Saturday, December 22, 2012
We would like to wish all of our friends of "Smiles to Tanzania" in Australia; Canada; China; France; Germany; India; Latvia; Russia; South Africa; Sweden; Tanzania; Ukraine; United Kingdom and United States of America a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year.
Thank you for looking at our blog and taking an interest in what we are trying to achieve in Ukerewe. Please feel free to register (it is free) and if you have any questions, we will be glad to answer them.
Since we arrived back from Ukerewe in August, Alex and the Lake Victoria Children's Society - and also the families in the villages - have constantly been in our thoughts. So much so that we have lodged our Registration for our own Charity also called Smiles To Tanzania.
Our long term aim is to build bigger premises to enable Alex to educate and feed more children and all of us in the team have already started fund raising for this. But in the meantime, we would dearly love to send a container out next year full of clothes, shoes, soap, school books, bedding, material etc. To enable us to do this, we need sponsors to pay for the shipment of the container.
There is so much we can all do to improve the lives of the orphaned and disadvantaged children and other families in Ukerewe. Not only do the recipients feel good but the donors do too! If you can help in any way, it would be greatly appreciated if you could contact us at email@example.com.
2013 will be a very exciting year and with your help we can send them lots of Love and Smiles.
from Diane, Derek and the team.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Steve Pratt has kindly written this blog for us.
Having volunteered in Africa twice before, we know the value of empty plastic containers - more specifically 5, 10, 20 and 25 litre buckets - and if they had lids that fitted, that made them even more desirable.
Prior to our first visit to Ukerewe, there were plans to start a bakery producing bread, and as Pat and I live just up the lane from Thomas the Baker's factory, we went to see them for advice. The bread-making didn't materialize on that trip, but we saw that their mayonnaise, jam, mincement and syrups all came in 5 to 25 litre tubs - all with lids!
Thanks Steve. It is heart-warming to think that someone who has so little, can be helped with a simple bucket. As you can see above, the empty plastic paint containers were soon put to other use at L.V.C.
Until the next time,
Diane and Derek.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
During October, Alex Magaga of Lake Victoria Children, made an application to PANITA which is a Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania, who work with Save the Children, for funding to commemorate a day to raise awareness regarding nutrition.
Forty seven organizations in Tanzania submitted a proposal and ultimately LVC was selected to receive funding to commemorate the event. It had been agreed by all African OAU Member States, that the 30th October would be a day to recognise African Food and Nutrition Security Day.
All the children from the LVC Centre were taken, to be involved in this event. Furthermore, all of the LVC Ambassadors from across the island came to join in too. Here the LVC children are sitting so patiently waiting for the proceedings to start.
Families in Ukerewe need to live in a healthy environment with good access to toilets and other sanitation services. Boiling drinking water was important and the government at local level needs to improve, and put in place effective health facilities and services, including nutrition services, such as micronutrient supplementation and nutrition education, the official said.
The Ambassadors from LVC went back to their own villages and passed on to the local population the information gained about nutrition.
Alex Magaga then travelled to Dar es Salaam to participate in the National Commemoration organised by PANITA - but not before the LVC children had been given a very nutritious meal back at the LVC centre, to celebrate!
Diane and Derek
Sunday, October 7, 2012
A couple of days ago we received an e-mail from Alex Magaga. We thought it would be good to share it with you.
Dear Diane and Derek, Steve and Patricia and Brenda and Robert,
Hope you are all keeping well. I just wanted to share with you some feedback we have received from our Village Ambassadors following our outreach programme in which you fully participated when you came out to volunteer with our Organization.
The reaction has been simply overwhelming. We have received a lot of thanks from members of the community in the villages you went to with us. We are thanked for the things we gave to people in the community and members of the community here send lots of love and deep appreciation for all your support. Our organization has always worked to support people in the community in the same way, but we have never been able to reach so many people in so little time and be able to give so much to so many. Our village Ambassadors are being thanked everywhere in their villages, and been asked to send lots of thanks to you all for coming out and be part of our community and support people in a way not many people have done before. We are getting a lot of credits as an organization and it is all coming from the villages, but we feel you deserve the credits more than we do, as nothing could have happened without you coming out with so much for people in our community.
The village where I took Diane and Brenda the first day, the LVC Ambassador told us how one family said you were the first visitors to walk into their home and give clothes and soap, things that matter so much in their lives.
The village Derek and I went to, one child told our village Ambassador that it was hard for them to understand how it was the first time we had met them, yet we loved them so much and gave them things they have never had all their lives (Shoes). Hope Derek remembers the family.
The village I went with Patricia and Stephen towards the end of your trip, the Ambassador was asked by one poor family (we gave toys and clothes first), 'When would you ever return to the island to see them again', as you were such lovely visitors.
The village we went with Robert and Brenda (Musozi) I think this was the village we gave out so much stuff in one go! the community was thrilled. The village leader said to our Ambassador that how you helped people in the village was the best and most generous way people in his village have ever been served. He asked if there was any way many volunteers like you could come to help people in his village in the same way in the future?
So you can see how the reaction has been from the community. We are so happy you chose to help the community through our Organization and the name LVC has grown faster than ever! Receive lots of greetings from all of us, Mama Lucy, Benjamin, the teachers (Mpuluko), the Tailoring ladies, Briquette ladies, Everest and all the children at Lake Victoria Children, Ukerewe.
This is what I wanted to share with you all,
Many thanks and Best Wishes.
Our thanks to Alex for his moving report. We will remember the time we shared with these lovely people as one of the most rewarding times in our lives. Sometimes you don't have to speak the same language to experience a very strong bond. Just being there together, sharing smiles and understanding their hardships goes a long way to supporting each other.
Until the next time,
Diane and Derek
Monday, October 1, 2012
Hello to you all,
Recently, we heard from Alex Magaga, Chairman of Lake Victoria Children, that the Tailoring shop was going from strength to strength. It was not only Alex's dream, but the wish of Mage and her team of machinists, for material from which they could make clothes as well as doing mending for the community.
Thanks to a local hospital in the UK who were replacing the ward curtains, we were given a large quantity of material which was transported in the container to LVC Tailoring shop, and the machinists are now busy sewing and the goods are successfully being sold. The machinists get paid for what they produce, thereby helping the ladies to support their families. For a very small fee, the ladies can also use the machines to make their own childrens clothes.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
A particularly interesting gentleman who we met was Sebastian. We were surprised and delighted to hear him speak in perfect English. He asked where in England we had come from and was very interested in what we were doing on the Island.
Sebastian looks after more than twenty grandchildren. He explained that three of his sons had passed away. We were able to give clothes, shoes, soap etc to the family
Other family members.
In the next village that we visited, we met the Village Chief Executive and Alex explained who we were and what we were doing. We also met the Ward Health Officer and of course the Lake Victoria Childrens Ambassador. We were told there were 2953 people living in this village.
We were taken to the home of Rachel who has five children whose ages range from four to thirteen years. Her husband deserted the family two years ago. The children have never been to school or worn a pair of shoes. Rachel cannot send the children to school as she has no money for uniforms or books. She can hardly afford to feed her family. In the background you can see her home which is only nine feet by fifteen feet in size.
She selected clothes for her and the children ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... and the children each had their first pair of shoes.
This is Kambona who has eight children. Her husband died two years ago. Five of her children go to school and Kambona gets help with uniforms etc. through a Christian organization. We left clothes for her and the children, and also shoes.
This is where the family live.
This nineteen year old is Reuben. He lost both of his parents last year with stomach problems. He has now taken on the roll of guardian to look after three brothers and one sister. He attends Secondary school in the mornings and in the afternoon he gets any work that he can in the village to try and support his family financially.
This is home for Reuben and his family
As we have said before, it was very emotional to meet these families and see the hardships which they face on a daily basis. We shall continue to work towards helping them in whatever way we can.
We will bring you more stories from the villages another time.
Until then, best wishes,
Diane and Derek
Friday, September 14, 2012
It was now time to distribute the goods which had been donated in England. Alex arranged for us to visit villages where his Ambassadors had identified families who were struggling to survive. At one village we were introduced to Andrew who had fallen ill in 2002 and is now semi paralysed in his legs and cannot walk properly. He and his wife have seven children.
Alex explained to him who we were and through Alex, Andrew told us his story. We gave him some bedding, soap and clothes for the family. Later we were able to supply him with some crutches to help him with his mobility. The root vegetable that you can see in the photograph is Cassava which is usually ground down to make flour for porridge, or can be eaten raw - like Alex is enjoying!
The next family that we visited was Tongera and her seven grandchildren, who she looks after since their parents died fom HIV/Aids. One of the children has learning difficulties. None of the children go to school. Living nearby is her son and his wife with two small children. The wife is in ill health. We gave Tongera soap, bedding and clothes.
Tongera was very happy to receive the clothes and bedding, especially the black shawl for herself.
This elderly grandmother also looks after her three grandchildren. The children do not go to school as she cannot afford to buy the uniforms. We came across this situation a number of times, and although a uniform is not compulsary, the children feel "different" if they are not dressed the same as their peers. Pupils also have to supply their own writing materials. Lake Victoria Children's Society do help with these items, but there are far to many disadvantaged children for L.V.C to be able to support them all, due to the lack of funds.
When we gave the grandmother some bedding, she just couldn't stop smiling, although Brenda thought that she was very near to tears!
In another village we were taken to see Jacob and his family. He and his wife have ten children, which are five sets of twins. Only one set of twins go to school. Seven of the children are fostered or looked after by other members of the family.
We gave the family clothes,shoes,soap etc.
Jacob was very happy to receive a new jacket... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... and Mama was delighted with her new trainers
Friday, September 7, 2012
We were also able to provide Mr. Ramahdan with various tools which would help him in his work as a Motor Mechanic.
Until the next time,
Diane and Derek
Saturday, September 1, 2012
This blog has been submitted by Stephen and Patricia.
When Patricia and I first visited Ukerewe you could not miss the vast amount of combustible waste that was lying around.
I had previously seen a programme filmed in Uganda where briquette making had been introduced as a means of keeping the local people from cutting firewood in the forest, the preserve of gorillas, and also as a means of generating an income for those same people.
Google is a wonderful tool and eventually led me to the Legacy Foundation (www.legacyfound.org ) and discussions with them (as they were working in East Africa) proved interesting. A set of manuals were purchased enabling a press to be made and all the other necessary equipment was purchased as well and left England in the container at Easter.
The hardest part was finding reliable Swahili speaking trainers willing to come to Ukerewe. Alex Magaga of LVC did a wonderful job of co-ordinating once the trainers, Marieta and Zaujia were located a 1000 km away in Lushoto and booked for a week's training. Alex also organized (willingly recruited) a group of 12 LVC Volunteer Women who gave up their time to be trained.
Diane and Derek