called to do more
Anna’s early life was a series of hardships and traumas, but a time when hope was instilled in her, too. When she ran away from home as a young girl, she found a safe place within a church. She learned that God was on her side and became a Christian. But her ongoing journey was still difficult.
Fast forward several years, and Anna was hired to care for children in an orphanage. In many ways she had found her calling, and she served the orphanage for 13 years. “But,” she says, “I felt called to do more.” When she looked outside of the orphanage gates, she saw more children and families suffering. But she knew that she needed more education, to make a bigger impact.
Anna’s education had ended when she was married off in seventh grade. When Wesley College opened in Mwanza, Tanzania, she heard they had a special program for students who had not finished secondary education. When she learned that the college motto was ‘Education for the community,’ she knew that she was meant to attend.
At 38 years old, Anna enrolled. It was challenging for her to return to school after so many years, but she was committed. Being older than most other Wesley College students, Anna found herself not only a classmate, but a ‘mother’ and mentor to many of them. She told us “I thought college would be only about books, but I found it to be a family in itself.” Anna graduated with a Theology diploma in November 2020.
During her years at Wesley College, Anna’s dreams and plans for her next life phase were forming. She remained committed to empowering women back home in her own community. Since her 2020 graduation, she has been wearing many hats. At Angel House Orphanage she serves as Children’s Supervisor. At her church, she is the Communication Coordinator. In addition, she has passionately launched her own ministry, ‘Wapendanao’ Women’s Group, to give voice to women from abusive backgrounds.
Anna’s greatest satisfaction is seeing the transformation of women and children who she serves. She tells the story of one woman who was living in an abusive marriage for 13 years. A relative referred her to Anna, and their relationship began over the telephone. Anna says, “getting to know this woman really touched my heart.” Twice per week they talked, with Anna praying for her. Sometimes, over the phone, the woman only cried.
Three months later, Anna says, “this woman is strong and finally free from the abusive life. She needed someone for a long time to stand by her and with her – to say ‘stand up, it is enough’.” Now, she is speaking out, leaving her house, and joining in community activities.
We have no doubt that Anna will touch countless more lives as she continues to follow God’s call and develops her ministry. Her five-year vision is to see 50 women stand up on their own, speak up for themselves, know their thoughts and feelings matter, and support themselves as entrepreneurs. As her journey continues, the impact of her college education will expand.
When Anna begins to tell her story, she starts here: “My father had multiple wives and my mother was #2. That’s never a good place to be.”
Anna at colllege
Anna after graduation