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'We Are TLM' represents a group of International organisations with a shared vision and mission: to care for children with cancer in Tanzania.
The Tanzanian based NGO is called Tumiani La Maisha - which means hope for life.
In the UK and in Ireland the NGO is called Their lives matter.
Although registered separately all three work collaboratively with a single purpose.

Our Story in Detail.....  





The Sub-Saharan region of African is largely made of very young and incredibly poor populations. This has led to the situation where 85% of childrens cancer is found in regions controlling only 10-20% of necessary resources. This disparity leads to late presentations at treatment centers, delayed diagnosis and poor access to healthcare all contributing greatly to the poor survival outcomes in these countries. Unlike resource rich countries where cure rates of 85% are expected for all children with cancer,the success rate in poor regions is closer to 5%!

East Africa was no exception to this story but a dynamic team of passionate and skilled experts (comprising Government officials, NGOs and Foundations, Medical institutions and private companies and individuals) are fighting to change this in Tanzania. Here's how......



  In the Beginning..Before 2007

The Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) was originally built in 1895 as a German Colonial Hospital. Robert Koch spent several years working here. In 2004 the first childrens cancer ward was opened at ORCI. This ward was run by Dr Jane Kaijage and immediately took part in the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, INCTR, multicentre study for the Treatment of Burkitts Lymphoma (BL, the most common childrens cancer in Tanzania).

  In 2007....

Dr Trish Scanlan Joins the Team

In 2006 Dr Trish, an Irish paediatric oncologist spent 6 weeks at ORCI. A needs assessment and a review of new children from 2005 showed that while the outcome for BL children was steadily improving (thanks to the INCTR study team), most other children attending the ward were dying.

In 2007 Dr Trish, supported by INCTR, returned to work with the paediatric oncology team at ORCI and together they set about improving childrens cure rates. There was no lack of compassion and respect on the ward for the children. What was needed were drugs, consumables, additional staff, services and higher education for everyone involved. And this is where the idea for TLM began.

Tanzanian Cancer Control Steering Committee (CCSC)

Also in August of 2007 the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare formed the CCSC. This 13 member group was tasked with developing the national cancer control strategy, and to create an action plan to provide cancer treatment free for all citizens. All treatment at ORCI was available free to all children. Sadly chemotherapy was only reliably available for one condition BL.

  In 2008....

 Children in Crossfire (CiC)

In 2008 Children in Crossfire, a northern Irish charity, came to Tanzania and decided to support the childrens cancer programme. This decision was transformative as they provided all chemotherapy and other hi-tech consumables and paid for improved staffing numbers by funding nursing overtime. Combined with the governments initiative to provide free available care to all oncology kids allowed significant cancer cures to become a possibility.

  In 2011....

 Tumaini la Maisha founded in Tanzania

In November 2011 Tumaini la Maisha was launched in Dar es Salaam. In English it means Hope for Life. The charity is dedicated to caring for children with cancer and their families and provides both clinical and non-clinical supportive services. The honorable Mr Ali Hassan Mwenyi (Former President of Tanzania) kindly agreed to be our patron.

The primary objectives of the organisation are:

  • To provide non-clinic support services directly to Children with cancer and their families including a daily school programme for children; build and run Ujasiri Hostel for long stay children and parents; a play therapy programme; counselling services; skills education programmes for carers, family support programme; transport; and nutrition.

  • To support clinical services including provision of medications and consumables; higher specialist education and fundraising to build and improve clinical facilities.

  • To advocate for improved access and quality of Paediatric Oncology Services across Tanzania.

  • To increase awareness of cancer in Tanzania to reduce time delays in accessing treatment by conducting childhood cancer awareness campaigns; and improving identification and referral systems.

   In 2012...

 Moving to Jengo la Watoto, Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

In April 2012 the National childrens cancer service moved to the childrens department at MNH. This was made possible by an agreement between ORCI and MNH facilitated by the Ministry. The new wards were made available by the hospital and refurbished thanks to a donation from The Love Hope Strength Foundation. Instantly the childrens care improved, immediately accessing all services available in a busy University hospital including expert colleagues, Ct/MRI, surgical and emergency services and a 24 hour laboratory.

  In 2013....

 Building and Opening Ujasiri Family Hostel.

Most children and guardians live on the ward for many months as traveling vast distances home between cycles of treatment is not possible and often dangerous. In 2013 the children finally had a home away from home and could be discharge from the ward to a safe and nurturing environment. The hostel comprises 22 bed spaces, a kitchen, living room, classrooms and skills room as well as an outdoor playground and a garden. The land was provided by the hospital and the build was financed by generous private donors and the Abbott Fund. The hostel and all its facilities are managed by TLM.

The Upendo Rotary Childrens Cancer ward

For two successive years (2011 and 2012) the hugely successful Rotary Dar Marathon was dedicated to raising funds to design, build and furbish a high quality custom made paediatric inpatient facility. More than 800,000 USD was raised and in 2013 this dream was made a reality with the formal opening of the ward. TLM provided regular technical assistance to the design team and formed part of the project management team and helps the hospital with some of the ongoing maintenance.

MSc in Paediatric Haematology/Oncology based at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences

As the clinical services and facilities advanced, improving expertise became a priority. TLM partnered with MUHAS to create and maintain a locally based masters programme to Tanzanian sub-specialty doctors. Local and international teams of experts visit Upendo ward allowing almost all training to stay in Dar es Salaam thus contribution to the care of all the children both present and future as they guide the students through the programme. The initial MSc which was lauched in October 2013, was financed by generous donations from Resolute Mining and the Karimjee Foundation.

  In 2014....

SIOP Africa 2014

The next important milestone for childrens cancer in Tanzania and TLM was hosting the international society for Paediatric oncologys Africa meeting in 2014. The conference was entirely managed by a group of volunteers coordinated by TLM and was a great success with delegates coming from all over the continent and indeed the world. This firmly placed both Upendo ward and TLM on the map for paediatric oncology services in Africa.

  In 2015....

MOU between MNH and Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC), in Dublin, Ireland.

In June 2015 the management of both hospitals decided to formalise a relationship that had unofficially developed over the previous 8 years. This was facilitated by ESTHER, a European wide group of clinica

Throughout the last 7 years OLCHC have been providing clinical and technical support to the Childrens Cancer Programme in Dar es Salaam. This has included regular expert site visits, assistance processing histopathology specimens, interpreting radiology investigations and donation of decommissionedequipment. Here are a few examples of this:

  • The pathology department at OLCHC receives and reports on a number of Tanzanian childrens cancer samples every week (facilitated by DHL who ship the samples free of charge).

  • CT/MRI scans are regularly sent to the radiology team for rapid review which is always provided.

  • The Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) team has been to MNH for two consecutive years and have trained doctors and nurses in Basic Life Support (BLS) and APLS.

  • OLCHC have made multiple surgical visits to MNH and worked along side the local specialists and trainees, sharing knowledge and expertise and ultimately saving lives.

  • Most recently, a 20 foot container is currently sailing from OLHCH to the Dar es Salaam port full of good quality equipment recently decommissioned from service at OLCHC.

Launching Their Lives Matter in Ireland and the UK.

To assist Tumaini La Maisha with the expanding plan for childrens oncology in Tanzania it was decided in 2015 to register two new entities, one in Ireland and one in the UK. Although governed by separate laws and guided by separate management boards these two NGOs were designed with the aim of supporting all the activities conducted by Tumiani la Maisha. IT was felt that an recognizable English name should be chosen with the same acronym (TLM) should be used and Their lives Matter was the obvious choice. These three organisations plan to work together to cure childrens cancer in Tanzania. I hope you will consider helping us.

All monies raised go directly to support children with cancer in Tanzania. TLM supports all chemotherapy and supportive care medications for all children with cancer at the National Government centre - Muhimbili National Hospital dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Other areas of support offered are: palliative care services, pathology services, Masters education, nutrition, play and school activities for children, hostel, and transport for families. Our families are offered every service free of charge.


Contact Details

TLM, Box 12677, Dublin 6, Dublin, 97

Cause Registration

Revenue (Charities Unit) (CHY): CHY