Enida (Dorcus) Mkolefu is the very caring relative of Shamira, a small girl who’s mother passed away from HIV back in September 2011. Enida was chosen by Shamira’s family to care for the newborn, and since then Enida has learned about care for infants, and she has made the Igoda Children’s Village very proud as she has now nearly completed a two year course on Child-care, and will become the third certified care-giver at the Children’s Village. Having these certifications gives the Children’s Village more options in the future- for example opening a child-care school of our own- as well as sense of pride as we have more ‘professionals’ in leadership roles. It is extra special that women from our own community are getting the certificates to work here in Igoda. Enida has been a particularly successful student so far, finishing 1st in her class each semester so far! On July 1st she went back to Songea to complete her final term.
|Elida Mkolefu is in the top spot in her class in college |
getting her certificate to care for children.
The following day, the NGO was invited to another village meeting- this time as announcements were made for the transfer of Village Executive Officers. These are village leaders that are appointed by the executive branch. Of note was the transfer announced of Igoda VEO to the village of Iyegeya, as the VEO from Ilasa will now be in his place at Igoda. We will welcome this new arrival, and plan to continue a close relationship with local and regional government.
Longinus from the sewing school also traveled to the village of Ibwanzi to collect on a debt from the students of the school there. The sewing school completed hundreds of uniforms in the early days of this school year, so the sewing school is looking to make a very big income. The students continue to make colourful clothes and products, with the goal by the end of the year to find other markets where they can sell their great products. The next step this year is to find a contact so that the school might get a “free-trade” license and perhaps sell the products abroad in the US, Canada, or elsewhere.
|Longinus is very proud of his Sewing School. |
Sales from this month will mean
the school is completely self-sustaining so far!
The first Wednesday of each month is Children’s CTC at Mdabulo, and infant Milk Powder Day. The Children of Igoda Children’s Village went to get treatment, and over 70 HIV positive Mothers received infant formula to prevent vertical transmission of the virus. The Mothers are all very proud of their decision to protect their children, and also very happy that they are able to use this intervention to keep their children healthy. We find that although breast-milk is the most healthy choice for infants, many of these Mothers are unable to produce due to HIV, and have very few other options for breast-milk substitutes as livestock is not a traditional lifeline in this area. As many mothers resort to tea, or sugar water to feed their infants, the results of the infant milk program is improved health overall for the children- not just prevention of HIV.
|A mother brings her child to Mdabulo CTC Children's day|
where Children with HiV are treated.
On Thursday, Charles Mwagala (house Father at the Children’s Village) traveled to Mafinga to join a conference hosted by the District HIV/AIDS team. Our NGO was invited to hear from the district the developments and goals that the government of Tanzania have for the rest of the year, and 2014. One of these goals included knowing the true prevalence of HIV in the various communities in Mufindi, and then expanding services to the areas most in need. We are looking forward to working with government on this goal, as we have collected quite a bit of data over the years that suggests we are located in one of the hardest hit areas for HIV in terms of high prevalence, not just in the district, but perhaps the entire country.
|Information sharing meetings|
have lead to more unity and sustainability
within the organization.
Friday the 5th featured a ‘Kamati Kuu’ (or Big Committee) meeting where all of the heads of our newly formed departments meet to share ideas and information on how to reach our goals, and conquer the challenges that come with our many projects. The development of departments and a bigger committee consisting of the heads of all the departments has improved productivity within the NGO, but also created a sustainable environment where the leadership comes from within the organization, and all its members play a key role having a stake in the actions of the organization.
This week the notes from this meeting will be given to the Ward Executive Officer to improve communication with local and regional government even more.
It was a sad weekend for the NGO, as everyone attended the funeral of Stiva, a 16 year old girl who passed away suddenly on Friday. The funeral took place in the village of Ikaning’ombe which is home to several children at the Children’s Village, and so it was a pleasant site to see families see their children visit home briefly during the day. The service was beautiful, as Stiva was truly loved, and the entire community of Ikaning’ombe came out to show their support for Stiva’s family but also for the Children’s Village.
There are many challenges that we face here in this remote under-serviced area, and not every battle can be won, not every child can be saved. Stiva was a very courageous girl, and her memory will give us all strength to fight the good fight.