Letty McMaster, 26, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was only 18. The work would last for just a month, but it changed his life forever. She ended up living for three years to help the children she had met and accepted nine young people left homeless when the orphanage closed.
After volunteering at an orphanage in her gap year, a young British woman took in 14 Tanzanian children she encountered. When she volunteered at an orphanage in Africa.
As of 2020, She is 26 years old.
When she traveled to Tanzania with a mission to work at an orphanage for a month before going home to university, Letty had just completed her A-levels in 2013.
Letty McMaster Adopts 14 African Orphans After Gap Year Trip To Africa Full Details
She ended up remaining in support of the children she had met for three years, and when the orphanage shut down, Letty took in nine young people who would be left homeless.
Seven years later, after becoming their legal guardian for Both, she lives with the twins-as well as five more twins she met on the streets or in a safe house she runs.
Letty, from The Wells of Tunbridge, Kent said: “These children are my whole life, I raise them all on my own and they keep me going through the long hours of juggling everything.
“I’d always had in mind that I wanted to help street children so my family and friends weren’t surprised but I never expected to end up doing all this. “I am the parental figure in the house – some of the little boys who never had a parent view me as their mum but most see me more as a big sister as I’m not that much older than some of them.
“I’m just like any mum raising teenagers – I made a commitment to them and I just feel so blessed to have two families!”
But she said she soon discovered that the children were being physically and psychologically exploited, alleging that workers only fed the children once a day and pocketed the money donated by visitors for schooling. Letty said: “I chose to fly to Tanzania after seeing figures that showed hundreds of thousands of children living on the streets.
“Voluntourism and white saviourism at this orphanage is why I’ve done all this.
“I saw the awfully damaging impact it was having on the children and how it was fueling an ongoing cycle of abuse.
“Many orphanages are like this – it’s all just a money making scheme and an exploitation of the children.
“The kids still don’t understand it and I’m sure the Westerners had no idea – they thought they were helping but were actually causing so much damage.
“The abuse the children were going through in the orphanage was horrendous and I saw the impact that it had on the kids and knew immediately something had to change.
“I couldn’t leave them in that situation so my new goal was to get them a family home.”
Letty struggled for the right to open her own home in Iringa when the orphanage was closed by the council in 2016 since the nine children were left homeless.
As the UK registered charity, she founded Street Children Iringa and took another five children into her home after meeting them on the streets and through the safe house she runs.
When she first met them, none of the kids were attending school and lived between the streets and the orphanage, but after moving into Letty’s house, their lives have changed tremendously.
In the middle of winter, one of her boys, Eliah, was found on the streets wearing only a t-shirt after his mum passed away. He’s now among the top 20 pupils in his school year. For days, Fred, 11, had not eaten before he was found cowering in a landfill.
He moved to the family home in 2016 and, with his music being played on local radio stations, is now a talented boxer and musician. Letty said: “Since having a place to call home, they have all excelled in education and in every aspect of their lives.
“Gosberth is one of the boys that I’ve looked after for the past seven years and is now studying at one of the top private schools in the country and is the number one pupil in his year.
“Eva is 19 and is chairperson of her year at university – she’s doing so well and has got a volunteer internship with an international NGO.
“Obviously it takes time to settle into the house from street life and traumatic experiences and it can take a while to get them into family life, routine and leaving street behaviour behind.
“Razarlo is studying to become a tour guide at the national park whilst Plshon and Iddy have recorded music that is played on local radios.
“Seeing their drive, determination and success is what makes all the balancing that I have to do worth it.”
She takes to the streets at night, accompanied by the oldest boys in her house, to locate abandoned children in need. Letty said: “There are always more children that need help out here in Tanzania.
“The most challenging part in what I do is securing the funding to support all of this.
“Over the next five years, my plan is to help as many children off the streets as possible.
“If these children are not guided on a path, they very often get caught up in gangs, drug violence and criminal activities with the risk of jail or even ending up dead.
“The more donations the charity is able to get, the more children and young adults that are supported in a life off the streets.”
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