One night in 1999, Sister Crispina Mnate went to bed in her small home in Arusha, Tanzania, and dreamt of finding an infant abandoned, left to die in the bush. The next morning she woke and headed into town for her job as a nurse at a local hospital. En route, she saw a crowd of people huddled around the side of the road where there lay a baby in a bag. She pushed through, picked up the child and started running towards the hospital. The child died in her arms. The next night she dreamed of finding a baby abandoned in a garbage heap. She woke highly concerned and decided to take a different route to work. On the way, she again saw a group of people crowding a garbage pile and in it was a dead child. The third night the dream came again and the third day her dream came true, again. Sister went to consult with a trusted local priest to decide what to do. After weeks of intense prayer, she decided that God was calling her to rescue and care for discarded and abandoned children — those with no family to care for them and no other chance for life.
That priest, Father Babu, gave Sister three acres of land and the equivalent of ~$20 USD. She used the money to purchase concrete and began laying the foundation for the first dormitory. From there, Good Samaritans began bringing her babies and children that were orphaned and abandoned in local villages. For years, the children survived only because every morning before sunrise Sister would wake and walk the two-plus hours each way back and forth to Arusha town where she would go door to door begging for clothes, food and education money for the children.
Sister Crispina and her story was brought to the attention of Unite The World With Africa Foundation in 2013. We first visited Sister and St. Joseph's in January 2014 and our work together has been consistent and growing ever since. Sister's joy for life is infectious; her unwavering faith powerful beyond measure; and her devotion and commitment to each and every one of her now 55 children, ages 2 to 26, inspirational and motivating.
Since 2014, Unite has renovated and painted the buildings; built an on-site health clinic; built toilets and shower blocks for the boys and girls; purchased beds, mattresses, mosquito nets, solar lamps, clothes, shoes, books, computers, printers, medicines, and more; installed industrial stoves and built out a proper kitchen and outdoor covered eating area; installed comprehensive rainwater harvesting systems, tanks, filters and and pumps for potable water; constructed a wall to separate the orphanage from the neighboring Heaven School, which we built on the same compound; built out an indoor and outdoor laundry; and much more.
In May 2017 we brought TANESCO power to St. Joseph's Orphanage and now the orphans have electricity for the first time in their lives. In October 2017 we completed the building of a 10-foot security wall to enclose and protect the ~5 acre campus. The timing of the wall was critical as the Tanzanian government is in the process of building the East Africa Highway that is passing directly behind Heaven School. Currently we are in the process of building a proper staff house for the workers who live at the St. Joseph's Orphans Center and a small volunteer house for Unite visitors and volunteers to live/work on campus.
Ongoing campaigns include:
- Securing enough sponsors for our Education Fund. Sister Crispina is committed to providing her children a private, English education through college/university to ensure them the greatest chance of success in life. Government schools, although less costly, oftentimes suffer the challenges of extreme poverty; lack of proper infrastructure, resources, and experienced teachers; and overcrowding. The budget to educate and provide for these 55 children exceeds $125,000 a year.