The Children Education Society (CHESO) is a local, not for profit Non-governmental organization empowering communities in Tanzania to support children who have not been taken to or dropped from schools due to substance abuse (i.e. Alcohol, marijuana, heroin, khat, cocaine and other licit or illicit substances use) to recover and enter public or private schools in Tanzania.

Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Tanzania is a party and similar provisions under both the Tanzania Law of the Child Act of 2009 and the Tanzania Drug Control and Enforcement Act, Cap 95 R.E 2019 prohibit involvement of children in substance abuse to protect children’s mental health for their better education outcomes. In contrast, various reports including the 2018 report of the Tanzania Drugs Prevention and Control Authority on the situation of drug abuse in Tanzania reveal that pregnant mothers who use illicit drugs transmit drug dependence to their babies and are born with drug withdrawal symptoms. Drug-dependent babies, if not treated at the time of delivery and thereafter, become at high risk of losing their lives or growing up using illicit drugs. The Tanzania Drug Control and Enforcement Act, Cap 95 R.E 2019 shows that children who abuse or do not abuse drugs are enticed by adults in many ways to use and continue using licit or illicit drugs.

Children involved in substance abuse dislike schools, perform poorly and potentially drop out or are expelled from schools. Illicit drugs commonly used in Tanzania include Marijuana, heroin, khat and cocaine. Others inhale petrol, glue and paints. Licit drugs abused by children include Alcohol and Cigarettes. We appreciate the Tanzania government and partners for putting in place drug abuse treatment centres for adults and children.

The Tanzania Drugs Prevention and Control Authority reports reveal further that parents and child caregivers using drugs end up into extreme poverty and cause their children to drop out of school due to a lack of education needs.

The Tanzania Ministry of Education and UNICEF Tanzania’s Verification of School Children Study of March 2018 reveals that more than 3.6 million children comprised of 1.3 million primary school aged 7-13 years and 2.3 million secondary school-aged children 14-17 years are out of school across Tanzania for various reasons including, obviously, substance abuse.

As we are aware, September 30th every year is an international drug recovery day devoted to celebrating millions of people including children in recovery, promoting global recovery efforts, and spreading hope to those with substance use disorders including children, CHESO, from August to 30 September 2023, as part of joining the world to commemorate this day, is carrying out 50 days of mobilizations and actions by conducting Protection case management to out of school children due to substance abuse. We are tracing such children at the community level in the Dar Es Salaam region, assessing their health and education needs and helping them to recover and enter public or private formal or non-formal education institutions.

We appeal to everyone to prevent and avoid the involvement of children in drug abuse. We, cordially, welcome you to visit our website and join our journey, in any way of your choice, to help out-of-school children due to substance abuse in Tanzania to recover and go to schools.

Sincerely Yours,
Children Education Society (CHESO)

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