Rufiji Leprosy Trust is a charitable trust supporting the Kindwitwi Leprosy Care Centre in the Rufiji area of Tanzania.
The care centre assists in:
~ finding and treating people living with leprosy in the Rufiji area
~ supporting people all people affected by leprosy throughout the Rufiji area
~ promoting self-sufficiency of people living with leprosy and their families.
As leprosy is curable, many think the disease is no longer a problem, however it is listed as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) by the World Health Organisation, which means it is especially common in some of the world’s poorest areas.
The Trust prides itself on being totally managed by volunteer Trustees; the only paid employees are those who carry out the Trust’s work in Tanzania.
While other trustees have been over recently, it has been several years since Sarah has been to Kindwitwi and we'll updating you on her trip through on our social media channels (we're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and on our website soon - so watch this space!
Our support for those living in Kindwitwi is mainly focused on the care and cure of those living with leprosy and education about the disease.
This includes supporting:
– an office
– a ward to care for long-term patients
– a clinic and dispensary
– an outreach programme where staff travel into the surrounding area to find and assist people living with leprosy
– a specialist shoemaker (Mr Salum Kipoloya)
We also ensure children receive an education by supporting the kindergarten and we have also supported some students to continue their studies further afield.
Recognising the village needed to develop in other areas, several years ago we introduced Kindwitwi to an organisation called ‘Better Lives’.
Working independently from us, the organisation assists those living in Kindwitwi by, for instance, providing loans to individuals to set up a business.
To learn more about the work Better Lives carries out in the village visit its website.Click to read full story
Salum Kipoloya, our shoemaker in Kindwitwi explains how the new ferry has made a difference to village life and gives an update on the latest harvest.
As the village is next to the Rufiji river, the villagers’ fields (or shambas) have a top of fertile soil after the annual floods. This is important as the main income for people living in Kindwitwi is through agriculture.
The Utete Ferry
"I thought you might like to hear more about this new ferry as it has made such a difference to us.
The Government has purchased another boat after the first one broke down. The new boat is small and is only for only passengers rather than vehicles or motorbikes. This boat can carry up to 40 passengers and is called MV MKONGO.
Villagers from Kindwitwi will benefit from this boat because they will be able to transport their crops from their fields to the market easier."
Growing Season 2016/2017
"We are pleased to inform our readers the rains this season were much better than in previous years. This means we were able to plant and grow larger amounts of rice as well as simsim (sesame), used to sell at the market or for personal use.
We have been told simsim is not a common crop in the United Kingdom so we wanted to share with you some information about it so you can see why it is so important for us here in Kindwitwi.
Simsim is a flowering plant cultivated for its edible seeds. It has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and is believed to be the oldest oilseed crop known to man, domesticated well over 5000 years ago.
Simsim is a very drought-tolerant plant with an ability to grow where most crops fail and Tanzania is the 5th largest producer of simsim worldwide.
In fact, because the rains were so prolific this season we actually lost some of the simsim produce because it turned rotten in the flood plains. This loss was offset by the fact we had plenty of rice and a lot of the simsim was preserved in a good condition.
Now the rice and Simsim season is coming to an end we are planting maize, pumpkins and other vegetables in the flood plains by the Rufiji River.
Cash crops are an important part of life in Kindwitwi including watermelon which can be sold for between 1500 – 2500 TSHs (GBP0.50 – 0.85).
We also harvest cashews (Anacardium occidentale) which you may know is indigenous to Brazil. In the 15th and 16th century, it was taken to West Africa, East Africa and India by the Portuguese.
It spread naturally because it is undemanding, tolerating poor soils, low rainfall and its commercial potential especially for Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) and the raw nut (RCN). In recent years the government in Tanzania has increased its focus on cashew nut production, seeing this as a potential source of wealth for Tanzania that is currently under explored.
As such in our region we are being strongly encouraged to grow cashews and receive subsidies and support from the government to do so.
We are currently in the season where we can harvest the cashew nut fruits and send them to market to be sold in November."Click to read full story
Read the latest news from the village, written by Salum Kipoloya, our specialist shoemaker in Kindwitwi
"We are pleased to let you know there has been good news from the village during the last two quarters with only two new cases detected. One patient came from the village of Muyuyu and is 40 years old. He has started his course of treatment, which he will take for the next 12 months."
The village has experienced some sad times recently, as Salum explains:
"I am sorry to tell you, one of our former patients Mzee Somoe Msham Liokoele died at the end of May. Mzee Somoe was the widow of Mzee Matyanga who sadly passed away three years ago.
As I am sure you are aware, one of the main areas in which your generous donations support is the care of long-term patients on the Ward. These members of our community are people unable to care for themselves (as a result of having disabilities from leprosy) and do not have family members to care for them at home.
The villagers living on the Ward make up a vibrant part of our community and Mzee Somoe, like her husband, will be sorely missed."
Salum says the second item of sad news is rather distressing.
" We are shocked to report the death of Muharami Ndete (brother of Jumanne who was our former Occupational Therapist). Muharami and his friend went at night fishing on the river and were attacked by a crocodile. His friend survived the attack but unfortunately, Muharami did not.
Following the incident, Government game rangers killed two crocodiles. This is a stark reminder of the dangers we face living here in Kindwitwi and how we constantly try to find the balance between a healthy diet and personal safety. Our thoughts go out to the family of Muharami at this very difficult time."
Siasa Primary School graduation
Despite these sad events, there has been much to celebrate, and Salum tells us about the graduation celebrations.
"Education is a very important theme in our community and we try to support and celebrate the achievements of the young people in our community. One way we do this is by celebrating our students when they graduate to a new class with a public celebration.
Many of our young people from Kindwitwi attend a primary school called Siasa. We recently celebrated the graduation of two students, Omari and Bahati as they recently completed their standard seven (primary school) and are now moving on to secondary school.
Both students took their national exams and did very well. The Head Teacher also singled them out for special commendation for their good behaviour and dedication to their studies.
As part of the graduation ceremony, the teachers and pupils sang a special song and did a dance.
Both Omari and Bahati were given gifts by their parents as well as a certificate from the school to recognise their achievement.
I am sure you will join us in congratulating them and wishing them well for their future studies."Click to read full story