountability and justice.
At the Uzima Centre, lay missioners help people affected by HIV, including orphans, live in dignity. Missioners qualified as healthcare providers also serve in a rural hospital outside of Mwanza, and others offer training in use ofnatural medicines and occupational therapy for disabled children at the urban Mabatini Parish.
Justice and Peace
Missioners promote the rights of girls and women by supporting a diocesan shelter for children running from gender-based violence, and they help coordinate a diocesan forum on this issue. They also partner with local leaders on an alternative camp where girls escaping female genital mutilation can stay, and they enable girls to succeed in school through a high school preparation program with boarding facilities. Missioners have also provided assistance and advocacy related to vesicovaginal fistula.
Lay missioners offer spiritual counseling and contempative retreats for religious and local laity at the Lake House of Prayer, a “place of silence, solitude and simplicity” in the Mwanza diocese. Missioners have also served in campus ministry at the Catholic university in Mwanza and in partnership with a clinical pastoral chaplaincy training program at Bugando Hospital.
Our Missioners in Tanzania
Seven Maryknoll lay missioners who got their start in the Peace Corps compare notes about their experiences in both.
Samwel Chacha — from orphan to frontline COVID nurse and medical student
Maryknoll parish’s community health program tackles health insurance and other obstacles that prevent children with disabilities from accessing care