Friday, January 27, 2012

Mosquito Nets

Hello again,

In an earlier blog, we talked about the involvement of our group with the Rotary REMIT programme.  REMIT stands for Rotary Eradication of Malaria in Tanzania.

During the first visit of the group to Ukerewe, two Tanzanian Rotarians arrived on the ferry,from the mainland, with their van piled high with insecticide treated mosquito nets, and some of the team went out with them to the villages.

The van was fitted with loud speakers to attract the local population and put across the message regarding the eradication of Malaria and the importance of protecting children from being bitten by mosquitoes.  These nets were sold for the equivalent of £1.00 each, but cost Rotary substantially more.  Whilst the group were on the island, 3500 nets were distributed. 

Mosquitoes carry the parasite that causes malaria.  The warning signs include fever, shivering, vomiting and other flu like symptoms.  Even if the child survives, there is the possibility that he/she will be left with crippling disabilities and/or mental impairment.
World wide, twenty-five thousand children under the age of five, die each day due to preventable causes.  The vast majority of these are in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania, and malaria is one of the biggest causes of death to young children, in these countries.

The nets are large enough, if necessary, to cover a few children sleeping together, and prevents them being bitten in the night.

Until the next time,

Best wishes,
Diane and Derek

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thank you for the Boxes.

 Northallerton Mowbray Rotary Club recently delivered to us goods which their members have collected.  The club especially wanted to help under privileged children and the items include  over 300 baby and toddler clothes; over 150 school books; childrens toys; art equipment and a sewing machine. 

The photo shows Alan and Anne Miller with Derek.  These boxes will be transferred to the Huddersfield holding area on Thursday.

Our thanks go to all the people who have contributed and helped in our area.  Many other people and organizations in other parts of the country are heavily involved in making this project a success.

Best Wishes,
Derek and Diane

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Story of the Pram and Dolls.

Hello again,

As we have mentioned before, we spent many Sundays looking around our local car boot sales, and on one occasion in June 2011 we came across a little childs pram with two dolls in it.  Two young women called Alice and Lois were the stall holders and after some debate, we purchased the pram complete with two dolls for  the princely sum of £1.00.  As usual, we told them what we were collecting for and we were asked to leave our telephone number, as they were interested in helping us.

The pram was taken home, and as the body was pink gingham material,  it was washed in the bath and came up as good as new.  We think it could be the only pram on the island!   See bottom of picture below. Isn't it sweet?
A few days later we received a call from Lois and Alice to say they had several dolls for us, which they would like us to send to the children on Ukerewe,  and we met them and took 'our new family' home.
  Once the dolls had been dressed, using donated material from local Rotary wives, they were ready to be boxed up to send.
This is just one example of the kindness of people in general, that we have experienced.  We have received many other dolls, from other people, and we thank you all, for your  help.   Hopefully we wil be able to take photographs of a lot of the dolls and toys, with their new owners.

Until the next time,

Best Wishes,
Diane and Derek

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lake Victoria Children Tailoring Shop.

Hello again.

This Progress Report up to  December 2011 was sent by  Mr. Alex Magaga recently and we'd like to share it with you.

The Lake Victoria Children Tailoring Shop was funded by the Diplomatic Spouse Group, based in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.  It is a sustainable project to generate income and fund the activities such as the Children's Feeding Programme and Health care.  It also buys children's exercise books; makes and mends uniforms for the children at the centre, and the shop has become a source of uniform and other clothing materials for many other disadvantaged children in the community.

The project is currently generating around T shs 7,000 daily.  (This is equivalent to £3.50 per day), by doing mending and the repair to clothes for members of the community.  The project has bought  more learning materials  and a better quality of food for the children.

Nineteen sets of uniforms were made and given free to children at the centre since May 2010.

Eight sets of uniforms were made and given to vulnerable children in the community since the project started.

Six teenagers (five girls and one boy) from disadvantaged backgrounds are learning vocational tailoring skills in the shop.

"The LVC Tailoring shop project is transforming lives, we now need our own source of clothing material to run more successfully and independently", Says Mama Lucy, one of the LVC volunteers in the shop.  At the moment, all clothing materials are bought from other shops.  The LVC shop does not currently have the capacity to source materials.

In 2011/16 they plan to expand the scope of the project, from being a tailoring shop doing only repair services, to a busy shop doing everything; repair (mending); selling tailor made clothes; selling clothing materials and other tailoring essentials. 

This little team of dedicated volunteers dream of doubling the profit when they can also sell materials as well as the tailoring service.  Currently the society is paying approximately £13.50 rent  per month for the room which the ladies use.  The costs for the other five rooms which LVC rent is also £13.50 per room per month.  Considering these expenses, we feel that they are doing a tremendous job in feeding; clothing and supporting not only the children at the centre, but others in the community as well.

Besides a variety of materials, they also need an over locking machine, cottons, elastic, zips etc. to help make this dream a reality.  The more money they can generate, the more children they can afford  to feed and care for - changing the lives of orphans and the most vulnerable children for the better and integrating them into society.

We'd also like to share this photo with you.
The Diplomatic Spouse Group recently sent some new shoes for the children and  we thought you'd like to see a photo of them - so happy - with their new gifts. 

Until next time, keep well.

Diane and Derek

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Day in Ukerewe

 Hello.  Have you ever complained how difficult it is to get the daily washing clean?  These women and girls don't, they are used to washing in water which has leaked from an overhead water tower.  This is also a social occasion with plenty of smiles, chat, and laughter.  The children are brought up to help from a very young age and soon become experts at this daily task.
As fishing is one of the main forms of income, dried fish is always for sale.  It is nutritious and is a major source of protein in the local diet.

Sitting besides the lady selling fish, are the vegetable sellers with their tomatoes and avocados.  The shy small child sits so patiently. 
Three stones on the ground, with a pot on top and a fire underneath is the traditional way of cooking for the local population.  This is even the case at the hotel when there is no electricity.  Apart from the slight smoky taste to your cup of tea, you wouldn't know the difference.  In fact it is not so long ago in the U.K. that much of the cooking here was done on an open fire.

At the end of the day it is time for a good soaping before bed!  Where better to have a good scrub than sitting on a rock in the sun?

This has got to feel good when the temperature has been near to thirty degrees Celsius during the day.  Although he didn't look as though he really appreciated it!

Until next time,  best wishes,

Derek and Diane

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Planning the next visit.

Last week, John and Christine Philip, together with Barry  Doyle, set off for Ukerewe to spend a couple of weeks planning what needs to be done when the team goes in July.

John, who is a retired doctor, and his wife Christine discovered the hospital on Ukerewe Island and it was their enthusiasm and drive which set the ball rolling to help this community with the refurbishment work of the operating theatre block at  the hospital in 2009.    That first project  by 'the team', won the Connecticut Trophy 2010.  This trophy is awarded annually by Rotary in Britain and Ireland to the district of RIBI having the most outstanding activity in the furtherance of world understanding, and  it was presented to District 1040.  

The photo above shows John and Chris with a government minister at the hospital on Ukerewe.

What a lovely photo of Barry surrounded by a group of children on the island.

Whilst this is a Rotary lead project which includes Rotarians from different clubs in the U.K., and Sweden, there are other  non Rotarian volunteers who have been involved in the first, second, or both visits.  You do not have to be a Rotarian to take part in this programme.

When our colleagues  return, a meeting will be held to decide what will be undertaken in the visit to be made in July, which of course, is dependent upon funds available at that time.

Best wishes.

Diane and Derek

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thank You!

When Derek came back from his last visit in March last year, we decided that we would like to collect toys for the children of Ukerewe.   We knew that the car boot sales would be a good place for bargains.  In May we bought our first few toys. 
This little collection cost just under £22.00 and we were delighted.  As the weeks went on, people got to know why we were collecting, and many people gave us toys for free.  We brought them home and washed  and mended them if necessary.  We gave ourselves a target of 1000 toys to collect.  Our Rotary Club, as well as friends and family gave us donations to purchase more.  At this stage we were mainly collecting toys.
On one occasion, whilst sorting through at a car boot sale, we bought 21 childrens videos, not knowing if they could be used in Ukerewe, but as they were only £1.00 for the lot, we brought them home.  At that stage we made contact with Alex Magaga in Ukerewe, and he thought it was a wonderful idea - as the children do learn English in the schools.   Since then we have obtained  video players and t.v.s plus  lots and lots of childrens video tapes, which would probably have been thrown away, as no longer needed in this country.  Fortunately, the electrical voltage and plugs in Tanzania, are the same as in U.K.

As time went on, we received/collected many different items including shoes, clothes,  books, tennis balls and racquets, dollies, all for children, and later mens and womens clothing  plus bed linen.   Classroom furniture and educational equipment was given by schools, after they had heard of our appeal.   Some high street shops were approached and we were given childrens new clothes, sunscreen products, coloured pencils, frizbees, drawing books, hand gel, toothpaste and tissues etc.  Even one of the Charity shops gave us a donation!  Last week we received a large donation of goods from friends, which included medical equipment and supplies, from a private hospital.  This week we are collecting more womens clothes from a High St. shop.

Box number 207 has now been packed.  Most of the boxes have already been taken to the 'holding depot' in Huddersfield ready for the container to be loaded. 
WE ARE STILL COLLECTING ITEMS.  We need computers, if anyone is replacing theirs.  Reading and text books.  Hand or electric sewing machines, cottons and material.  In fact, if you have anything that you no longer require, please get in touch and see if we can use it, before you throw it away.

We would like to thank, most sincerely, everyone who has donated time, money and goods to this cause, as without your help and generosity, we would not be able to send such a wonderful selection of items.   

Bless you all,

Best wishes,
Diane and Derek.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lake Victoria Children

Hello, and a Very Happy New Year to you all.

We would like to introduce you to one of the people we have been in contact with.  He is Mr. Alex Magaga, who lives on the island of Ukerewe.  He is a teacher, and also Chairman of Lake Victoria Children.  He is also a volunteer with the Ukerewe Albino Society.

LVC is a registered community based organization which supports  many children orphaned by HIV/Aids,  and other disadvantaged children in the Lake Victoria fishing communities.  The priorities of LVC are Education, Feeding and Health.  At present LVC has 6 rented rooms.  Three are used as classrooms, one an office,
one for LVC tailoring shop, which is an income generating project where for a small fee, clothing is made, repaired or altered,
and one for day accommodation as some children rest in the day before being picked up by their guardians.

In 2008, a Childrens Feeding Project was started where orphans and other disadvantaged children, looked after by elderly grandparents, come every day to the centre to have breakfast (porridge) and lunch.  Otherwise most of these children often go without food in their elderly guardians houses, as they cannot afford to feed them. Unfortunately, at present, the centre can only afford to provide free food , education and health services for thirty children.  They have a further 18 children from the community whose parents pay for their Education, which helps with the costs for the orphans.  This project has successfully brought children together and made them feel happy and integrated in the world of children.  At the same time, this gives the centre sustainability,  and galvanises community responsibility.  There are NO orphanages on the island.

These children  at the centre, are aged between 3 and 6 years old, after which, they join normal primary school.  Even then they still get support from the centre e.g. exercise books, uniforms, mosquito nets etc. and their welfare is monitored in their respective schools.
LVC not only takes care of children at the centre, but has ambassadors in most of the villages who report regularly on the wellbeing of the underprivileged children. 

In 2010 in one village alone, they found 218 children living in difficult conditions, of which 58 were orphans.  There are 74 villages on the island, which gives an indication of the overall need for help and assistance to this community.

In 2011 a further 86 children, based in two villages were identified by the village ambassadors, as requiring assistance.  LVC visits and provides child care education to guardians for children, in the guardians homes, and also help with family income generating ideas for them to be able to support the children under their care.

LVC needs a permanent centre where they can accommodate children - doing away with rents.  They need some income generating projects to achieve sustainability and only then can they run independently.  Mr. Alex Magaga is very dedicated to this project and his dream is for a charity medical store; Library and Computer class; Vocational training for the older children, and a Cafe - again to raise operating funds.

The children you see here, are the lucky ones as Mr. Magaga  and his team are able to help them.  There are many, many more  vulnerable children, who through lack of funds, he is unable to help at this time.  These children deserve a chance in life, and we would urge anyone who can assist us, to do so - to show the children that 'WE CARE'.

Until the next time,

Best wishes
Diane and Derek