Since 2012 vivo international supports the position of the school counsellor at a primary school with many orphans in Iringa. In order to support the school counsellor Hilder additionally and provide her with new materials, vivo (in cooperation with the primary school) found an intern for Hilder. The psychology student Sophia Backhaus, who already had some experience in school counselling, traveled to Tanzania to support Hilder in her work.
The school counsellor Hilder and Sophia Backhaus developed a project with 5th and 6th grade school girls addressing two main topics: Friendships and sexual relations. Friendships are an important place to talk about feelings and worries. Sexual education is not usually offered until secondary school, but HIV-rates in Iringa are above-average for Tanzania. However, menstruation and physical changes already affect the girls in primary school, and neither parents nor teachers help them handle this. The girls were so relieved to have a place for their questions and worries. After the end of Sophia’s internship Hilder plans a similar project with boys in the 5th and 6th grade at the school.
Another duty of the school counsellor is to work in the orphan’s home and the hostel for boarding students where behavioral problems including delinquency, social isolation, and withdrawal are common problems. As well as benefitting the children, the psychological support and consultation relieves the pressure on the orphanage’s staff which is very high because of the low number of employees in Tanzanian orphanages.
Sophia was a great help for Hilder and the work with Hilder and the children filled Sophia with joy.