From the Archives:
“It was a quick exchange, and I have to admit, it didn’t stand out as anything out of the ordinary in a day full of meetings packed in the middle of a week full of meetings as the New Year arrived. We were all so busy with end of the year things, as well as two new kids being entered into the Children’s Village, half a dozen building projects underway, a tutoring program involving all of the students at the Children’s Village, and meeting after meeting taking place as we initiated the new program of departments for better operational efficiency. Stacey Droll, our Peace Corps extender volunteer came into the office, and apologised for interrupting the meeting, and told Jenny that she was about to leave to Mlevelwa village to talk to a family about possibly entering their child into the Children’s Village. The government had asked us to take in the child, who was suffering from neglect and malnutrition, but the family was from an area of that village that was not very educated, and they had a history of reluctance towards following conventional wisdom. After Stacey explained what she was about to do, Jenny began giving instructions.
JENNY: Make sure you meet Kibuga Fute and take him with you to the family, and take Maria as well if you can, they’re both Home Based Care Volunteers and will be able to help explain the situation.
STACEY: I can’t get a hold of Maria; she’s been hapatikana (unreachable) all day.
JENNY: Ok, well you can take Kibuga by himself, and that will work well, as he’s with Tunajali.
Thinking back on it, I think this was the point where my brain told me to pay attention. The simple fact that we have people to connect with in each of the surrounding villages- people who have been trained either by us, or by others (Tunajali) – who now are trained in the work of Orphan Care is an invaluable resource that saves lives everyday in this rural area. This has been a development at least four years in the making.
When Jenny joined the NGO after completing 2 years of Peace Corps Service in a neighbouring village, she was given a position with the laborious-sounding job title of Orphanage Manager, and Community Outreach Coordinator. Essentially she would be the face of the NGO, explaining what we are here for, and she would be working with local leadership to decide which families were most in need, and which children would be coming to the children’s village. She began in 2008 by visiting families in the village house-by-house and listening to their stories. She would meet with village leaders- either the local government executive, a pastor at a church, a teacher at the school, or just a concerned neighbour, and they would lead her to the families most in need. Back in 2008 there was very little formalised care of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children, or OVCs as they are often labelled. In just four years the difference is striking. Each village now has a committee for Most Vulnerable Children, a committee for People Living with HIV/AIDS, and thanks to training seminars funded by donors to our NGO, there are now multiple Home Based Care Volunteers in each village that are streamlining the work done by the NGO and the committees. An overall sense of community has come to this area; one that had been devastated by HIV. This community had become overwhelmed by the enormity of this pandemic and was unable to care for their neighbour as before. In fact taking care of one’s self had become a daily struggle, as treatment was unavailable in a community that essentially had an HIV positive person living in each of its households. Now things are different, and the battle against the disease is turning.”
—-Geoff Knight, Thursday March 14, 2013
We are looking to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, day by day. The difference is striking, the times are changing, but FCWCT and its partner charities will remain rooted in the work done at a community level unlike any other organisation in Tanzania. Help us continue our work!
Click on the links below and become monthly sponsors!