Thursday, August 23, 2012
The following is a description of what has been accomplished by the NGO during the month of June 2012.
The Igoda Children’s Village is a resource for the people of Mufindi that extends far beyond the 68 children that live here. This month we would like to explain further about just how far that reach extends. This project alone fully encompasses everything that the NGO as a whole is doing here in Mufindi.
First an update of the daily developments at the Children’s Village is in order as there has been a lot of progress this month. The Children’s Village welcomed a new member to the family this month, as Elkana Mduvike, 14, from Ludilo village had lost both of her parents, is an only child and her grandmother has become unable to care for her in the village. Elkana has fit right in, and the older girls are happy to have another sister for their group.
Also this month, a new committee was formed to help manage the everyday issues of the Children’s Village. 5 leaders, 2 male house guardians, 2 female house guardians, and a female gardener make up the committee that will oversee the daily issues and problems of the Children’s Village, and generate solutions on their own as a group. The committee has already had to immediately deal with some very difficult issues this month, and have done a phenomenal job combining locally acceptable cultural ideas with standards of child care that are expected at the Children’s Village, to come up with some great solutions for issues that have already come up. We are excited to see this local leadership arise, as it is the latest step in having our projects run more efficiently, by people from the area.
On June 25th this month a wildly successful meeting was held at the Children’s Village where leaders from throughout Mufindi were invited to learn first-hand about all of the things the NGO has been able to accomplish with the community. Nearly 50 leaders from local churches, local government, local schools, and two district leaders were on hand to receive a tour of the Children’s Village, and to watch informative videos on the developments of the NGO. The meeting was a raving success as the question and answer period went on for quite a while where advice was shared, and praise was given to the NGO from everyone in attendance regarding the successful projects introduced by the NGO.
Income Generating Projects
The women of the “Threads of Hope” basket group came to the Igoda Children’s Village to sell their baskets this month. The group had a great month of sales in June. A friend of the NGO living in Dar had a sale on the first weekend of the month where over $600 was sold, and then a few hundred dollars more worth of baskets were sold in Iringa at a crafts fair the following weekend. The crafts fair was exciting as Sila Ngigwa, the head basket weaver, was able to attend and share her story with people who attended. She also got to see first hand what people were interested in buying, and we feel the whole experience will help the business.
On the 27th, over 100 women from the group came to Igoda Children’s Village to sell their baskets. For most of the women it was the first time visiting the Children’s Village, and so it was exciting for all of the guardians to once again explain everything that was happening here. The women from Threads of Hope toured the Children’s Village, and then watched the same videos that were shown to the village leaders two days earlier. We are hoping that by opening up the Children’s Village, and the NGO to the community, we will have an even closer relationship with the community.
Home Based Care
Another service that started at Igoda Children’s Village has expanded into the community this month as several birth control seminars have been hosted by Dr. Onyango from Mkonge village. The first seminar, and procedure day, occurred at the Children’s Village, and the demand for such education and services has brought the seminar into the village. The Home Based Care team in Mdabulo organized a seminar at the Mdabulo CTC this month, where over 50 women came for the education, and some received procedures for family planning.
Home Based Care volunteers have also received some extra help from the Children’s Village this month, as our community service continues as the children are on school holiday. The children from the Children’s Village have been accompanying Home Based Care Volunteers on home visits to the homes of the most sick and vulnerable people in the area. This has taught the children to give back to the community, and to help those they way they were helped. We’re also hoping this will teach the community that everyone is in this struggle together, and everyone must help in this community, even vulnerable children from difficult backgrounds can do their part! One visit was particularly important for some of our children as they had a peaceful visit back to their village from where they were born. A large group of our children are from Mlevelwa village. All of the children from Mlevelwa were able to do their community service, as well as visit their families. It was difficult to convince these families to leave these children in the care of the Children’s Village in the beginning, so it is a good thing that these relatives can see what shape their children are in, and we now see that the families are seeing the benefits of the Children’s Village.
A very exciting development happened at the Mdabulo Care and Treatment Clinic this month, as a child from the Igoda Children’s Village was present at each and every ‘CTC’ day to help as a volunteer. The children selected to visit the CTC and help the understaffed facility were those who have shown an interest in the medical field. Datrai Masonda, 15, for example wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and this experience was a real eye-opener for her. She was able to help patients at the CTC, and see how HIV is affecting her own community. She learned about the disease, and the patients at the CTC clearly appreciated that a child was learning about health, and helping her community as she had been helped in her life.
Igoda Community Hall
Every June 16th, marks Children of Africa day, and this year marked the third year running that the Luhunga Ward official event has occurred at the Igoda Community Hall. Many children from various schools, and also from the Igoda Children’s Village put on performances, and there was a lot of talk in the speeches about Children’s rights. This year’s event was focused on children with disabilities, and it was exciting for us to bring Hezron, a boy from the Children’s Village with HIV and Cerebral palsy; and Zainabu, a girl from the Children’s Village, who is slowly learning to retrieve her motor skills after a lifetime of neglect.
The honoured guest this year, Evarista Kalalo, District Commissioner of Mufindi, gave an impassioned talk, and also included some good news for the Children’s Village in her speech. She granted permission for the Children’s Village to run a kindergarten out of the Social Center. This was exciting to hear in front of all village leaders, and the community, and so plans are continuing to have the kindergarten open this year, or at the beginning of 2013. Yusto Chumi and Cornelia Raymond Yusto Chumi has been the Igoda Primary School librarian for over three years now, and Cornelia Raymond has been the Igoda Primary School kindergarten teacher. During the school break they have come to the Children’s Village to teach the children here extra lessons, so that these children who are from disadvantaged backgrounds may catch up with their colleagues in the classroom. Other children from the nearby neighborhood have come as well to take advantage of this service, and this is just another example of how the Children’s Village is starting to be a complete resource for the community.