Thursday, April 21, 2011

March 2010 (2years in 20 days)

Pictured: Dr. Leena Pasanen- One of the World's 64 Most compassionate Doctors:

The most encouraging news this month in regards to the Children’s village has come from the Mufindi District capital of Mafinga. To date, the Children’s Village has been on record in the district government’s eyes, but has yet to be officially registered as a children’s center. This month, some crucial steps have been taken towards this goal as relationships with the Social Welfare offices have opened up nicely, and they have already made several visits to the children’s village. Certain guidelines must be followed for the facility to become a registered “Children’s center,” but the processes have already been started to meet each of the Office of Social Welfare’s requirements.
One of the longer-term goals for this will require each of the housemothers to have an official degree for childcare in the village. This has always been a difficult hurdle for us as we are in such a rural setting. It has been difficult to find educated childcare providers who will be committed to the position for the long-term. These mothers are the parental figures for the children so we do not want any repeated temporary care disrupting the psyche of the children. Working together with the Social Welfare Officers, we now have a plan in place where one-by-one the mothers will take a short leave of absence to get their degrees. The mothers will leave for 4-5months at a time until they get their degree, but when they return with a child-care provider certificate we will have a perfect solution to getting ourselves on the way to registration without having to make any concessions in regards to the well-being of the children.
In the end, we hope this partnership will bring the children’s village even closer to the attention of the government leaders both at the local, district, regional, and eventually national levels. Fortunately we have managed to do this and still keep the system in place where the children are getting the same up bringing, as do their friends whom with they attend school.
On a final note, all of the HIV+ children have been transferred to start their treatment at the Mdabulo CTC instead of a far away Hospital. Having all the children receiving treatment at Mdabulo in the village is much easier, and it gives us a personal example of how the development of our area by the NGO is having such a positive impact.

Our Community Outreach program is a project designed to address our first goal for care for Orphans- that of caring for children as they live in the village, by supporting them and their families. This has included the dispensing of basic needs such as blankets, clothes, soap, and school supplies to those families in most need, and especially those caring for Orphans in the villages in our area. In addition to this, we are starting some income generating projects for these families so they can have some self-sustainable income in order to provide for their families.
A recent trip to the village of Mlevelwa as part of our community outreach program showed us that there may a lot of potential for income generating projects in that area. The village of Mlevelwa is one of the most impoverished in our area, and it would seem like a great place to initiate a few projects that would get some of the families some income that will then get more children educated and hopefully start the process of ending the poverty cycle that has hit this village so hard.
This month also meant the shifting of the Community Outreach ‘office’ to the village of Igoda. The Community Hall will have a room that will be useful for meetings, and Jenny Peck and Community Outreach volunteers will have regular office hours there where leaders of villages, and members of the community will be able to meet with the NGO at their convenience.

Mdabulo Health Facility
We have made a great connection recently with an Italian priest who is connected with the Mdabulo mission. We were informed of his interest in development of the Mdabulo health facility and wrote a letter detailing our intentions, and he promptly came up with a donation of 9,000,000Tsh (about $7,500USD). This donation will be used towards cement and mason contracts, as we are now able to start construction on our much-anticipated extension of the facility. At months end, construction of the walls to the height of the window frames was nearly complete. This extension will include an x-ray room, two surgical theatres, a dental clinic, optical workshop, and other examination/consulting rooms. Our hope is that the facility will attract professional volunteers that will give their services to this community at various times over the years

Mdabulo CTC
Unfortunately we have learned that there are no immediate plans for Tunajali (USAID funded organization) to place a CD4 machine at Mdabulo as we previously were told. There may be more diplomacy needed at the offices in Dar es Salaam, but in the meantime counseling and adherence training is continuing at Mdabulo. Fortunately, the facility has already received some other critical medical equipment that will be useful as the CTC facility opens next month or in early May

Dr. Leena Pasanen
Dr. Leena has continued her great work and this month visited the villages of Mlevelwa, Iyegeya, Igoda, and the area of Mwefu which do not have health facilities, and held clinics at churches, schools, or village offices as appropriate. She also visited the homes of patients in Ikaning’ombe, Ikanga, Mlevelwa, and other places where patients are unable to reach local health facilities due to illness or disability. She also held clinics at the dispensaries in Isipii, Mkonge, Luhunga, Mdabulo, and Ibwanzi.
We are seeing more and more how useful her presence is to this area, as there seems to be quite a bit of malnutrition and many children have already literally had their lives saved by a visit from Dr. Leena.

Igoda Community Hall
WE have had some exciting uses for the Community Hall already, as it hosts Adult English classes 4 days a week. This is a continuation of a program that Jenny Peck has been doing now for the fourth year in this area, and as an exciting development, this year’s class is over half women. The class is a great way for the NGO to get more involved with the community, and inevitably leads to lasting relationships that help the organization become more effective in addressing the needs of the community.
Building on the success of last year’s ‘Life Skills’ class that took place at the children’s village last year, Yusto Chumi and Kibuga Fute have pledged to hold weekly classes again this year. Last year classes were held to discuss teachings regarding body changes, safe places in the village, children’s rights, self-worth, and other valuable lessons that follow a Tanzanian syllabus. This year the class has been extended to the village, and its children, and the NGO has invited parents to attend as well. Classes will take place on Sundays at the Community Hall, and has already had over 40 children at these early classes, with a high likelihood for expansion.
The Community Hall has also been used by the school for parent’s meetings, and by local church groups gathering to discuss possible developments in the village. The District Commissioner will also host a meeting at the Community Hall in April to discuss development projects that may be started in the area, It appears this facility will be of great importance to the community, and will continue to be a valuable resource for the school, village, and surrounding area.
Igoda Primary School Librarian/Results
Last year the Igoda Primary School welcomed a new librarian named Yusto Chumi who was sponsored by the NGO to teach English as the new library teacher. He has been a big hit, and since has been asked to occasionally teach English in the classrooms as well, including giving evening classes to Standard 7 students. This month the results of the National Exams from 2009 rank Igoda Primary School as 7th in the District, for an incredible 25th in the Region! That’s 25th out of 843 schools! We are very proud of Yusto for his role in this accomplishment, and it is very encouraging to see the other projects as well, such as the school kitchen program, having such a positive, tangible effect on the quality of education on the school.

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