Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kujitegemea (Depending on One’s Self): Igoda Children’s Village Update

We have been overwhelmed by a reoccurring theme to start the month of August here in Mufindi.
Igoda Children's Village August 2013

Already this year we have felt that a tide is turning in terms of dealing with the HIV pandemic in this community. The area has risen out of the crisis management period, and has begun a recovery phase. For example, families have come to Igoda Children’s Village over the past few months to welcome their children back to their homes in the village, as they have built their lives up out of poverty, and can care for their children once more. The Igoda Children’s Village was opened on July 7th, 2007 with the goal in mind to take in the children most in need of basic care, who would be using the center as a last resort for shelter and food. Two of the four children that arrived that day were Remijio and Moses.
Moses (middle right) arrived at the Igoda Children's Village on July 7th, 2007
along with Willi (bottom right), Issa (bottom left) and Remijio (top left)
They are now 19, and 17 years old respectively, and at the start of August this year, they both moved back to their families in Igoda village. They are going back to a home situation that is dramatically better developed than from when they joined the Children’s Village, but they will also help with home responsibilities as they go through their secondary schooling. They will both be working on the weekends through the NGO to pay for their secondary school fees, and school needs. They both have been helping with the weekly community outreach visits the children from the Igoda Children’s Village have been making to help the elderly and other vulnerable groups in the area. They will continue to join the weekend groups on these visits to continue to give back to their community.

Matrilda is heading home to live with
 her mother after living the past
 three years at Igoda Children's Village
Matrilda, 16, also returned home this week to join her Mother who is planning on building a new house near Matrilda’s Secondary school so she can be close to school. Matrilda will also be joining the groups going into the villages for community outreach, and she too will be working with the NGO on weekends to put herself through school. She came to the Children’s Village from a difficult home situation, but has gone through a transformation at the Children’s Village. Matrilda’s Mother is now ready to welcome her child home again, and even though she is now a single Mother, she has built a strong relationship with the NGO, and the partnership will continue with Matrilda’s best interests considered. Matrilda has done very well in school this year, and wants to continue her secondary schooling, and is excited to help her Mother start a new home for themselves in the process.

Over the past 5 or 6 years, the need from the community has changed in light of the diminishing effects the HIV pandemic has had on the area. The great progress the NGO has made in terms of access to HIV treatment, and awareness education has brought down stigma, and has no doubt played a huge part in the positive development of the community as a whole. The Igoda Children’s Village has evolved with these changes, as initially it was a last resort shelter for children with nowhere else to go, and no family to care for them, but is now seen as a more comprehensive community resource. The community slowly has had less of a pressing need for a fully-assisted comprehensive care for its most vulnerable children. As this need evolves with the ability of the community to care for its children, a bevy of great services have been provided to the community by the Children’s Village, including a kindergarten, and soon a nursery school and health clinic. The total number of children at Igoda Children’s Village is now 71, down from 80 at the start of this year. The community is growing more and more able to care for all of its children in the village, which we see as a huge sign of progress during this recovery phase for the families of Mufindi.

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