Spring is a time of new growth and at the polio hostel changes are happening that will start a new chapter in its history. Bishop Maimbo has appointed a new administrator John Sembuyagi to head the staff team as well as looking after the children he has to improve the effectiveness of the local fund raising efforts and increase the income from the poultry, IT courses and internet cafe, stationery shop and farm projects the centre runs. The success of the polio vaccine in almost eradicating polio means that for some time now the hostel has been helping disabled children who have a physical disability caused by an accident, genetic problem or cerebral palsy. Today about 25% of the children have a disability caused by polio or fever. To reflect this change the Bishop has renamed the hostel “Kwa Mkono Disabled Children’s Centre”. The centre will still offer rehabilitation, education and training to all the children so that they can be financially independent when they leave. To ensure all the children who stay at the hostel benefit from the help available new children wanting to come will have an assessment to determine their physical problems and their academic abilities. Those who are not suitable will be helped on an outreach basis if they live close and can come to the centre for physical exercises or the administrator will suggest other centres more appropriate for the child’s needs.
After many months of negotiation in December 5 children went to CCBRT the community hospital in Dar Es Salaam for specialist rehabilitation and corrective surgery. Nasra and Ishmail both had deformed limbs amputated; they are both working hard to improve the muscles in their stumps so after Easter they can have artificial limbs fitted. Happy had extensive physiotherapy to help straighten her legs; she is finding the spasming of her legs make it uncomfortable for her to wear the splints that help her stand. Saumu had a pair of special shoes made because one of her legs is 13cm shorter than the other she can now walk and run around and is very happy with the new shoes. Salimu had an operation to correct a club foot and was then in plaster, he had the plaster removed in the middle of February and is now walking easier.
John took over at the beginning of January and is already making changes to improve the children’s education. After school the children have time to play and be with their friends and after the evening meal they have prep. The young ones look at picture books to learn numbers and the alphabet the older children are set topics to discuss. This is already having a positive effect, the school teacher said that many of the children now take a fuller part in the lessons and are beginning to interact.
The biggest problem this year will be the finances because 2 sponsors have had to reduce their support; fortunately we have another charity that is interested and are having meetings to see if they are able to send a quarterly grant. KMDCT will increase their grant this unfortunately will mean this year the trust will not be able to provide mobility aids or corrective surgery. These extra funds will not replace all the money the original sponsors sent, so the number of staff will have to be reduced. Fortunately the Bishop has been able to transfer the driver and Tegemea the accountant to another project. Hosein is retiring in the summer and the gate keeper will transfer to the hospital. The most important part of the survival plan is the centre has to raise money locally. This means the stationery shop, poultry, computer training and internet cafe have to become profitable and the shamba(farm) has to produce sufficient maize to make a reduction to the cost of food for the children. John is already looking at ways to reduce costs and maximise the income so we are confident that the centre will survive and prosper under his leadership.
If you can help the KMDCT raise the money needed so the Kwa Mkono Disabled Children’s Centre can continue helping the disabled children in Tanga region of Tanzania we would like to hear from you. Please ring Lesley on 0208 386 7100 or email email@example.com we can provide pictures of the children and up to date information on the centre for you to display at an event.
Our web site www.kwamkono.org.uk has pictures and information about the centre.