Tanzanian Overview

Tanzania is located in sub-Saharan Eastern Africa and is bordered by the Indian Ocean in the east. It is surrounded by the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. It's size is 440,000 square miles and has a population of 50,000,000 of which youths comprise 56% of the population. Tanzania is regarded as a poor country with an emerging economy with a per capita income of $ .

Previously colonized by Great Britain Tanzania gained it's independence in 1961. Fifty-one percent of the population are Muslim while Christians make up 46% and the rest are comprised of various religious groups.

Since their independence, Tanzanian youth have not been a priority evidenced by the lack of meaningful support programs for disadvantaged youths.

The Challenges Facing Tanzanian Youths

Poverty and disease caused many Tanzanian children to lose their parents and become orphans. While many of these children live with grandparents or other relatives, others care for themselves and their siblings. Lack of support and parental supervision puts these children at risk.

Most of the children attend mandatory government elementary schools up to the 7th grade, however many of them drop out before completing. When not engaged in school they are left on their own and end up engaging in negative activities in the streets where some are recruited by gangs or fanatical religious groups who will use them to harm others. Young girls are vulnerable to exploitation by adults who may involve them in child labor or sexual abuse.

Child labor is a serious problem affecting youths in developing countries where children under 12 years old are forced to work in mining businesses and plantations.

Drug abuse is a fast growing problem for young people in developing countries such as Tanzania. Many of them are forced to sell drugs and eventually become drug users themselves.

Internet technology is creating other problems such as pornography and video games promoting sex and violence. Young people are exposed to these by adults whose intentions are to further exploit them.

The most heart breaking dilemma these children face is when they are recruited by warlords in some countries of Africa and trained as child soldiers to fight in their tribal wars.

Without positive reinforcement, community support, mentorship and access to technology, Tanzanian youths are at a huge disadvantage. They cannot see a bright future because all around them is darkness and despair.

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