PLAYER FIRST: true stories from our network [ARCHIVE]

  • 13 Jun 2016

Our network is the life blood of all our ventures. From co-creating our content to informing research activities to determining our strategic priorities to starring in our media, our ‘player first’ strategy puts youth at the centre of all we do.

While data is an invaluable tool in understanding our network, nothing brings our data to life as well as the true stories that our network share with us in the field or on our social media platforms.


Below are a few stories that our network have shared with our Shujaaz hero ‘the DJ’ in Tanzania (they gave us permission to share them with you)

JUMA from Mwanza, age 18

“Hi DJ. My name is Juma and I’m from Mwanza. I have been living in the ghetto since I was 12 years old after running away from home. My parents died and my aunt was not supportive of me. Without family you are nothing. In the ghetto, life is seriously hard, just one long struggle after another. But at least I made a strong group of friends. They became my family – we did everything together and looked after each other. But when they got into crime so did I and when they convinced me to do drugs, how could I say no to my group? After a few years I didn’t want to get into trouble anymore so I decided to look for a hustle. It had to be something that only needed a small investment and wasn’t too time consuming. I found the perfect hustle – selling take-away fruit! My initial investment was only TSH20,000 which I borrowed from a friend. I buy a selection of fruits, prepare them & pack them into take-away containers for my customers to buy. It only takes me about 2 hours and makes a profit of TSH20,000 every day! So in a month I’m making more than TSH600,000!  I now live in a better house with one of my friends who works in a nearby garage. I have employed three of my friends to help me and life is really moving. I want to encourage other youth not to lose hope like I nearly did. There are so many creative things that no one tells us about that we can do to improve our lives. We need to get out of the ghetto and make things happen for ourselves!”

HAPPINESS from Moshi, age 16

“My name is Happiness, I am 16 years old and I have a sweet little baby boy age 8 months called Kevin. The father to my baby is 21 years old and the bitter truth he is my cousin. I didn’t know he was my cousin until I informed my dad who the baby-daddy was. It was hard for me to accept that I was carrying my cousin’s baby. My mum and sister tried several times to help me abort the baby but it was unsuccessful. My aunt really abused me for bringing shame on her son, it was horrible. Despite him being my cousin and having a well-off family, he decided not to accept responsibility for the kid. This made me even more depressed, especially when I remembered all the good things he told me and promised me. What good were those sweet words now? I thought he would take care of me – there are no jobs for girls like me especially now that I’ve had to drop out of school.  It makes me feel bitter every time I look at him not knowing whether I should call him either cousin or husband. What am I going to tell my kid when he asks me where his father is? Maybe I will just tell him that he has died. I wish someone had told me about sex and protection before it was too late. Now I make sure that I tell my fellow girls to make sure they really know the man they are dating. Words mean nothing if they don’t respect you.”

SHADRACK from Kiwangwa Bagamoyo, age 22

“I am from a poor family and the only asset we have is land. We are 4 children in the family. My older brother was already in secondary school when I finished my primary education. My father is a farmer and as my big brother was going to the city to get a smart job it fell to me to take over the farming business. Even though I didn’t want to farm I had no choice as my family didn’t have enough money to send me to secondary school. My friends pitied me. I felt so bad. But I’ve been surprised – farming has become my life. Now I am a devoted pineapple farmer. Sadly, girls aren’t so devoted to me! They don’t pay me any attention because they think farmers aren’t cool people to be with. They think farmers are always poor and struggling. But they have no idea how much money I save from farming pineapples. I have been able to renovate our house in Bagamoyo and I have even bought my own land. When you see me out with my friends, you wouldn’t know that I do farming because I am dressed in good clothes and look great! I don’t want lots of women – I just want to meet a nice, good one to settle down with. Many people think I’m wasting my life and should be in the city looking for a job in an office. But the farm is my office and when I meet a woman who understands this, I know she’ll be the one for me!”

Young & Kenyan

7 Years, 13K interviews

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