Hello, I am Koku

Koku is an extremely outgoing and charismatic 13 year old child. He came to Amani in February 2016, quickly making friends with all the children and caregivers with his eagerness to start a conversation. Koku didn’t decide to live on the streets but he reached a point in his life when he didn’t have any alternative.

Born in Simanjiro (northern Tanzania) to a family of farmers, Koku was going to school and living a simple but happy life. When he was 10 years old his uncle visited from Singida (200 km away) and suggested he could take Koku with him to Singida where, being a larger city, he could get a better education. Koku’ family, as with many rural families in Tanzania, was struggling to send all the children to school. Going to Singida seemed a good opportunity for Koku.

But his uncle’s intentions were not as good as he expressed. In Singida Koku was enrolled in school but he had to pay a high price for that chance. Every day after school his uncle made him work until after dark taking care of the livestock, leaving no time to study or do his homework. On top of that, his uncle didn’t give him any food, and he had to make do with the porridge he was given at school. After some months, Koku realized he could not go on like that.

But Koku didn’t have many options: he couldn’t communicate with his parents and had no money to go anywhere. So, what did he do? With great courage of heart, Koku simply left to try to find his way back home. When Gasper (one of our street educators) met Koku, he was in Arusha (500 km away from Singida) and he was stuck again. He had been in Arusha for some weeks and he was selling discarded plastic bottles to survive. After a whole day of picking bottles, he was lucky to get enough money for one basic meal.

It didn’t take long for Koku to seize the opportunity to come to Amani and today he is a happy child. Our social workers found his family and now everything is prepared for his reunification. Koku is looking forward to return home to be with his parents and siblings.