A labor of love
What I’m doing is answering the call. What God is saying is not to be a stumbling block to the children, because He really loves them. — Happiness Wambura
In the 1990s, Happiness Wambura was like many Tanzanian mothers. Though her husband had a job, it was sometimes a struggle to feed her five children. One day, as she shopped for food in downtown Arusha, Happiness saw children of beggars running in the streets. “There were two girls, twins,” she said. “They were about the same age of as my own children.” God spoke to her, exhorting her to help. She began bringing food to the street children whenever she could.
In 1998, Mama Wambura’s ministry became LOHADA. She gathered children of disabled parents under a large tree in the town center. She played and sang with them while their parents begged.
LOHADA was officially registered in October 2000. Donations allowed operations to move to a row of rented rooms, then to a house. Now, LOHADA has four centers, Camp Moses, built in Arusha in 2004, is home to 60 children under 7 years of age who have been orphaned, abandoned, abused or subject to extreme poverty. Camp Joshua Christian School opened in 2005; it is a primary school for 120 children, mostly from Unga Limited and other nearby slums. About 85 students board at the school. Camp Patmos, in the rural region of Shinyanga, serves marginalized children and destitute elderly people who have been chased from their homes after being accused of witchcraft.
LOHADA is funded entirely by donations, both from Tanzanians and international donors. LOHADA continually works to become more sustainable with projects such as raising chickens and developing education programs that can attract paying students.