Archbishop Maimbo changed the centre director in October appointing Fr John Sembuyagi to take over from Fr. Noel. Fr. John has just completed his master’s degree and feels his calling at this time is to make the centre sustainable so it will improve the lives of disabled children for many years. He has already increased the income from local sources and he hopes to make the Centre self-funding for its general running costs, a task that will take 3 to 5 years to complete. The children have a more structured day and this has improved their behaviour and helpfulness around the Centre he is giving more guidance and support to the staff and this will further improve things over time.
- and Keith visited again in February to meet Fr. John and to talk with him, the Archbishop and others about the Centre and how the Trust can support the work in the next few years. The Land Cruiser that was ordered at the end of last year arrived just before them so provided their transport during their stay. The Trust would like to thank all those who contributed towards the nearly £50,000 it cost, and we thank The Lady Fatamah Trust, Polio Children, CSP Sisters, The Amersham Methodist Circuit and the family who gave the extra needed to make up the total in September, without their support we could not have been able to provide the vehicle.
During the visit to the Centre Lesley and Keith had several meetings with people from the Diocese, Local Government and Village Representatives. The Archbishop made a number of useful suggestions that will help ensure the centre has ring fenced funds for salaries and is able to increase the donations from churches in the diocese. They met the Hon. Mr. Sijaona (Handeni Regional Government Representative) and the Hon. Mrs. Mwanaisha (Sindeni Area Representative) both said they would help the Centre where they can and would continue to provide some food items when they are available, they will also bring the Centre to the attention of local government officials who can help identify children who would benefit from the services offered by the Centre and may be able to help in other areas. They were also able to meet a group of community leaders from the village and explain to them that the Centre was part of their community and needed their help to continue as it was becoming difficult to raise sufficient funds in the UK to meet all the costs. It was suggested that as the Centre was multi faith and had over 50% Muslim children the local Muslim community may like to arrange teaching and take part in occasional services for the children. They agreed to ask their communities to provide some maize for the Centre and to see what other help they could offer. Before the end of the meeting they arranged a date to meet again to work out how to move forward with their help.
The Directors house at the Centre needs repairing as it is not currently habitable, the toilet pit needs to be sealed urgently as it is full and overflows after heavy rain causing a smell that comes into the rest house. The walls and foundations of the main house have large cracks in them mainly in the rear left-hand corner. These are due to the roots of a large tree growing against the wall and the building techniques of 40 to 50 years ago. Mother Philippa CSP and the CSP trustees have agreed to fund the repairs and work is under way to build a new toilet pit and seal the old one as well as repairing the foundations and to stabilise the walls with a ring beam and redesigned roof.
The Centre has a number of problems that will take time to resolve. There are not enough wheelchairs, we have arranged for some that have torn canvas seats and backs to have them replaced with wood and foam cushions, however with a larger number of small children the adult chairs are too big and will need to be replaced with children’s wheelchairs. A new wheelchair made by YDCP (Young Disabled Children’s Project) in Tanga cost £125.00 and the centre needs 10 or 12 for its smaller children. Richard from YDCP (here assessing one of the children) comes to the centre to see the children and check those with prosthetics. He has advised that the fun hand propelled trikes are not suitable for use all day by the children as the sitting position is not good causing contractures of muscles and poor posture, also they damage doorways when entering or leaving buildings, as more wheelchairs become available the trikes will only be used after school for fun as they were originally intended.
Gutters on most of the buildings are coming to the end of their life and although some can be repaired to extend their life over time all will need replacing. Plastic guttering should be more robust as they do not rust and the Centre have them on one or two buildings to see if the heat and sun affect them.
Staff spend a lot of time carrying water from the underground tanks to the kitchen and toilets, piping the water to stand pipes in these areas will give more time for other duties and save employing extra staff to look after the younger children.
The Tanzanian government now require all children’s homes to employ a Social Worker before they can renew registration. A Social Worker has been appointed initially on a one-year contract but with the possibility of extending it for six months until Sauda, who was at the centre as a child three or four years ago is at college studying for a social work diploma and has agreed to work at the centre when she has completed the course at the end of next year.
Fr. John has improved the centre in many ways in the short time he has been director. Four long serving members of staff retired at the end of March so Fr. John will be able replace them with a younger team.
- trust has had all its fund-raising events cancelled because of the Corona virus and although Tanzania have closed all schools and Centres like Kwa Mkono and the Centre does not have to buy food, the Trustees would like to continue paying the staff as there are no benefits for people who do not work in Tanzania. re are 16 staff at the Centre who are paid an average of £2.00 a day. A donation of £25 a month during this crisis will allow us to send money to allow the Centre to pay one member of staff two weeks salary which will give them money for basic food. ir role during the crisis will be to keep buildings clean and ready for the return of the children. It is also important that all gutters, fences are checked daily, the poultry fed and given water etc. shamba (farm), vegetable garden and grounds have to be looked after and the vegetables and fruit harvested when ripe which can be sold to bring in funds.
To help us continue to support the centre during the corona pandemic. Any amount large or small will help. 100% of your donation is sent to the Kwamkono Centre to support the children. The trustees give their time free, pay all UK expenses and travel expenses when visiting.
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