Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our Support Grows.

Hello everyone,

During the last few weeks, Smiles To Tanzania has been supported by many kind people who have given us clothing, shoes, curtains and first aid equipment.  Church Groups and Women's Institutes  have been knitting blankets and 'fish and chip' tops etc.   Our thanks go to everyone who have provided enough items to fill the 64 boxes we have filled so far.

Northstead Methodist Church Ladies Group in Scarborough, North Yorkshire have donated school sweatshirts for the children of L.V.C, and knitted and crocheted over 20 baby blankets and other beautiful childrens' clothing....

  and there is more ......

some lovely soft blankets for babies ......

and two of the ladies who have been so busy knitting blankets, teddy bear glove puppets and little teddies (among other things) are Monica and Phyllis.  Thank you to everyone who is supporting our charity.

We had a phone call from Mrs. Jean Spenceley, President of Stokesley W.I. who kindly gave us a donation of 126 'fish and chip' vests, some childrens clothing, pencils, buttons and shoes.  Also 20 duvets/valances which LVC Tailoring will make into clothing.  Thank you, your donation is invaluable. See photo below.

Our friends from Thornton le Dale W.I. have been busy again and knitted another 32 'fish and chip' vests for us.  The little African babies will be so well dressed!  Thank you once again.

Filey Tesco donated 23 pairs of children's and adults flip flop shoes.  Forty five children's hats and some bikini bottoms which the children will use as knickers. We can never send enough hats and shoes, so your donation is very welcome.

B & Q in Scarborough have kindly donated 10 rolls of Duck Tape to help seal our boxes.

Thank you to everyone who have kindly donated goods and or helped in any way these last few weeks.  Your support is appreciated.

Until the next time,

Best Wishes,

Diane, Derek and the team. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Alex's Outreach Programme to combat Malnutrition and Malaria in Ukerewe, Tanzania.


We have just received the following report from Alex Magaga, Chairman of Lake Victoria Childrens Society in Ukerewe regarding their forthcoming outreach activities.

L.V.C. have won a one-off grant from the Diplomatic Spouse Group (DSG) in Dar es Salaam, the same charity who supported us to set up a Tailoring Shop in 2011.

In May, they are going to fund us to implement a project called COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST MALNUTRITION AND MALARIA.  It will take three months to complete the project.  The outreach programme will be carried out in the evenings so as not to interfere with our other activities.   I submitted the funding request to help us with our Health Action Programme and from it I designed the Community Action Against Malnutrition and Malaria.  One of the members of the DSG will visit us to monitor the programme and we expect the grant to cover the costs for three months to educate the communities in ten villages.

PROJECT BACKGROUND.  Community Action Against Malnutrition and Malaria (CAAMM) is a project specifically designed to fight malnutrition and malaria in their wide ranging effects in children and pregnant women on Ukerewe Island.   The project will be implemented in two sections. The first being malnutrition and the second, malaria prevention.



Improvement in the health and nutritional status of children under five years of age and also pregnant and lactating women.  This is to ensure healthy child growth by strengthening services and increasing family and community involvement in health and nutritional education activities by introducing at family level the production and consumption of highly nutritious OFSP (Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes).


Increased level of awareness of the benefits of OFSP to health in children and pregnant women.

Promote and facilitate production of OFSP at household level.

Increase consumption of OFSP in all vulnerable populations.

Promote and advocate integration of OFSP in agricultural programmes.

Expand and enhance marketing of OFSP across various communities.


Mobilisation of communities for the need for each family to produce OFSP.

Capacity building to families on the production of OFSP through training, seminars and community meetings etc. (About 150 families identified from 10 villages)

Capacity building to families on basic social marketing tips of OFSP, business skills and targeting potential buyers and post harvest handling of OFSP.

To lower the cost of seed and other advice for the improved production of OFSP.

Family based surveillance to measure production, consumption and marketing of OSFP.



To decrease sickness and mortality from Malaria by mobilising community action against the disease.  This will be in areas where incident rates are at the highest, especially around fishing communities.


To increase access to adequate and effective drugs for treatment at Health Facility and community level.

Increase the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) for children and pregnant women.

Increase coverage and use of personal protective measures including indoor residual spraying.

Increase awareness and practice of malaria control and prevention in the community.

Increase in effective and efficient coordination and utilisation of resources available.

Increase awareness of malaria, its signs and symptoms to prevent it on Ukerewe Island.

Link community actions with national malaria prevention efforts to control the disease.


The distribution of Mosquito Nets to identified vulnerable children and their families who do not have mosquito nets. (About 100 families identified in eight villages)

Educating the community through meetings on the management of stagnant water and other mosquito breeding sites in the community.

Identification of malaria prevention as a priority for local action and development of a local malaria awareness to ensure timely referral of severe cases.

Train care-givers/community health workers in the management of malaria at home and in the community.

Conduct field visits to identify different facilities which need the provision of mosquito nets. 

Thank you Alex and good luck with your extensive project.

Best wishes,
Diane and Derek 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Smiles to Tanzania now has a Website.

Hello again,

The good news is that we have just launched our Website which you can access at  Our thanks go to Christopher Edwards, our web master, who has designed and arranged the layout, and will continue to work with us to make sure  that the site is continuously updated.

Eventually, our blogs will go straight to the Website, which is currently linked to to our existing blog account.

Have a look and see who we are - our aims and fund raising, plus our photos and our dreams.  Please pass on the details of our site, to your family, friends and any interested individuals and organizations who may be interested in helping us.

We would appreciate any feedback which you may wish to give.  Thank you for reading this.

Best wishes,

Diane, Derek and the team.

Maendeleo Womens Group Now Make Briquettes.

Hello to you all,

Last month we heard from Alex about a new group of women who had been trained in the making of briquettes.  Here is his report about the training of the new group.

Maendeleo Womens Group is a group of 36 women in Bulamba village, about two miles from Nansio town.  They have been together for about seven years and are women from poor families.  Some of them are widows and they all struggle to feed their children.  They are exactly the kind of families LVC supports through outreach programmes.  They work together in farms, comfort and help each other during funerals etc.  What is interesting with these ladies is that they are women of the same character.  They work together in strong numbers.

When introduced to the Briquette project, they were really excited and the first training course went very well at Lake Victoria Childrens Society premises.  Further training was held in their village where I, and one of the ladies from  LVC who is still working on the project there, reinforced the initial training that had taken place at LVC.  The women are now qualified in all stages of their training and are looking forward to carrying on themselves, producing briquettes.

We provided this group with one machine, as you can see in the photos below, 5 large buckets (blue), 4 small buckets (white), one plastic sheet and one basket for storage.  I strongly urged them to keep all the things safe and will be visiting to check on them.  I want the ladies to produce enough briquettes first and use among themselves and then try to share with the rest of the community through selling them.  What matters most at this stage is for the ladies to enjoy making the briquettes.  Marketing will naturally follow and we will see how they get on.  If what I have seen is anything to go by, I feel that they will do very well. 

Although firewood is not a problem in the villages, my hope is that they will produce enough briquettes to try and sell them in Nansio.  It will take time, but these women seem very determined and have the potential to make this project a success.

Alex Magaga.

Chabona, the Trainer from Lake Victoria Childrens Society, instructing the group in the village.

Women of the Maendeleo Group.

At this stage the women are now competent enough to produce briquettes themselves.

Briquettes which have been made by the group.

Alex with the women of Maendeleo group.

The women are enjoying themselves after successfully completing their training.

Thank you Alex for your report.  We wish the ladies every success with their briquette making.

Until the next time.

Best Wishes,
Diane and Derek

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recent Local Fund Raising Events.

Hello from a cold but dry Filey, U.K.

On 16th March Filey Rotary Club held a Spring Fayre and we booked two tables to fund raise for Smiles to Tanzania.

We thought you might like to see some photos of the event.  The photo below shows a friend Margaret manning the soft toy stall, which proved quite popular.  Most of the soft toys were 'Easter' themed, being mainly chickens, rabbits or lambs.  Each toy was given a name and the customer picked a name out of the container to see which one they had won.  A prize every time!

I had a stall with a variety of goods where people picked a card and matched it with one on the table to see what prize they had won.  Again, a prize every time!

It was good fun, and thanks to Margaret and her husband Graham for helping out.


A couple of days ago Derek and I visited the Alba Rose Residential Home in Pickering, where we met the residents, and Derek gave a presentation showing slides of us with Lake Victoria Children's Society; giving out clothes, shoes, soap etc. to the outlying villagers, and also the lining of the well at the Albino Society.

Some of the Alba Rose lady residents had helped to sew up some of the 'fish and chip' vests which we had received from Thornton le Dale W.I earlier this month.  Before our visit, the Home had taken part in a coffee morning and earmarked the proceeds for our charity.

Many thanks to the Alba Rose Residential Home Management, and to the residents for their hospitality and donations.  It was good to meet you all.

Our photo below shows Ann Marflitt (Activities Coordinator) and Lena Gowthorpe, a resident of the Alba Rose Home.


March has proved to be a busy month for the charity.  Derek has given six presentations to various organizations to raise awareness for the need to help our friends on Ukerewe island.

Robert has been busy producing a tri-fold leaflet  which can be given to interested people. 

Christopher continues to work on our Web site.  Watch this space!

We have been given donations of mens and womens clothing,  knitted childrens jumpers and baby hats, books and soft toys.  Thank you all for your kindness.  

We wish you all a Very Happy Easter,

Until the next time,
Best wishes,

Diane, Derek and the team.

Urgent help needed to support Justine Lunzagi?

Hello again,

We have received this report from Alex Magaga, Chairman of Lake Victoria Children.  LVC also have a number of Ambassadors who live in many of the seventyfive villages on the island, and they look out for families and especially children who need special help.

The Story of Justine Lunzagi.

Justine is 9 years old.  He lives in Nantare village on Ukerewe Island.  Nantare is about two miles from the Lake Victoria Childrens centre.  Justine lives with his dad who is dying of AIDS.  Justine himself is HIV positive, and was infected by his mom either at birth or through breast feeding.  His mom died four years ago.

Justine is now in Class 3 in one of the community schools.  He misses school a lot due to falling ill very often.  He is very clever and comes second out of fiftytwo children in his class in exams. 

LVC discovered Justine through our programme HAP (Health Action Programme).  He is on Antiviral drugs to improve his health and so is his dad.  The problem is Justine does not have enough to eat, let alone nutritious food, to fight his illness.  He sometimes goes to bed hungry and Antiviral drugs are too strong on an empty stomach.

We are trying to help him through our HAP but there is very little we can do ourselves,.  He needs food to eat and be strong enough for the Antiviral drugs.  He has visited our centre twice with the help of one of his dad's relatives, who cannot do much himself. 

Justine's case is one of many exceptional cases we come across in villages and feel it is important we widely share his case.  Is there anyone willing to support him?  £30 will feed Justine healthy food for one month.  His biggest dream is to be a Doctor, but unless he wins his battle against HIV with medication, his dream is unlikely to materialise.

Thank you Alex for this very moving story.

If anyone can help Justine, please do contact us at

Best wishes,

Diane and Derek

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Helping Hands for Ukerewe.

Hello there,

We have been amazed at the kindness of people who are helping the charity.  As you know, we are continually fund raising for L.V.C  and the underprivileged people of Ukerewe.  Earlier this month we were given four dressed dollies.  The lady who had donated them has sat for many hours knitting, and then sewing on the bows, buttons and tiny pearl beads etc. and these dollies are dressed beautifully.   Thank you Mrs. Christine Thompson of Filey, U.K  for your kind generosity.  Two of them have already been sold.  We thought you would like to see them.  Brenda soon fell in love with the little boy dolly ...........

and this morning, the second dolly was sold.........

This dolly has little pearl beads sewn as eyes for the scotty dogs which are knitted in the clothes.  Vera just couldnt resist buying it!   Here are the other two which will either be sold, or raffled.

Aren't they beautiful?

We were recently given a donation of books from Filey Junior School - for which we are very thankful.  

A company called Benenden Co. U.K. donated hundreds of pens and note pads.  These will certainly come in handy on Ukerewe island when we send the next container. Very often, the pupils cannot afford writing materials, so thank you for your generous donation.

Our friends Steve and Patricia who have worked tirelessly to support the people of Ukerewe have received lots of small knitted tops from the U3A group in Redcar, U.K.   We have been given 50 of these, and we thank the U3A group most sincerely for their kind contribution shown below.

There is a story to these knitted vests.  On Tuesday night we visited Thornton le Dale W.I. group as they had been knitting for the charity.  They mentioned that the vests were called 'Fish and Chip' vests and told us why.  In Africa, very often when a baby is born there are no clothes to dress the child in, and so the baby is wrapped up in newspaper, hence the name 'Fish and Chip baby.'

For our overseas readers - Years ago,  our Fish and Chip shops in the U.K. always wrapped the food in grease proof paper first and then newspaper, to keep the food warm.  

Here is a lovely photo of the Thornton le Dale W.I. who have been so busy with their knitting kneedles.  The vests shown in the photo are just a few which had been knitted.  In all we came away with 79 vests ......

and this is what they look like!   Thank you Thornton Dale W.I. for your continued support.  There will be many, many babies looking cute and snug in these vests - and thats the way it should be! 

Until the next time,

Best Wishes

Diane, Derek and the team.