Jan Willem ter Braak was sent to Tanzania for three years at the end of 1998 to privatize Kilimanjaro Airport. During that period, together with his wife Ida, he supported hospitals, schools and street children’s projects. By chance, they ended up at an ailing orphanage in the village of Kikatiti. The building was in bad shape. Jan Willem and Ida decided to buy land and build a new house, which they financed by starting a fundraising campaign in the Netherlands. The foundation was established on 26 December 2000 to provide structural assistance.

Two years later, in October 2002, the new children’s home, Kikatiti Happy Watoto Home, was opened. The organisation grew into a foundation with a clear mission and vision and a structured approach. In 2008 the board decided to open a kindergarten and in 2010 the primary school with associated living facilities was opened. Since 2013, we have been shaping the follow-up trajectory (secondary and vocational education). For this we work together with external educational institutions. All this with the aim of helping the children further on their way to an independent existence. And from 2020, the last phase has also started and we annually guide the graduated children to work and thus to independence. Because only then will our job be done!

Local NGO governance

The NGO board, in collaboration with the Dutch board, determines the long-term strategy of the foundation. They are also responsible for directing and supporting the Tanzanian management team.

Happy Watoto attaches great importance to local leadership. Since 2020, the NGO board has been entirely formed by Tanzanians, in accordance with the new legal provisions.

Local NGO governance is formed by:

  • Lorna Shuma – Chairperson
  • Anne Gilder – Secretary
  • Grace Geffi – General Member
  • Joyce Sagala – General Member

The management team

In 2020 we had 69 local people working for our projects in Tanzania. This group is led by a management team, co-led by Mathew Massawe and Peter Claver.

Management team:

  • Mathew Massawe – General & Finance Director (1st from right)
  • Mary Kasale – Head of Social Work (1st from left)
  • Peter Claver – Head Ngorika house (2nd from right)
  • Walther de Nijs – General advisor (3rd from left, back)
  • Martha Jonathan – Head Kikatiti house (3rd from left, front)
  • Anne Gilder – General advisor (2nd from left)

The Board

Our board members:

  • Fred Arp
  • Katharina Stenger
  • Pete de Jager

Independent board members:

  • Matti Emondts
  • Frans Bosch