Michelle’s Friday Project Update: Leaders of Tomorrow Children’s Home

Today, I am going to share information on one of the partners whose emails always make me smile. Pete O’Neal is a proud grandfather to all 23 children that live at Leaders of Tomorrow Children’s Home (LOTCH). His communications exude positivity and warmth and always include notes on how well his kids are doing in school or funny stories of life at the orphanage. He brags about his kids proudly, and it is so clear how much he loves them all.  Please read more about this amazing partner.

Organization: Leaders of Tomorrow Children’s Home

Location: Moshi, Tanzania

Context: Pete O’Neal describes his life as a “wild and wicked ride.” He was born in 1940 in Kansas City, Missouri during a time of segregation. As a child, he remembers looking forward to the one day of the year the local amusement park admitted black children. He and his friends would dress in their Sunday best to attend and enjoy the rides. Growing up, Pete was frequently in trouble with the law and spent a lot of time in and out of jail. In 1969, he decided to channel his anger into trying to bring about positive change in his community. He started a local chapter of the Black Panther Party and sought to end racism and class inequality. In 1970 while trying to draw attention to the fact that the Kansas City Police Chief was supplying local white supremacist groups with weapons, he was convicted of transporting a gun across state lines and sentenced to a four-year prison term. While out on bail, Pete and his wife, Charlotte, fled the country. Pete settled in Tanzania in 1972.

Background: In Tanzania, Pete was troubled by the number of street children he saw near his home. Pete felt compelled to help them. He built a bunkhouse near the garden on his property and spread the word that he had lodging for a few kids. More than 100 children appeared at his doorstep. Though he had to send the majority away, he informally adopted 21 who were in the most desperate circumstances. The kids call him “Babu” (which means grandfather in Swahili), and they roam his grounds playing games, being kids, and feeling safe knowing they have a place to sleep at night. Most of the kids have been with Pete since 2008. LOTCH provides housing, education, health care and a loving extended family environment. They also put a great emphasis on learning and provide the children private tutoring on a daily basis to ensure they excel academically.

Current Status: In September 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant of $2,245 to LOTCH. Pete requested assistance to build a fence around the dormitory where the children slept due to an increase in the number of rabid animals in the area; he was concerned for the children’s safety as they played on his 3-acre property. Program funds were wired on Oct. 2nd; Pete just submitted his final report for his grant. Pete is happy to report that the chain link fence has been completed and the children’s home is now secure from animals and other unwanted visitors.

Meet Some of the Kids: In the image above are Mage and Maria Elias. They are 10 year old twins. The girls came to the center when they were 3. Prior to this they were living with their grandparents in Arusha.  They love school and their LOTCH family. In the photo below, they are pictured next to the new fence which now protects the children’s homes. They would like to say thank you for helping to keep them safe.