Sophie Whittaker and a team of friends from Halifax have raised a huge amount of money for Cheka Sana through a sponsored Zip wire challenge. The team travelled to Wales for the loingest Zipwire in the Northern hemisphere at 1 mile long, 700ft high and a speed of 95mph it was a challenge not for the faint hearted!
They have now applied for a £5,000 grant to add to their fundraising efforts for the Zipwire. They need ALL the votes they can get to be shortlisted into the final 10 on the 31st August.
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This week has been busy with Streetborn. Our team organised a business training session for the girls for three days this week.
The idea of this programme is to help them in starting a business to look at the requirements, profit, loss and have an understanding of how much she needs to survive to help reflect this through her profit. The sessions have been successful and had a good turnout with biscuits and soda's the girls seem to have enjoyed the sessions. We hope that these sessions will help when establishing their businesses and ensure the longevity and sustainability of their individual work, our team from these sessions will look at the suitability of each girl and their current situation as to whether we feel the business would be a positive investment for her, as the high risk of not achieving could set these girls back a long way and we feel our support in other ways would be more beneficial. It has been an exciting and hard week for the Streetborn team revealing some hard work ahead, but with our teamwork and persistence we hope to continue and develop the support for all the girls in our catchment group.
and this week we welcome Prisca into our world... This is Pendo's second baby girl and she's beautiful! Prisca was born in Mwanza and has been brought to the team for the first time and having her health check ups with ForeverAngels BabyHome today. Pendo received a C-section during child birth and unfortunately the operation was completed very unprofessionally and has left her open to infection and severe pain. We have since the birth been providing good medical support for this and she is slowly making a good recovery. We wish her lots of luck for the future, and will keep everyone updated on their progress.
Another success story! The girl in these pictures is Rehema who came to us in January. She has been thrown out of her family home in their village and came to town before christmas. She has been begging for money and collecting water bottles to make some money to feed herself for the past months. Since January our Streetborn team have been providing counselling and support to discuss her personal and family concerns and problems. She is now living with her elder sister in Mwanza, and although the relationship is complicated we are helping her and her sister work through some of their quarrels. Two weeks ago, Rehema was enrolled into a vocational training programme for clothes tailoring. She has been assisting another tailor in her work and learning new skills each day. Aides has now started to produce her own designs and clothes, she will continue the programme for another few weeks before we provide her with a sweing machine and material to start her own small business where she can start to provide and support herself.
This is Aiesha. She is the newest addition to our Streetborn project, and was brought to us by another street youth about a month ago. Aiesha comes from an area near Lake Tanganyika (a long way!). She came to Mwanza City after she had caught her partner having an affair with another woman, she ran from her village and boarded a bus in search of her sister in Mwanza. Sadly on route while staying in a guest house her bags were robbed and she lost all the contact details for her sister. She arrived in Mwanza City with no money and no idea of where to go, so she slept at the bus stand. Since then she has remained on the streets for about two months where she has fallen pregnant at the hands of an abusive older man. Our street youth who brought her to us has done an amazing thing, and we now have accommodation for her and working with our team for counselling and support in preparation for the operation and her future. Aiesha is a very sweet girl and it is of the highest importance that we ensure she does not remain on the streets for a long time, and she returns to her family which she so desperately wants. Aiesha, also is suffering from a cancerous growth which is seen in the first picture. This urgently needs to be removed as it will spread to the other eye the longer it remains there. We have met with doctors and planned the operation and aftercare to ensure she recovers well. Our current grant for the Streetborn Project does not cover such large bulk expenses as these, and due to the urgency to reduce the risk of Aiesha being completely blind we are hoping with all of our supporters help we can have this operation done privately at Bugando Medical Centre. For full treatment in the next two weeks we will be looking for sponsorship of tsh600,000 this will include all hospital costs and aftercare in sterling this will be £240. Please, if any of you have even £2 to spare for this lovely girl who really does need your support to save her sight then please do get in touch, it really will be so appreciated. Thank you all for your ongoing support!
Aiesha is out of hospital! Recently some of our supporters in the UK helped Aiesha have an eye operation which has saved her sight and the potential spread of cancer to other areas of her body. She has now fully recovered and is out of hospital. Yesterday she returned to her family back in a village far from here near Lake Tanganyika where she will be preparing for the birth of her son and starting a small business. She will continue to attend clinics to monitor her progress. Aiesha is a wonderful young woman and she asked me to say a huge thank you to those that have helped her either through donations or just kind thoughts for her recovery. Its such a fresh start for her, with a clean bill of health and returning smiling to her family its just so wonderful to have happy endings! Thank you all so much for your support and well wishes!
This is Zuwena. She is twenty years old and has been living on the streets for over ten years. She now has two children born into street life where she has been living in a rubbish dump. The conditions for her and her children have been incredibly unsafe for so long, and we have been working with her closely since May last year. She has found transitioning from her street community hard and has on a number of occasions during this time returned to her group. Her compassion and care for her children is incredible for someone in her situation and she has been trying very hard to provide for them. She recently has come to the decision with her case manager to return to her village in Morogoro where her grandfather lives. We found the house is in good condition and the grandfather was very excited to meet his great grandchildren for the first time. He has opened the doors for the whole family and happy to take Zuwena back into the family fold and help her support her children. The story of Zuwena's birth mother is very similar to her own and Zuwena and her mother had a troubled relationship in her early years, which had lead Zuwena to leave home. This sort of information will help us continue supporting and counselling Zuwena through her experiences and hardship and work towards a brighter future for her and her children. We do hope Zuwena settles at home and starts a new life with her children, its such a wonderful step for her and we are all proud of her progress.
The newest addition to the Streetborn project, Baby Vicki! She was born at 2.9 kilo's on 24th September 2012. Mother and baby are now in safe accommodation and are starting their fruit and vegetable business. The little family has a long road ahead of them, but a positive start.
One of the Streetborn babies, who has been in hospital since June with severe malnutrition, was also battling severe cases of Malaria, Pneumonia and Hyperthermia. Due to the Doctors strike, her malaria was diagnosed three days before she received medication. In a tiny 2.5kg baby - that is too long. She had been on Oxygen, but one of the days tank was empty and due to lack of staff - her condition worsened but no one noticed. During a recent visit, she was gasping for air in a way only babies breathing their last breaths do. We finally got the attention of a Doctor who rushed her to Intensive Care - got her on oxygen and finally but an NG Tube in. Something we have been asking for 2 weeks as she is just too tired to suck. Amazingly though, our lovely little girl has survived and she was recently discharged with her mother. With doctor’s strikes and a young mother we really did not think she had a chance of making it, but this little girl has so much strength and has managed to pull through. She is gaining weight and looking brighter each day. The hospital situation is quite shocking at the moment, a lack of doctors has shown a shocking amount of malpractice and the amount of death is at a high, with children dying daily. It’s sad to see people in such need seeking the services, some travelling for miles to attend hospital in order to save their loved ones lives and unfortunately due to these strikes the services are just not there at the moment with such a high amount patients. Saying that, for the few doctors who show such incredible commitment to their work and try their best in such tight conditions, these people are very special and have helped us with our little girl over the last month, so thank you.
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QPR Coaches Blog- Day 3
Tonight we went out onto the streets of Mwanza to speak some children who are still living there. It wasn't easy to get to speak to these kids. We went through a social worker at Kuleana, who in turn contacted Jolam, a social worker with another project and a former street child himself. In Mwanza, the various street children NGOs work closely together and theirs is a good model of collaboration. Jolam arranged with some of the children he works with on the street to come and talk to us. The kids insisted that we met in a safe space away from other children on the street. Out here they have their own code of rules and regulations. It wasn't safe for them to meet us in their normal working areas otherwise they might suffer retribution from other children here - they don't like them talking to outsiders. These children choose to stay on the street because they can earn a bit of money and don't have to adhere to the routine of the Children's Centre. But it means they lack the emotional and physical support that organisations like Kuleana and Upendo can offer. This is why Jolam comes to the street. So that these forgotten children can still have someone to talk to. We met in a side street; Jolam and four of the kids. After a five minute discussion they decided the place wasn't good enough so they continued round the corner to somewhere more deserted. We followed after another five minutes and parked the car in the street with deserted market stalls all around. Kanuti from Kuleana explained to he children what we wanted to ask them, and then we began. We asked about what it feels like to be on the street, what their dreams were, their aspirations. One child said that he wanted to be a scientist but had dropped out of school 4 years ago because he couldn't pay the fees and then started living on the streets. He admitted that given the chance he would like to be rehabilitated with his family. He just didn't know how. The story was the same for one of the others: he had dreams but he couldn't figure out how to take the first step. Sadly, one of the children who looked about 7 but was probably 12 years old replied, "God knows". He said he had lost all hope and whatever he might dream wouldn't happen so he doesn't dream. At Kirumba stadium, training continued apace. We spoke with Dennis, who was at the previous SCWC in Durban. He is now 17 and hopes that the training will give him the opportunity to be a coach in the future. His message to the new team from Tanzania for 2014 was simply, "work hard." Dennis has worked hard since coming off the streets and he is now dreaming big. With role models like Dennis, there is hope for children still living on the streets but we need to keep spreading the message so that people like Kanuti and Jolam can do their job effectively and encourage more children to give up street life and pick up their dreams. The Street Child World Cup was set up to support children like the ones we saw tonight. Together, in collaboration, I hope we can do it.
QPR Coaches Blog- Day 2
"The police see us as criminals not as children" Anon, Kuleana Centre One of the best parts of this training is seeing the local police taking part. In many countries police are seen as the enemy of street children and are responsible for roundups and beatings. Here in Mwanza, Joseph Mwami, from the child protection unit, works closely with the Kuleana Centre. Their main focus is community policy and the idea that the community must be involved in order to move forward. Community is key to working with children from the streets or in difficult situations. Without the support network around a family that an engaged community provides, it is easier for that family to disintegrate and for children to leave home. The Kuleana Centre tries to rehabilitate children who arrive there in a number of ways: by reuniting them with their immediate family, by placing them with other family relatives or by working with the authorities to find a foster care place for them. Sometimes, after exhausting these options, it is just not possible to find somewhere so the children stay at the centre until they are old enough to work and have a place of their own. Back at the pitch, Joseph was talking about what he had learnt already from the course. Every year the police run a community tournament but in the past it hasn't engaged people in the way they would like to. Now, he says, he has some new ideas and tools to make the community tournament a big success and address some of the issues in Mwanza that ultimately will reduce crime. For children from the streets, the efforts that the police here are making to understand their situation must help when they are found on the streets. Because of the reputation of the police, Joseph said that some kids even refer themselves to the police because they know they will get help. This, surely, is a sign that things are changing and that the community here is playing a big part.
We would like to say a huge thank you to CAMRA and The Salutation, Doncaster for helping us to host this year's race night. Thank you to all those who attended and helped to raise £320. Attendees enjoyed an evenings entertainment of; horse racing(with many having good wins!) the boys from Kuleana's pre recorded races, a raffle, a pie and peas supper, pig races aswell as a fine selection of real ales!