Saturday, June 22, 2013

Children of Africa Day / Medical Volunteers Making an Impact

The Igoda Community Hall was packed for the big event on Sunday! This is the forth year in a row that the Hall has hosted an event to commemorate the day.

Another busy week in the books here in Mufindi. Sunday was spent organizing the schedule of volunteers for the rest of the month as we will have a full-set of volunteers with over 30 volunteers expected in the last quarter of 2013! Word is getting out about the NGO, and we're happy that these volunteers have something to contribute to the projects here in Mufindi. 

Monday we welcomed Elida Mkolefu back to the Children's Village. She has been studying in the southern area of Songea, where she will be getting her certificate to be a professional child-care giver. Once she has completed her course (end of October) she will be the third certified member of our Children's Village team. She brought her grades home with us, and she urgently sits at the top of her class! She's making us all very proud!

Tuesday, Dr. Will Metcalfe went to Mafinga where he helped two HIV positive children get medication at the district Hospital as well as an x-ray for Meshack who had severe swelling in his elbow. There was no break, so Will will be supervising physio for the next month while he's here. Dr. Vikki Milne assisted Dr. Ndenga at Mdabulo as it was 'CTC' day and hundreds of patients crowded the facility. The extra doctor helped get more people treated and allowed for more health service to the community.
The sewing school, named 'Threads of Hope' held its first meeting since volunteer designer/sewing master Annelies finished her stay with us. She brought some great fresh ideas to the classroom, and she will be back again in October. She has committed to a long-term partnership with the school in hopes of bolstering the school into a profitable entity and thus creating more sustainable growth for the area.
On Wednesday, several guardians met with Boniface, a 15 year old boy who is living with his Mother in the Care Homes Complex while she re-builds her home. Boniface left the Children's Village earlier this year, but is having trouble with the challenges of school. We are happy to have many invested parties in his success, including neighbors and a caring Mother who all want to see him succeed in school. We hope that with continual follow-up meetings his progress in school will improve and we are all putting forth the efforts to help him succeed and become a productive member of society. We are happy that the guardians show such care for the children they've cared for even after they have moved from the Children's Village.

Dr. Will Metcalfe and Dr. Milne then had a busy Thursday and Friday as they visited several villages in the area (Luhunga, Ikaning'ombe, Mkonge) and saw patients in their homes. There were many affected by HIV, and therefore several opportunistic diseases that came about and were treated. Because our community is still recovering from the high prevalence of the HIV pandemic, overall health is gravely affected. Having these medical volunteers come and add their services to the health care system that is lacking in resources will ultimately improve health in the area, and enable the community to care for all of its children.

On Saturday, the Doctors gave Amani, 12, a check up, looking at his hand and seeing how he has progressed since his surgery last month. Amani suffered a bad burn as a small child, and his hand has become enclosed, with fingers infused. He has had surgery to fix his hand, and now he has more grasping capability, and a working thumb. 

Logistics were also organized for Bennett Mwagala to get treatment on his foot. Bennett is an HIV positive man who has worked to get his family's lives back on track. Four of his children lived at the Children's Village for a few years while he worked to get money to build a new house. The children are back with him in the village, they are attending Mwefu Primary School, and their progress is going well by all accounts. Unfortunately, Bennett has recently contracted Kaposi Sarcoma, an AIDS-defining illness, and he has received counsel from the NGO on how to get to Dar es Salaam, who to see for treatment, and how to maintain health after treatment.

June 16th marks Children of Africa Day, and for the 4th straight year an event was held at our Igoda Community Hall to commemorate the event. This event recognizes the importance of Children's rights, and highlights what can be done to improve the lives of the community's youth.

This year we were proud to host the official event for the entire Region of Iringa! Regional officials along with the district commissioner of Mufindi, and other important stake holders in children's rights attended, and it was arguably one of the biggest ceremonies we've had at the Community Hall. It was an honour host so many crucial players in childhood development, and even humbling as many specifically mentioned our NGO as an organization 'worthy of imitation!'
It is not for the thanks and appreciation that we do this work of serving the community of Mufindi, but the recognition is greatly appreciated. We feel the local leadership within the organization stepping up more and more is perhaps the leading cause for this extra attention.

This makes us all very excited for the remainder of the year as we look forward to continued successful cooperation with all members of local and regional government, as well as everyone in the community at large. The event at the Community Hall was a big hit, and we look forward to many more to come!

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