Mama Warra is a woman of faith who believes she can achieve anything with the help of God. This inspiration is what has made her the visionary for this home for children.
This is how Shalom was born… In 2003, Rev. Nnko and his wife (Mama Warra) from Arusha were visiting a church in Karatu. They spent the night in a local hostel where they had planned to rest and then make the three-hour drive back the next morning. The night was cold and rainy. During the night, Mama Warra heard a faint sound at their door and there laid a newborn baby boy. They rushed him to the nearest hospital and stayed at the child’s side that night. The next morning, they had to leave for Arusha, but Mama Warra gave the doctors money and told them she would come back for the child. For days, she wept over this child and that someone would reject such an innocent and beautiful baby boy. Several days later, she received the heartbreaking news that the child had died. But that night would live in Mama Warra’s memory for the rest of her life. That night added fuel to the fire in her heart to rescue orphans.
Because of what they had seen in Karatu, Mama Warra and her husband decided to move from the city Arusha to the tiny village of Karatu and begin what is now known as Shalom Orphanage. Mama Warra and her husband faced extremely challenging circumstances when they started this work. They had little room, little help, and no money. At times even, her husband found it difficult to understand his wife’s relentless passion and cautioned her that this mission carried tremendous responsibility and garnered little return.
Shalom began in 2004, in a tiny little room not far from where the orphanage exists today. The first children Mama and Baba took into their home were three abandoned siblings searching for food to eat at a dump. The number grew up very fast to 15 children and they had to move to a 3-bedroom house. In 2007, thanks to her savings from donations given by travelers and volunteers, they were able to build the current orphanage. Now, 80 orphans call Shalom Orphanage their home.
The vision Mama Warra had to care for the most vulnerable in their society has spread like wildfire in Karatu and impacted the community, the region, and even a few government officials in Tanzania. But, Mama Warra’s greatest impact is not legislation or cultural influence or community support. It is in the smallest moments of joy, love, and laughter with the children she cares for. Many of them have suffered unbearable circumstances in their short lives. Stories of rape, physical abuse, abandonment, and loss are not uncommon amongst these children.
It is because of this that Mama Warra makes an unrelenting effort to remind these children that they are loved. “They are not orphans. They have a family, they have a home, and they are loved. That will always be here for them,” Mama Warra says. “They will always be able to call Shalom their home. They will always have a mama waiting to see them. We will always have room for them in this home.” In the evenings, local villagers and passersby along the road can hear the sounds of worship ringing out from Shalom. Mama Warra leads the children in songs about Jesus and His love and a testament to God’s ability to restore and redeem all things fills the Tanzanian sky. It is as immeasurable, as the African night sky itself.
For more information on Mama Warra, please click here.