(Spotlight) Creating Brighter Futures: One Organization's Lasting Impact in Tanzania


The Tanzanian Children’s Fund (TCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based out of Boston. In 2003, TCF began pursuing an ambitious dream of empowering a community of 10,000 to find a path out of poverty.

After climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and falling in love with the country and its people, India Howell left her corporate life in New England in 1998 and moved permanently to Tanzania to manage a safari lodge. Through her work with the surrounding community, India recognized the growing number of orphans and at-risk children living in poverty. In 2004, she partnered with Peter Leon Mmassy to create a loving and permanent home for 17 orphaned children. With the help of the Tanzanian community and our dedicated supporters, that single house has expanded to become a vibrant Children’s Village for over 100 children and a thriving community-based organization providing free healthcare, quality education, and economic opportunity to those in a remote corner of Tanzania.  

India Howell and Peter Leon Mmassy enjoying spending time with their forever family at the Rift Valley Children’s Village.

The Rift Valley Children’s Village (RVCV) can be found on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site in the Oldeani region of Northern Tanzania. At RVCV, we are giving children a second chance at childhood. We provide a loving forever family, permanent home and support system through every step of development. In addition to providing legal guardianship to the children of RVCV, TCF works to promote the well-being of all children and families in our community. We provide access to high-quality education to over 900 students at our partner schools, free healthcare at our Rural Community Health Clinic where we see an average of 13 patients a day, and economic opportunity for over 700 members of our Rifty Economic Advancement Program (REAP).  

Today, in Tanzania nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line, there are only 3 doctors available for every 100,000 people, over 70% of children never enroll in secondary school, and over 3 million children are orphaned. Too many children and families in Tanzania do not have access to the opportunities they need and deserve. TCF is determined to change what life looks like for the next generation of Tanzanians. We refuse to simply treat the symptoms of generational poverty because we believe all children and families deserve more than the basics like food and shelter. Our community is full of boundless potential. They were just born in a place where opportunity is rare, but talent is plentiful.

Kizzie (right) loves hanging out with her older sister Coletha (left) at RVCV.

TCF invites individuals that share our vision of investing in childhood and community to become involved in creating brighter futures in Tanzania. We are always looking for volunteers and partners with a shared passion for helping those in need. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on our kids and community and to see how we have been managing the challenges of COVID-19 to keep everyone safe! We also just launched our Holiday Gift Shop which allows individuals to make an impact and give meaningful gifts this holiday season. If you are interested in collaborating with us or supporting our work please contact [email protected].

Gyetighi Primary School students exchanging laughs and smiles before lunch is served.