Issue No.   

August – December 2015

Dear Partner and Friend of the Baba Watoto Centre and the FIT FOR LIFE project

Welcome to our fifth newsletter about the project FIT FOR LIFE - Educating vulnerable youngsters from Tanzania in the arts and creative industries. The project is funded by the European Union and was launched in March 2013 at the Babawatoto Centre in Mburahati, Dar es Salaam.

The Goethe-Institut Tanzania is a coordinator with partners Parapanda Theatre Lab Trust, and the the ICC ufaFabrik, Berlin.

The project started in March 2013 with the preparation for THE BIG WHEEL, the first international artistic Workshop meeting, which kicked off in June 10, 2013. Over 60 children and youngsters participated in the first THE BIG WHEEL.


FIT FOR LIFE provides courses in acrobatics techniques, Samba Reggae Music, Trapeze and juggling every week to 28 regular attending participants. From the observation of the progress of the participants the courses are doing well.

Mwanaidi Salehe, one of the trainers says that “The children have improved their juggling capacity from three balls to four and even up to five". She also said that three children from the participants have mastered different juggling style and movements. Apparently girls who attend the courses prefer yoga and the trapeze and hence the juggling course has few girls.

Alex and Shomary prefer all the participants in the acrobatics courses as much as it does not help to develop a performance. However, they decided to have the group of participants exercise in one session and later separate the group for somersaults and pyramids.

During the December holidays, six newcomers joined the courses. The newcomers wanted learn acrobatics until January when they have to go back to school. 

The Samba Reggae course created an extra band with five participants apart from the ordinary classes. With this band Shabo and Daud Joseph tried to fuse the use of a guitar, drums and singing to give the music a different tone. The band practises on Fridays and Saturdays. The band members are Mwajabu Omary, Mwanaidi Salehe, Amjed David, Adam Seleman and Christina.



The Fit for Life team conducted six street performances in Mburahati to educate the community close to the centre about Cholera prevention methods. The artists from Babawatoto Centre used Samba Reggae, acrobatics and short drama to raise awareness about proper hygiene habits to stem the spread of cholera in Mburahati, Kilimahewa and Kwa Jongo Streets.

The FFL team stages performances at end or start of each month in the areas close to the centre. Performances of the team showed always creativity and competence. The children of Babawatoto Centre regular stage performances at the grounds of Kwa Bubu, Mburahati, TGNP, Mabibo, Mwalimu Nyerere Primary School, Makumila and Kasulu, also in Mburahati.

The team performed for an Indian wedding at the White Sands Hotel and during a graduation ceremony at the College for Accountants in Sinza.

The Babawatoto Centre performed also at the International Youth Day at the Mnazi Mmoja ground.

About 5.350 people attended these performances staged by the centre. After some of the performances especially those announced to the public the number of children who want to join the courses increases.


Study Visits

Blantyre Arts Festival, Malawi

The 7th edition of the Blantyre Arts Festival took place from the 02.- 04. October 2015. The theme for the Festival was ART CAN DO IT.

The Babawatoto Fit for Life group went to the festival with 17 participants. Their 50 minutes long performance on the 3rd October 2015 awoke the Blantyre audience. The host crowd was fascinated by the trapeze and Samba Reggae music. Emmanuel Kamuhanya, the festival organizer, and the audience asked the group to perform on another day. More than 200 people attended the performances.

The team also conducted a workshop at the Smarton private school.
Mwanaidi participated in a sound and media workshop during the last day of the festival.

The children also enjoyed the trip passing through Mikumi National Park.

Kigamboni Community Centre

Fit for Life visited the Kigamboni Community Centre, KCC, from the 14. - 19. December 2015 and had seven workshops for the FFL and KCC children. The workshops attracted more participants  than the expected invited 20 children.

The FFL trainers took charge of coaching acrobatics, juggling, Samba Reggae and Trapeze while KCC facilitate drama, traditional and modern dance. The study visit was contributed to strengthen the artistic between KCC and FFL children and youth. The presentation after performance had more than 150 people who used to come to the centre each Saturday for watching shows.

The Kigamboni community was very attracted by the Samba Reggae Music. Trapeze was a new thing to be shown at KCC centre. KCC wants to establish the trapeze and juggling courses in the centre. FFL like Drama and traditional dance which nowadays Babawatoto offer to the children. Hussein Said said “I like the drama class, I miss it in Babawatoto, we need more time for this and please Mr. Mkude lets start drama class in our centre as well”

Above: The Parent committee


Voice of a Participant

Mwanaidi Salehe is a 20 years old, completed her Primary school education at the Karume Primary School in Dar es Salaam. She joined Babawatoto Centre in 2009 after completing here education.



What I learned and I liked

Since I joined the centre I have learned different traditional dances, acrobatics, and sewing. Under the FIT FOR LIFE project I have learned also about stage sound and light and costume tailoring which I think are very useful for me as a woman later in life. For example after the tailoring training I sewed a gown for my mother. That helped us to improve in our relationship and help her understand what I do at the centre.

Another thing I like about being part of FIT FOR LIFE and Babawatoto Centre that I have met artists from Germany, Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania. Moreover, I have performed in different shows here in Dar es Salaam, Busara Festival at Zanzibar, Bagamoyo Art Festival at Bagamoyo, and Blantyre Arts Festival at Malawi and Uganda.

The Challenge and Benefits

My mother did not like the idea of me attending courses at the centre. However my father encouraged me continue to attend the programs. They witnessed my progress since I joined the centre after completing primary school. Today she sees the benefits and considers me as changed girl.

Under FIT FOR LIFE I was appointed as a Co-trainer for juggling. This chance provided me with  income earning opportunity. I have bought a sewing machine, furniture and contributes regularly to expenses at home. My mother bought an embroidery sewing machine for me.

I feel lucky to be part of Babawatoto Centre and FIT FOR LIFE because of the plenty of learning opportunities in arts and life skills. I went to Berlin, Germany for an internship with the ufaFabrik to learn about sound and lighting. My mother was happy for me to be selected for the trip. My father did not believe me until I sent him a photo from Berlin.

I love my juggling class and I work hard to understand the juggling because I would like to be an International artist of juggling. I have to thank my teachers, Mr. Mkude Kilosa, Mr. Nelson John and Mrs. Habiba Issa to teach and mentor me.


Saturday, February 27, 2016, 10am - 8pm

Big Children Circus Festival at Nafasi Art Space!


Meet the team behind the project by visiting our website http://babawatotofitforlife.net/the-team

Dar es Salaam, January, 2016
Habiba Issa
Project Manager


This project is funded by the European Union. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.