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:
Over the past thirty years the Rufiji Leprosy Trust funding has provided many educational opportunities for people living in Kindwitwi and villages nearby. Thanks to the generosity of our donors Salum had his specialist shoemaker course funded and our Centre Manager was supported on his Social Work Course.
In addition to funding the on-going running costs of the Kindergarten, we have agreed to support several students to enable them to further their studies. The relatives of these students contribute what they are able, whilst the Rufiji Leprosy Trust provides additional funding to ensure all fees are paid.
Kirum is a student from Nyanda Katundu village, he performed very well at secondary school and secured a place on a Human Resources Certificate Course in Dodoma. When he finishes his studies, he hopes to secure a place in Government Employment.
Rajabu achieved good grades at O-Level and is now being supported to study Chemistry, Biology and Gegraphy A-levels at Utete Secondary School. Acheni, pictured here in one of her lectures, is now in her second Year of an Electrical Engineering course at Dar es Salaam University. RLT supports her with a grant to cover a proportion of her tuition accommodation and living cost fees.
Rukia is being supported on a secretarial skills course so that she can secure an administrative job. She will then be able to help her family with the expenses they incur providing care for her disabled brother.
Two further students have just completed their 4th Year and are awaiting their exam results, which will be due out in the new-year; we will keep you informed of their progress.
We wish all our students success in their studies. Thanks to your donations RLT can continue to offer support to the young people in the village and help them achieve the goals they aspire to.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support for and solidarity with the community in Kindwitwi. On behalf of all the Trustees and the team in Kindwitwi we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.Click to read full story
Salum, the village shoemaker shares with us the latest leprosy updates and news from the village.
Greetings to you all and we hope that you are keeping well. Let me start with leprosy news.
There was one patient detected in this quarter. He was a male, came from Kibiti with MB type of leprosy. A patient was self-reported, then he started the treatment.
Sadly the disease had already progressed to disability grade 2 because he had wounds to the soles of the feet. His name is Saidi.
Here you can see Dr. Nnally checking the patient’s eyes when he reported at the DTLC’s office.
Siasa Primary School graduation
Education is a very important in our community. We support and celebrate the achievements of the young people. We do this is by celebrating our students when they graduate to a new class.
Recently we celebrated the graduation of four students from Kindwitwi, one of them was my son called Rashid.
According to results given/announced, three of them were passed and one was failed.
I am happy that Rashid passed and is ready to join Secondary School Form One next year.
The guest of honour during the graduation was the District Commissioner.
Visitors to the village
In October, we were visited by Justine and his wife. Justin works with an organisation call Better Lives. He came to the village to see the progress of the Kikundi Cha Mafanikio (KCM).
Better Lives provides funds to support activities such as production vegetables for the kindergarten.
Justin and his wife helped the cook to clean the vegetables to be ready for cooking at kindergarten.Click to read full story
In August, James Steel paid a visit to Kindwitwi. James is a colleague of one of the trustees of the Rufiji Leprosy Trust, Geoff O’Donoghue. He stayed at the Father Robin memorial rest house and spent four days getting to know Kindwitwi and the surrounding areas. Here James reflects on what makes the village such a special place to visit.
What is so special about Kindwitwi? This was the question in my mind, after my first couple of days there. My short visit to Kindwitwi was my first experience of staying in an African village, and Kindwitwi matched the picture of regular village life that I imagined – sandy, hot, relaxed and overall very welcoming.
Other than the arrival of a full-scale sound system for an all-night wedding party, the village was wonderfully peaceful, with people slowly going about their daily business and always taking time to share a greeting. Given my total lack of Kiswahili and some others’ limited English, I often had surprisingly long conversations with handshakes that went on and on.
The hub of the village was the three small shops where the bus stopped, and the village itself is set on the edge of the beautiful Rufiji delta; with the forest, farm land and sand banks stretching out before you. A perfect place for long afternoon walks.
Even with a few surprises (the crocodile in the lake behind the rest house, an almost indestructible scorpion in the rest house, and a stand-off with an unidentified rodent in the long-drop), Kindwitwi seemed to be absolutely regular place.
So what was all the talk about a community of people affected by Leprosy?
It was only by spending time with the wonderful staff of the care community (Abdallah, the manager; Salem, the shoemaker; Fatuma, the accountant; Ramadhani, managing the Rest House) that I understood why Kindwitwi is so exceptional.
It is a place with a common bond (with all families having been affected by Leprosy), a shared history (people coming together on unused land and over the decades establishing a real community) and special and long-term link with the UK (from those who have lived in Kindwitwi from the sixties through to the nineties and the work with UK Rufiji Leprosy Trust since then).
Abdallah showed me around the care community – the stores for weekly food distributions, Salem’s shoemaking workshop, the dispensary and the thriving Kindergarten. The highlight was meeting the remaining four residents in full-care support, a delightful group of elderly people who had seen the changes in the village over the years. Abdallah also explained how the needs in the community had changed over time and that discussions were happening with the UK trust on the longer-term future of support and the care community.
Whilst it will be a challenge to consider changing the current model of support and the care community, it also struck me as something to celebrate.
From my brief visit, I got the impression that the persistence and strength of the community and the partnership with the UK, has resulted in real development and a real improvement in the prospects for those who continue to face the challenges of Leprosy now.
So maybe what is so special about Kindwitwi is that for those visiting today, it doesn’t seem to be somewhere defined by Leprosy alone.Click to read full story