Thursday, August 23, 2012

May 2012

Pictured: Ruth Chelule arriving at the care homes complex We take a look at sustainability this month, and how the organization has incorporated this in everything we do. The following is a description of what has been accomplished by the NGO during the month of May 2012. CHILDREN’S VILLAGE Each month the parents at the Igoda Children’s Village have a meeting of the minds, and on May 21st a spirited discussion was had on the topic of sustainability, and income generation. Each parent contributed ideas on how the children’s village could start earning income to offset costs of housing all of its children. Obviously, the very nature of ‘orphan-care’ is not sustainable in a natural sense. Children without relatives to care for them have no means themselves to support themselves through school, or support themselves into adulthood. Immediate care is often needed to get the children or some families back on track for a brighter future. As a long-standing facility now, the children’s village is approaching its fifth anniversary, the Igoda Children’s Village is looking for ways to generate income in order to pay for the monthly costs of running the village. Some ventures have already started. A two and a half acre garden has been planted, and the vegetables have been enough to feed all of the children at the Children’s Village, as well as some extra produce that has been sold in the village. Over 5,000 pine trees have been planted as an investment to be sold later, as well as a fruit orchard that will supply the children’s village with a steady supply of fruit in the future. Currently, the Children’s Village is buying fruit and meat weekly. With the ideas brought forward from the parents themselves, and the development already in place, the Children’s Village may be in a position to self-sustain at least a great portion of its own development going forward. COMMUNITY OUTREACH Care Homes The community in and around Igoda village has seen some drastic development over the past few years. As the community as a whole has become healthier, more and more families are able to help themselves out of poverty, and we’ve seen more stores, more tin roofs, and more signs of positive development in recent years. The community is contributing more and more to help its orphaned and vulnerable children population as well, as committees are growing bigger and stronger, and a social network is coming together to help the community care for all of its children. One of the most encouraging signs is a group of people that has been initially helped by the NGO, wanting to help others as a form of paying back the good fortune they received in the past. This group of people includes those who have earned an income through the basket program, or chicken banda program, or those who have been helped as a part of crisis management where the home based care program helped a family get back to a level where it could provide basic care to its children. These people are coming together to form a committee in Igoda village on how to use the constructed ‘Care Homes.’ Candidates for the homes (a cluster of three homes built with sun-dried bricks on donated property in Igoda village designed after our popular Bibi’s houses) will include single mothers needing temporary shelter; grandmothers content with leaving their dilapidated homes in favour of better shelter for the children they might be caring for; and other members of the community that need temporary shelter to get through a difficult stretch of their lives. The committee has already chosen the first tenant for these care homes, Ruth Chelula. Ruth is a 19-year-old girl who was forced out of school when she became pregnant, and was told she could not keep work in the tea fields, as she had to care for her infant child. She will live in the care homes until she establishes a farm, and her own life somewhere in Igoda village. The care homes will be completely managed by the committee, and a sense of sustainability will be formed as the community solves its own issues related to orphaned and vulnerable children. Milk Formula Program The guardians from the milk formula program received an extra benefit from the program this month on May 7th, when family planning options were made available for the day at Igoda Children’s Village. Over 50 people arrived to receive a birth control procedure that currently is unavailable in the village. This included vasectomies, IUDs, and depravera shot. In a way, the sustainability of this program comes in education. In the long term if more people are educated through programs like these, the need for such interventions will drift away over time, as people are armed with the tools to prevent further infections of HIV, and are better equipped to make more informed life decisions. Income Generating Projects Income Generating Projects have long since been the most sustainable part of our NGO. We are all excited about the possibilities of these projects for the future, and we may even be in the process of starting a program that could make sustainable income beyond just covering the incidentally costs. Namely, this is the Sewing School that has started at Igoda Children’s Village. We suspect a loss in terms of profit the first year, but so far this project has shown signs of success. 8 women are already paying 15,000Tsh per month to attend the school, and items that the students have made have already been sold in the village. The end goal is for the students to start their own businesses upon graduation, and in the meantime the goal is to get some quality product produced that may be sold to not only support the class, but possibly even generate an income to help supplement donations to the NGO. Sewing machines were donated by a connection with a local cell phone carrier company, and materials for the class have been provided through the last container sent through Orphans in the Wild from the UK. We’re still at the early stages, but it looks like we may have a winner on our hands with this project! HEALTH CARE Mdabulo Hospital / Mdabulo CTC Of course no health care system is intended to be purely sustainable, but even at our health facility this month our partnership between the government and the private mission has yielded a bit of benefit for all potential patients in the area! This year the government of Tanzania, spearheaded by the new District Medical Officer in Mufindi, has brought a frequent supply of CD4 reagents, which has bolstered the supply produced by funds from African Book Box and Mufindi Orphans Inc Rotary connections. The government has also pledged this month to take on the salary of our nurse midwife Paulina Visulu, who has been sponsored by Orphans in the Wild donors since April 2008. This partnership is starting become closer and closer, and each faction, our NGO, the government, and the mission, is doing its part to contribute to the success of the Mdabulo Health Facility. EDUCATION Igoda Community Hall Titus Nyunza and Treda Pius have now been in charge of organizing events at the Igoda Community Hall for almost two and a half years. Recently they have started to take some ideas for income generation at the hall to help pay for the events that take place. Ideas that have come up include renting the hall for weddings and other events, or running a retail store, or small guesthouse near the hall for visitors. The two ‘events coordinators’ put in action this month a small plan to sell maandazi (a local biscuit or doughnut type pastry) at the community hall to earn the hall an extra sum of money to be used to help fund the various events. The profits are small for now, but still the initiative is there, and generally throughout the organization there is a feeling of desire to stand on our own sometime in the future. We have a long way to go, but with everyone on board with the idea of sustainability, there’s no telling how far the development of this community can go!

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