Whilst on a recent visit to Moldova Trish Vollans and Mick Kirkby attended a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Moldova. Whilst there the Ambassador asked if CWUHA could possibly assist a young family with a two year old baby girl, Delia, with a life limiting condition. He introduced Diana Berari, the little girl’s mother; she relayed a story which told of difficulties during the birth resulting in Delia being starved of oxygen and suffering brain damage.
Delia uses oxygen to assist her breathing most hours each day and only has access to a 6ft oxygen cylinder within their home. Mr and Mrs Berari were desperate to be able to take Delia out into the fresh air; but to do so they needed access to a portable oxygen cylinder. Just to get out into the fresh air would be a vast improvement to Delia’s quality of life.
The photos of Delia were taken during the brief periods that she was able to last without using her oxygen supply.
Such equipment is rare in Moldova and to purchase one would incur a cost of approximately 3,000 euro’s, a sum far beyond their means. After listening to the story we said that we would try to help, upon our returned to UK we sought the assistance of other CWUHA trustees in trying to source this very essential piece of equipment.
Through many contacts w were able to obtain a used portable cylinder which, with the help of Victoria from MAD-Aid, we were able to send to Moldova three days before Christmas.
We are awaiting confirmation that it has been delivered to the family with the hope that 2015 will be a new beginning for such a beautiful little girl.
Kilima Hewa School Visit Sept 2014
Kilima Hewa School Visit Sept 2014 On the Friday 29th Aug I arrived in Moshi with my good friend Andrew, we were greeted by Alex’s trusted friend and now our friend Setty, at Kilimanjaro Airport in the early hours of the morning. As we only reached our accommodation at the YMCA at 5am we didn’t manage to visit the school on that day. After a telephone conversation with Mr Massawe, we arranged for him to take us to the school the following Monday. This was ideal for us as our luggage was mislaid in Istanbul on our connecting flight, so it gave us a chance to buy some much needed essentials and also allowed for us to get acquainted with the town and country.
As agreed, Mr Massawe came to our hotel at 7:30am to escort us to the school. He was so very welcoming to us and it was very clear to me how thankful he was that we were there to help at the school. It was fair to say I was nervous and brimming with excitement, the previous eight or nine months of my life had been spent fundraising for these children and training for the Ironman event that I used to entice people to give to this great cause.
As we walked in to the school it looked fresh with bright orange colour on the exterior of the walls from the recent painting and renovations that Brian, his wife and Sara Black had painstakingly completed. As we walked through the playground we could hear the children singing the English alphabet, as we walked closer it got louder and louder, as we walked through the classroom door I remember it almost piercing my ear drums. Mr Massawe then introduced us to the children then said some words in Swahili to the children. A chorus of “we love you teacher” came in our direction from the children. It was such a lovely welcome, it was everything that I had expected and more.
The children where then divided into 3 classes, the younger children went with Mr Massawe, the middle aged children went with Elizabeth and the old children and I went with Lucas. It was immediately clear that there was a language barrier between myself and Lucas, as his English was very basic at his best. Lucas promptly ushered me to the front of the class and asked me to sing a nursery rhyme for the children, which was a little daunting for some reason, but luckily with having a seven year old son myself, I knew a few songs. We then continued with his lessons teaching the children English on that particular day.
It’s fair to say they used myself and Andrew as much as they could, to teach the children whether that be; marking work, singing nursery songs, giving the children more work to complete in the English/maths lessons etc. We worked at the school from Monday to Friday whilst the children where in school. The main interaction with the children came in playtime, which was magical. The children would not leave us alone. It has become clear to me now that this is partly because they do not have much of a home life, especially the children that have ill or no parents.
When the children finished for the day, most of our time was spent with Mr Massawe sourcing out supplies and equipment desperately needed by the school. With the money raised we managed to get the following:
Mr Massawe and the children could not have been grateful enough for all the items bought with the donated money. It was clear they were in great need of some of the items mentioned.
The remainder of the time we spent doing jobs at the school. We repainted the main classroom, but the bulk of the work was spent grinding all of the harvested maize. It usually would take Mr Massawe and his family around 2-3 months to get all the maize grinder by hand. This was cut down to just 4 days with the purchase of the maize grinder. Not only that, but Mr Massawe will now be able to rent the machine out to other local farms to raise money for the school but more importantly, it will give Mr Massawe more time to educate the children.
When we were not at the school we ventured out to different parts of Tanzania which is a beautiful country, visiting Marangu and its stunning waterfalls, Pangani and its beaches, the National parks on safari, as well as the magnificent MT Kilimanjaro. I feel it’s important to mention this, for future volunteers, so plan things like this into their visit.
We have made a lot of connections with local companies during our stay and would be glad to set up future volunteers with an itinerary and schedule. I think this may gather more interest and volunteers over to Africa.
It is obvious to see what this school has done to transform the lives of these children, they are so happy to be at the school, also it is rare that you see one sad face amongst the children.
There is no doubt in my mind that this school would fall by the wayside without the help of the CWUHA. There are a lot of improvements that still need to be made at the school regarding the orphanage, teaching techniques and building improvement, I won’t go into detail in this as it has been collated in other documents.
The CWUHA have changed the lives of these children with its past and continuous support. I will be forever thankful to Alex and the other CWUHA Trustees for giving me this opportunity. As cliché as it sounds, this whole experience has changed my life for the better and I am 100% here to help the cause for as long as I am breathing. The Kilima Hewa School and children are in my heart now.
CWUHA's charitable mission to Africa
By Julia Upton, NEC member
I have recently returned from a totally inspiring trip to visit the CWU Humanitarian Aid supported Kilima Hewa School in Moshi, Tanzania. When writing this report I was keen to ensure that it would not, simply, be viewed as an immediate, highly charged, outpouring of sentiment and emotion, and to allow myself some time to reflect, in a more measured way, on the full experience and my observations.However, even with the passage of a few weeks now, I can unequivocally state, that being given this opportunity to see, first hand, the difference that monies, raised by the CWUHA, is making to the lives of these gorgeous, vulnerable, young children, has had a hugely positive and motivational impact upon me.
At times, I thought my heart may break at the poverty and sadness of the children's circumstances, especially when we had the privilege of being invited to meet some of their families and be welcomed into their homes. But, even more often, I thought my heart may just burst, with both pride and joy, at the impact we have made, and continue to make, and how happy the children are during their time at the school. The CWUHA certainly lives up to its motto of "Delivering Smiles to Needy Children" and, believe me, their smiles are contagious.
That said, our time at the school was not all fun and laughter with the children - there was a more serious purpose, in assessing whether their needs were being met (both educationally and in terms of basic provisions and standards), and that the CWUHA's money was being well spent. On this point, I would like to stress how reassured I was at what I felt and saw.
When I originally became a supporter of the CWUHA's charity aims, and then, subsequently, captivated by this specific CWUHA Tanzanian School and Orphanage Project a couple of years ago, it was because of the heartening nature of being able to guarantee funding, direct to the intended recipients, and the visibility and tangibility of how any monies were to be spent. My concern with some of the other charitable organisations, no matter how well intentioned, was that this cannot always be assumed. Therefore, suitable governance and checking of the substance and sustainability of the project is a key factor for me.
Having now met Mr Massawe and his wife Susan, who run the school, and seen, for myself, the way that they care for, and interact with, the children, I am unreservedly assured with regards to the integrity of this project. Their approach to life and the needs of the most vulnerable within their community; the priority they place upon the interests of the school / orphanage; and their desire to ensure that the school is developed, if at all possible, to the maximum benefit of the existing attendees, and any other children, into the future, is inspirational, if not, at times, somewhat over optimistic. But, they, quite clearly, have longer-term aspirations to extend the good work that is taking place, and you can hardly fault them for having such a desire. Their drive and passion for the project, on behalf of the children, is palpable, with - it should be noted - seemingly, no personal benefit (financial or material) whatsoever. Mr Massawe, a qualified teacher, originally converted two small rooms, within his own very basic family home, into classrooms to house the children.The improvements to the school, over the last few years, as a result of CWUHA funding, should be a source of great pride, and anything that we can reasonably do to support further development and provision would be absolutely amazing. I was particularly pleased to witness some of these ongoing improvements, in real time, during our visit, eg. new windows being installed into the planned new orphanage bedroom and the interior decor, beds and bedding transforming a cold, uninviting, room into a bright children's dormitory. Our commitment to installing adequate toilet facilities and washbasins and the carrying out of essential drainage work, providing guttering, water tanks and water collection, are all physical and practical ways in which we are meeting the children's needs.
More cosmetic, but, personally, very rewarding, was seeing (at minimal cost) the CWUHA Logo boldly painted on the wall of the school, demonstrating the commitment to the charity's aims and our support of this specific project. Seeing the reaction and smiles of Mr Massawe, Susan, the teachers (Elizabeth and Lucas) and all of the children, when they saw, our finished logo, was unbelievably moving.They ask for so little in life and receive everything with the widest beaming smiles, which puts most of us, in a more material world, to shame. Some of the children, quite clearly, survive on the one bowl of food (a watery maize based porridge) at lunchtime each day, and supplemented by the occasional egg each a week, kindly donated by the chickens, also bought by the CWUHA. On visiting a handful of the children's homes, it is apparent that their family circumstances do not allow for any other regular meals or any other kind of basic provisions, which we all take for granted.
What, initially, totally hooked me into fundraising for the CWUHA's Tanzania Project was the concept that just £40 could support a child for a whole year. When you break this down even further, to the cost per month or week, it suddenly appeared to be so achievable, compared with donating to other charitable causes, with a more limited quantifiable impact. Certainly, I know that this was also a significant factor for many of my individual sponsors. It was no coincidence that so many of them offered the exact amount of £40 once they became aware of this statistic, and I can confirm that their hard earned money has been invaluable.
There can be no doubt that the children benefit greatly from the interaction with CWUHA volunteers and the knowledge that there are people, linked with the charity, who really care about them. But, the positive impact of this mutual exchange is, most definitely, returned in bucket loads to the volunteers.
As I said at the beginning, my visit was truly inspirational and certainly forces you to re-evaluate your outlook, perspective and priorities. The warm, completely overwhelming, welcome that I received from the children on arriving at the school was priceless. The total delight on the kids' faces at receiving any form of gift (no matter how small), or a simple hug or gesture of affection, was indescribably humbling. The heart swelling farewell that we, so touchingly, experienced on our last day was simply unforgettable and I will always treasure these memories.
My visit to Moshi was an amazing, life enriching opportunity. If there had been any doubt whatsoever previously, having once visited this project and the surrounding area, and witnessing the impact that our support is having on these precious little lives, the CWUHA is now guaranteed itself a fully committed sponsor for life.
In two or three years, I would simply love my 15 year old son to volunteer to participate in such a venture and, unsurprisingly, my natural preference would be for that to be at the Kilima Hewa School.
The surrounding natural beauty; the immediate proximity to the stunning Kilimanjaro mountain; and the incredibly warm, welcoming, and rich (in every sense of the word, other than monetary) Tanzanian people, all contributed towards a visit of such soul searching contrasts, that it gets into your blood in a way that is hard to articulate.I cannot thank the CWUHA Trustees enough for all of their encouragement and for supporting me in my visit to the Kilima Hewa School Project. I have, previously, heard people describe experiences such as this as having been "life changing", and it has always sounded a little melodramatic and self-indulgent. But, I now understand the sentiment behind such a statement.