The story of Maria Aloise
The evening of the 7th of February 2016 will never be forgotten in the family of Mr. Aloise. Maria the second daughter of Mr. Aloise was brutally attacked by her “boyfriend”, and she lost both her breasts. She was five month pregnant by then. The pregnancy was the reason for it all.
Maria Aloise lives in Ghona village. Ghona village is among the six villages that form the East Kahe ward in Moshi rural district where KiliTech has centered its community development project activities. Maria is a mentally challenged young girl in her mid-twenties. She has two children, one girl aged 7 years old and another who is just over three months old. Maria just like any other young women in Ghona village in East Kahe ward wanted to have a family, and raise her own children. Unfortunately she is mentally challenged and cannot find a suitable suitor who would marry her. She has not gone to school because of her condition. It is a condition that has affected her entire family which consists of two brothers, and two sisters including Maria, her father, Mr. Aloise and mother.
The family has not been living together as a unit because Maria’s mother could not put up with the situation at her home so she separated from her husband, Mr. Aloise who passed away soon after Maria gave birth to her second daughter. The family is very poor and they have to struggle to afford for at least one meal a day.
When hearing the news of her pregnancy the alleged boyfriend who did not want to be associated with someone who is not of sound mind decided to do something about it. According to the village chairman Mr. Shwaibu, Maria has been a victim of sexual abuse for some time now and because of her condition she cannot really convey what is really happening to her or at least have someone who will listen and believe her, "it has been really tough for her" he says. This attack on her is among other atrocities she has endured, not to mention her mental condition and the poverty surrounding her. On the quick look of things it seems as though the community has failed people like Maria in the community and something needs to be done.
Things changed though in her community after her assault, the village came together under the ward councilor Mr. Kamili. The perpetrator was apprehended, and Maria was rushed to the hospital where she received treatment. The community rallied together to pay her hospital bills, and made sure that she had enough food.
Her assailant is still under police custody pending his trial. The ward councilor Mr. Kamili is working closely with the Ghona village office and together with the Kilimanjaro Region Commissioner to make sure that, Maria’s assailant does not go unpunished and this will serve as lesson to others who have the tendency of committing acts of violence on women and girls.
In the month of October she gave birth to a baby girl, but her home was badly damaged and she had no place to take her new born child. Regional commissioner Mr. Mecky Said stepped in and offered to take her child to an orphanage in Moshi and her seven year old daughter to a boarding school. On the other hand the Tanzania Women Research Foundation (TAWREF) decided to build a new house for Maria and her family and the village government under Mr. Shwaibu brought the family to live together. The house is two bed-roomed with one sitting room. It does not have a kitchen they are using their old house as the kitchen, they also do not have a toilet. However the village has begun digging the sewage tank and the Regional Commissioner has pledged six iron sheets for the toilet when the village finishes the toilet construction.
According to the Ghona village chairperson, this has been difficult to do by the village as the villagers have supported Maria’s family for quite a while now and he feels that the construction of the toilet may take too long to be completed. So only three meters of the septic tank have been dug by the villagers out of the at least six meters required by law. The house also has no running water or power.
KiliTech is staying at the top of this story as it develops and at the moment it’s supporting the Kahe East ward councilor Mr. Kamili Mmbando in running a campaign against women violence, with all its forms, from domestic violence, early child pregnancies in school children, Female Genital Mutilation and women maternal health care.
If you want to make a donation to help Maria, please contact Laurel, KiliTech president and founder at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Mr. Shwaibu, Ghona village chairperson.
Written by: Nashon Chacha, KiliTech Senior Project Manager.