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.
Families affected by leprosy often remain trapped in a cycle of economic disadvantage as their children are kept at home to look after their parents. In an effort to break this cycle, Rufiji Leprosy Trust sponsors the children of people affected by leprosy to board at the local secondary school.
By boarding, the child avoids walking 8 miles a day to and from school, fearful of lions and crocodiles which appear from time to time; and the child has electricity to study at night. It gets dark at 6pm every night in Tanzania!
It costs just £100 per year for a child to board.
Our Financial Trustee, Richard Luxmore, and his son Matthew are cycling from London to Paris via the Avenue Verte, to raise £5,000 to help us support 10 children go through secondary school.
Leaving London at 7am on Thursday June 9 they will cycle to Brighton and stop a few miles short of Newhaven.
They will then have an early start the next day to catch the 0830 ferry. They will have breakfast on the ferry and arrive in Dieppe at 14.30, with just a few hours to get to Forges-les-Eaux.
On Saturday they have a 60 mile ride through the Vexin, a verdant plateau on the right bank of the Seine; and a further 65 miles on Sunday where they will hopefully arrive at the Arc de Triomphe in time for dinner on the Champs Elysees!Click to read full story
Last year, we funded a training course for health workers in the outlying districts to enable them to recognise and treat leprosy.
However, our outreach work goes beyond this. When health workers go to villages where people who have had leprosy are living with their families, they also work on preventing disability.
Known as 'Prevention of Disability' (PoD) visits, the health visitor reminds people to wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of cataract and eye infections (if the nerve which supplies the eyelid is affected, some people who are living with leprosy are not able to blink so this puts them more at risk of infection ).
People are also taught skin care for their hands and feet to reduce the risk of ulcers, and are given apposite shoes to help with any disability.
Health visitors also advise on basic safety measures such as always wearing shoes and using a cloth to lift pans from the cooking stove as they will not feel it's hot - this reduces the risk of burns and further hand injury.
Earlier this year, PoD visits were carried out on two routes of Muhoro and Bungu where 46 patients were seen.
Also, earlier this year five new cases of leprosy were diagnosed, and two people had relapses. Our shoemaker made 26 pairs of shoes and five pairs were repaired.
We were delighted to hear supervision was given in health facilities in Ndundu nyikanza, Kilimani, Kibiti, Bungu and Jaribu Mpakani.Click to read full story
We were very sad to hear the passing of one of Kindwitwi’s much loved and oldest residents, Mzee Mkambakamba last month. Mkambakamba was 80 years old (we think) when he died, and had been living in Kindwitwi for over 50 years.
He was originally from Mohoroa, and came to Kindwitwi when he was diagnosed with leprosy, leaving behind his wife, friends and family.
In Kindwitwi, he became a valuable and much loved member of the community, living a very full and happy life. Mkambakamba married again and has two daughters, although his second wife, who also lived with leprosy, died a while ago.
We really encourage people living with leprosy to support themselves in some way. Many in Kindwitwi sell chickens and produce from their shambas (fields). However, Mkambakamba was a talented weaver and earned money selling brushes, mats and also rope for beds.
Although he sold his products mainly in Kindwitwi and the nearby Utete, visitors to the village would also buy them, so some have apparently made their way to Dar es Salaam!
Mkambakamba was also a keen fisherman and regularly went out fishing with friends until his health deteriorated due to old age.
Kindwitwi will miss Mkambakamba's big smile, sense of humour and playing ‘Bao’, a rather complicated Tanzanian board game.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family and the whole village at this time.Click to read full story