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Jacqueline de Bruijn, Monique and Matti Emondts first met in 2018 via their mutual involvement in Happy Watoto. At the time, Jacqueline was already supporting a group of mothers of Happy Watoto children by offering small donations, which they could use to start their own companies.

Monique had already been involved for years as sponsor of Happy Watoto and had also gained experience in Tanzania through her involvement as an expert at Sibusiso (a project for kids in Tanzania with multiple disabilities). Matti had just completed twelve years of board membership at Happy Watoto, of which nine as Chairman.

Together, they have joined forces to structurally improve the living conditions of underprivileged Tanzanian women and Happy Watoto graduates. Their mutual goal? Offering the opportunity to become financially independent and sustainable by providing microcredits.

This activity was placed in a new foundation: Pamoja Nguvu. In Kiswahili, the local language in Tanzania, this translates to: Strong Together! Fred Arp, the treasurer of the Happy Watoto foundation, was also willing to join the board of Pamoja Nguvu. This helped a lot in realizing the integration with Happy Watoto.

After a period of intense preparation, the hiring our first project manager, Irene Peter, marked the start of the project. She has studied social work in Arusha (Tanzania) and she is one of the first children from the Happy Watoto orphanages, Kikatiti. For the founders of Pamoja Nguvu, this makes the project full circle.

In June 2019, the arrival of Fathma Mwidanyi has further strengthened the team. Originally from Arusha, Fathma studied in Nairobi and speaks fluent English. In addition, she also has experience working with foreign NGO’s and with providing microcredits.And in April 2020, Jesca Josephat joined Pamoja Nguvu as a Project Coordinator. Jesca has worked for a Tanzanian bank microcredit organization and as a teacher. Jesca also lives in Arusha.

During the start-up phase, Pamoja Nguvu has received a lot of support from Marjolein de Rooij, a Dutch citizen living in Arusha, Tanzania. We can continue to count on her support until she returns to the Netherlands.