Issue No. 6  

January - February 2016

Dear Partner and Friend of the Babawatoto Centre and the FIT FOR LIFE Project

Welcome to our sixth newsletter about "FIT FOR LIFE - Educating vulnerable youngsters from Tanzania in the arts and creative industries". The project was funded by the European Union and was launched in March 2013 at the Babawatoto Centre in Mburahati, Dar es Salaam. The EU funding ended on February 29, 2016.

The Goethe-Institut Tanzania was the coordinator with the partners Parapanda Theatre Lab Trust, and the the ICC ufaFabrik, Berlin. The Cambodian Culture and Arts Centre Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) was the associate partner.

The FIT FOR LIFE provided a forum to strengthen social skills, to develop cultural identity and to lead into the field of creative industries and secure stable national, regional and international network.

With the end of the EU-project all the achieved results in training, workshops and performances are now transferred to the BABAWATOTO CENTRE including equipment acquired during the three years. The children’s cultural centre is enabled to attract new exchange partners for its emerging artists and music groups.


We are happy to give you an overview of the last two month’s activities of FIT FOR LIFE.

The centre’s young acrobats and musicians had two end of the month performances at Shoka ground around the Mburahati community. About 1200 visitors from the community were attracted by each show which started at 4pm in the afternoon. Thirty children and youth performed advanced skills in acrobatics, juggling, trapeze, silk rope and Samba Reggae.

The performances were highly appreciated by the parents committee of the Babawatoto Centre, who agreed during the last meetings to support their children and the centre to assure the capacity, which they have reached, will reveal to other audiences. These shows became a convincing tool to motivate other parents to send their children to the centre.


The Sewing Class

During January and February 2016 the students in the sewing class were busy designing and sewing the costumes for the final festival of the project, which took place on Saturday, 27.02.2016 at the Nafasi Art Centre.

Swaumu Idd with experience in the sewing courses since 2013 showed the students how to design appropriate costumes to the needs of the artists. The class has one male and five female participants and continues to work for community needs.

She sat down with each local trainer to see what kind of material and style is suitable for the circus genres. Produced were costumes for juggling, acrobatics, samba reggae and trapeze.
The class also produced other product for sale which are laptop bags, children dresses, pyjamas, trousers, shirts and bags.


Technical Internship in Berlin

This last internship in the frame of the project was again facilitated in the technical department of the ufaFabrik Berlin from 5th January until 13th February 2016. It combined a beginner and an advanced training session for the two participants Amani Lukulli and Mohamed Ally. The facilitators were Mr. Ralph Frank (sound engineer) and Mrs. Tina Wolf (light designer).

Again one participant from the Parapanda Theatre participated a second time to deepen his knowledge. The advanced participant acted as a mentor for the young beginner from the Babawatoto Centre during the whole inventory phase in ufaFabrik. The workshops focused on security regulations while handling with electricity, cleaning, maintaining, handling and settings of sound and light equipment. This time they also produced a 30min video on these technical subjects.

After their return from the internship in Germany they conduct a 20-days-workshop for sound and light technics for beginners.

The younger intern is now following up an education to become an electrician at the VETA school in Dar es Salaam.

The Parents Committee

A parents committee was launched during the 4th Advocacy Forum. The members of the community decided to elect their committee to insure their support to the Babawatoto Centre and its activities.

The last two Fora were conducted to introduce the parents committee to the community, media and community leaders. On the agenda they discussed how to succeed in sustaining with the centre’s activities implemented during the FIT FOR LIFE.

The chairperson of the committee convinced the parents to donate for the centre and to bring their children to the Babawatoto centre to take advantage of the opportunities. The chairperson will also propose the primary schools around the centre to order their school uniforms from the Babawatoto Centre for a reasonable price.


Ongoing classes

Each of the Fit for Life classes has more than 20 children attending the courses every week. The acrobatic course seems to be the most attractive to the children for fitness reasons. This class is taking place every morning for youngster and other children who are not in school.

The juggling class added many disciplines including diabolo, monocycling, juggling with hats, blankets, tables and others. Meanwhile they need more time and space to accomplish all disciplines. The children like it so much that they continue practising even in extra times.

Eight girls and six boys practise trapeze and silk rope simultaneously each Saturday evening with the local trainers Aisha Kijavara and Mwajabu Omary.

Samba Reggae has two categories of the classes. There are beginner and advanced courses, the last one includes singing with an increasing repertoire.


Final presentation: The Children Circus Festival

The FIT FOR LIFE Children Circus Festival took place at Nafasi Art Space in Mikocheni on Saturday 27.02.2016. The Guest of honour was Ms. Leah Kihimbi, Director of Arts from the Ministry of Information, Culture, Sports and Youth.

Three more artistic groups who teach acrobatics for children and youth were invited to perform in the festival:  Shada Acrobatic Group (Bagamoyo), Kigamboni Cultural Centre (KCC) and the Safi Group (Ilala).

A multicultural crowd of more than 500 visitors came to attend the festival with their families and friends. The sewing class exhibited and offered their products for sale: dresses, pyjamas, laptop bags, shirts and trousers.

The festival day started with workshops in acrobatics, Samba Reggae, trapeze and silk, juggling and a seminar about child protection. Each workshop had more than 15 beginners coming from Laureate International School, DIA School as well as children of the community. The trainers from Babawatoto Centre, Shada Group, KCC and Safi Group facilitated the 1,5h workshops.

The festival partner from the “Save the Children Foundation”, Ms. Haika Harrison, conducted the child protection seminar about how children should be treated by parents and teachers.

After the workshops the festival performance programme started at 3pm. All artistic groups performed on a high artistical level and the audience enjoyed the presentation of the three year’s Fit for Life project results.


Voice of a Parent

Fatuma Abdallah is a 41 years old woman and she is Swaumu’s mother. She lives very close to the centre and she has two kids at the Babawatoto centre who are practising trapeze and Samba Reggae percussion. She points out that her children have changed their bad behaviour due to the activities they follow in the centre.

Swaumu used to spend her day time at the local video shacks and at night attended Vigodoro, local night music events, where she met children with dubious characters. Soon Swaumu started to refuse to do chores at home. She became a difficult child to raise. She would use foul languages and be rude to everyone, old and young alike. She stayed out in the streets the whole day and returned home at late night hours. She refused to go to Morogoro where her father wanted to send her to school.

Swaumu and her brother decided to go to Babawatoto and her mother met with Mr. Nelson John and Mkude to accept them into the programme. They changed a lot since they attended the FIT FOR LIFE project. It gave them opportunities to travel to Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, Uganda and Malawi – places they would not have had a chance to visit. They excel in acrobatics. Today Swaumu and her brother are energetic and healthy and even now attend school!

The FIT FOR LIFE project takes care of children and youth around Mburahati. The project provides opportunities and creates meaningful activities to keep the youth and children away from the street.

“My suggestion is to ask partners and Babawatoto staff to keep looking for support for our children. Through the Babawatoto I got inspired to assist  the centre by acquiring a market for school uniforms as a member of the parent committee. I also will donate an amount of money as agreed in the meeting to maintain our centre for our children.” says Fatuma


Follow up Fatuma's plea and check out how you want to support this wonderful project and contact

Habiba Issa, Project Manager: ffl.bbw@gmail.com | +255 715 165 448+255 715 165 448


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

Dar es Salaam, March 14, 2016
Habiba Issa
Project Manager


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