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.
Our Trustee Sarah Feather writes
In October 2017 I had an enjoyable, self-funded, trip to Kindwitwi Village, together with two family members. We met members of KLCCDA and beneficiaries to ensure that the funds RLT sends to Tanzania are put to the best possible use. But we also found time to enjoy the hospitality at the Guesthouse, the tranquillity and the African sunsets.
Many things have changed in Kindwitwi since the Trust was first set up in 1983 and it is important that the Trustees ensure the use of RLT funds reflects these changes. Although there are far fewer villagers with severe disabilities than there were thirty years ago, there are still fifteen villagers severely affected by leprosy, some of whom are now in their eighties and have lived in Kindwitwi since the 1950s. At least half of these have no means of support at all, other than that from KLCCDA, so it is essential that we continue to provide funds for healthcare, accommodation, food and clothing for these most vulnerable villagers.
The kindergarten is thriving. It provides essential childcare for parents while they are at work in the fields so that they can provide for their children and their elderly relatives.
We visited the secondary school and met two of the five children who are currently being supported. I advised them that, should they do well enough in their exams, then RLT would support them through their A level years too.
We spoke with the District Leprosy Co-ordinator and heard how his challenge is to ensure that rural healthcare workers can recognise the signs of leprosy now that it is not as common in their communities as it once was.
Sometimes it is hard to measure the impact of so many years of support. There is less stigma surrounding leprosy and the general standard of living in the village is far better than it was thirty years ago, but for me the story of one young lady in the village encapsulates the essence of what RLT set out to do.
This young lady had just heard she had a place at Dar es Salaam University to study Electrical Engineering; her four grandparents came to the village many years ago when they found out they had leprosy, they were ostracised from society and had no hope and no aspirations. On arrival in Kindwitwi, they found support and acceptance, were able to set up homes and have a family life.
I am sure they are very proud of the achievements of their granddaughter. We wish her well in her studies.
If you would like to help give Kindwitwi's children educational opportunities, please donate to our dedicated education fund established to support children for the next 3 years from Kindergarten through to Higher Education.
The William Powell Education Fund has been established in honour of Bill Powell, the inspirational teacher and former CEO of IST. Through this fund we hope to continue Bill’s legacy, ensuring talented children can pursue their dreams.
Our Shoemaker Salum Kipaloya says:
"The residents of Kindwitwi are very pleased to have their friends and supporters stay with them. Visitors not only bring an additional income into the village, but many of them also bring some important ideas and advice."
He also says visitors also want to learn more about Kindwitwi, so they can share our story with our friends around the world.
Click to read full story
"Dr Sarah came at the village together with her husband and her mother. During her visit we talked about the many challenges we face but also the work we are doing to make Kindwitwi a better place for us to live in."
Read the latest news from the village, written by Salum Kipoloya, our specialist shoemaker in Kindwitwi.
"Here in Kindwitwi we are doing well and we hope that you are also. It is already the fourth quarter so that the end for this year is very close - how time flies!
In this fourth quarter of 2017, I travelled to the villages of Mohoro, Mbwara and Nambunju.
I was able to see some of the villagers who have disabilities from having contracted leprosy in the past. Among them was Mohamed who originally came from a village called Nambunju.
When he lived there (around ten years ago now) he was treated for leprosy.
In the picture you can see his newly fitted shoes that I have adapted specifically for his feet.
In the village of Mbwara I met with a lady called Zena as she was displaying symptoms of leprosy.
In the picture you can see me taking a record of her symptoms and ensuring she gets the right treatment.
New case detected
We are able to report that only one new patient has been detected with Leprosy this quarter. The patient is a lady and has started the treatment that will last for the next 12 months.
This patient has what is known as multibacillary leprosy, which means we were able to identify more than five skin lesions."Click to read full story
As part of #GivingTuesday, Tuesday 28 November 2017, we are launching an exciting appeal to raise $15,000, which will be used to support amazing children for the next three years from Kindergarten through to Higher Education.
In 1983, while working at the International School in Dar, Bill first led a group of students to do community service work in Kindwitwi, and he subsequently became Chairman of the Kindwitwi Board of Management and then one of our Trustees.
We are looking to establish this fund to continue Bill’s legacy, ensuring talented children can pursue their dreams.
In smaller Tanzanian villages such as Kindwitwi, finances are often a major factor in preventing a child from continuing their education. For those living in Kindwitwi, there are additional challenges; although leprosy is now curable, it there is still stigma associated with the disease.
In Kindwitwi, we have a kindergarten and many go on to receive primary and secondary schools in nearby larger villages such as Utete.
The Government of Tanzania has initiated several policy and structural reforms to improve the quality of education in the country. For instance, at the end of 2015, the Tanzanian government directed public bodies to ensure secondary education is free for all children.
However, while most fees are covered, there are other associated costs such as school and sports uniforms, learning materials, pens etc.
In the past, we have supported several students with their higher education studies – and some have returned to the community to share their training in nursing and social work. These include the Kindwitwi Leprosy Care Centre manager Abdallah Nguyu and Salum Kipoloya, our talented bespoke shoemaker.
The William Powell Education Fund for Kindwitwi’s Children has been established to give every child in Kindwitwi the chance to be the best they can be, by ensuring they have the financial support to education opportunities from kindergarten through to college or university.Click to read full story