The Carpenter’s Kids Program was developed by the Anglican Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo and his wife Irene in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in Tanzania to support HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children within the Diocese. The program gave each Carpenter’s Kid a school uniform, shoes, and adequate school supplies to enable them to attend school. The children were also given breakfast on school days, and support in medical emergencies. Most were in primary school, but some at secondary school.
The Parish of Manuka was assigned to help Matumbulu Parish support 50 Carpenter’s kids in school over two consecutive five-year periods (2008-18). The Parish of Manuka raised all the funds needed and assisted with other gifts such as solar-powered personal study lights as there was no electricity in the village.
Our Parish may have been the only Australian Anglican parish with an ongoing commitment to the program. While the major international partners for Carpenter’s Kids were from the US, UK, New Zealand, Canada and elsewhere, it was and continues to be led by the church in Tanzania – Africans on the ground responding to African needs at a grassroots level.
Our faith has been built on hope and God’s promise that there is always a new chance. Reports from Tanzania bear this out. Above all, it appears that sponsored children have been doing better than the national average in exams. This is extraordinary, given the difficult circumstances in which they live.
On 2 April 2017, the Parish reviewed the progress of the CKP. Having met all the commitments to the Parish of Matumbulu, there was a desire in our Parish to work in a number of important new directions. These were developed into a program of activities by a new team, the Community Outreach Group, whose 2017 proposal to the Parish Council was approved and a new international program in the Solomon Islands was commenced in early 2018.