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Empowering Communities

Langoni Old People’s Home, Kilimanjaro

By July 26, 2016 No Comments
The Langoni Old People’s Home program was created as a solution to the lack of support of the vulnerable, elderly people in Moshi, Tanzania.
The Langoni Old People’s Home program was created as a solution to the lack of support of the vulnerable, elderly people in Moshi, near Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. With limited security and resources, they often find themselves the target of robberies and theft. Their limited access to health care can be problematic should any health issues arise. Elderly people are one of the most vulnerable groups in Tanzania, particularly those with no families or relatives to take care of them. Although, old folks’ homes are rare in East Africa as the culture is very family-oriented, those few that have no support network end up in state-run institutions that are often under-resourced and under-funded.

The elderly residents of Langoni Old People’s Home come from all over Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. Some cannot walk, some cannot speak and some are gravely ill. They have no family, little to call their own, and are dependent on the state for food and shelter. They live in very basic conditions in an underprivileged area and have access to very basic utilities and have limited access to healthcare. With limited resources, the staff that run the home often struggle to meet the needs of all of their elderly residents.

Security, a lack of a common space and rooms in disrepair: Elderly people need intellectual stimulation, social interaction and exercise for their mental and physical health. Residents of the home share small rooms and have no area to go to spend time together as a group. As a result of this, many residents spend their days in their rooms alone – not socializing or being active with others. Without a common area, the residents have no place to come together to share food, talk, relax, do exercises and play games.

Medical and funeral costs: The residents at the home often succumb to various illnesses, some minor and some more serious. Without proper medical care and medicine, the most minor of illnesses can develop into something more serious, and serious conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Part of this project is to ensure adequate access to medical care for the residents. In addition, it will also contribute towards funeral costs when the residents pass away. Funerals are always paid for privately, and if the residents have no personal funds or family to pay for them, they will be buried in an unmarked grave on government land.

Alongside African Impact we work with the residents on daily exercises, providing care and friendship. The fundraising efforts are for the building of a security wall, renovations of the rooms and a communal space.

Short-term Impact: The security fence will not only deter thieves from trying to break in to the home, it will also stop them from gaining access and targeting some of the vulnerable residents of the  home. The communal area will facilitate social interaction for the elderly residents, ensuring a safe space to come together to cook, share food and chat about their day. Any medical issues can be addressed as and when they arise, and respectful and culturally-appropriate funerals held for any residents who pass away.

Long-term Impact: In the long-term, both the security fence, communal area and renovation of the rooms will provide a safer, more secure environment for the elderly residents of Langoni Old People’s Home. The improved sense of security will have a profound impact on the mental health of the old people, as they will no longer be constantly in fear of thieves. It will also ensure their belongings and food supply are not stolen. The communal area will also have a meaningful effect on all aspects of their health and quality of life, as it will be nicely decorated and will provide a cheerful, safe environment to come together as part of their own little community.

On a more macro-level, it will also show the residents that there are people who care about them and their well-being. This peace of mind and sense that someone still cares about them is something that cannot be measured.

Located in northern Tanzania, Moshi is a small, well organized town in the Kilimanjaro region. Moshi is a vibrant town with a lot of character, history and culture. It has an urban population of approximately 200,000 people and 400,000 rural inhabitants. Moshi is the regional capital of the Kilimanjaro region. It’s economy strives predominately off small scale agriculture, the many coffee plantations and tourism. Many people come to Moshi for one thing – the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro. Moshi is the closest town to Kilimanjaro also known as ”the roof of Africa’.

The Old People’s Home is located in Langoni, a suburb of Moshi city. Langoni is a densely populated neighbourhood, located within walking distance of Moshi town. Houses are built closely together with many tenants in each house. This area of the town is known by many as being a ‘poor community’ which has a number of social issues at large including drug abuse, alcoholism and rampant theft.

Unemployment rates in Langoni are high, in terms of economics most people living a ‘day to day’ lifestyle – partaking in casual, informal labour. Located off the beaten tourism track, many locals from this community don’t often directly benefit from the flow of tourists which flock to Moshi town in order to see and or climb the famous Kilimanjaro. With such a wide variety of social issues at play, our adoptive grandparents in the Old People’s Home are often vulnerable and at risk of being victims of theft and petty crime.

In 2016 we completed the building of the security wall around the Home. This year we have been busy with renovations to each of the 17 rooms.