RTL_logo_Colour 250 x 250Rufiji 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.

Please read on to find out more about our work, to make a donation or to catch up on the latest news.

Latest News

Vale Mzee Mkambakamba - a life well lived

Mzee Mkambakamba shows his weaving talents to our Treasurer Richard Luxmore

Mzee Mkambakamba shows his weaving talents to our Treasurer Richard Luxmore

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.

Mzee Mkambakamba playing Bao with a friend, a rather complicated Tanzanian board game

Mzee Mkambakamba playing Bao with a friend, a rather complicated Tanzanian board game

Our thoughts are with his friends and family and the whole village at this time.

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The importance of shoes

Materials for making shoes

Materials for making shoes

People living with leprosy experience numbness and as a result they need specially made footwear to protect their limbs from becoming damaged. Even so, many have disabilities as a result of late diagnosis and infections.

Until tailor-made shoes can be made with 3D printing, our specially trained orthopaedic shoemaker, Salum Kipoloya, is kept busy making shoes from scratch - using leather, glue, thread, speed rivets and buckles.

The individual protective custom-made footwear he makes is essential to help people living with leprosy not only maintain their ability to walk but to go about their daily lives, working, socialising and living independent lives.

As well as making shoes for people living in Kindwitwi, Salum visits many of the surrounding villages such as Mloka and Mohoro.

tatu mwesimba

Tatu proudly wears her new shoes

“It always gives me pleasure to visit someone like Tatu (pictured left) who is able to work her own shamba (field) and grow her own rice … and I know that it’s only because her leprosy has been properly treated and she has been given protective clothing that she is able to have any independence at all,” says Salum.

Salum often makes over 40 shoes each quarter, with each pair of shoes costing just £5.

Our thanks goes to National TB and Leprosy Programme for providing the materials for more shoes earlier this year.

Click here if you would like to buy a pair of shoes for someone living with leprosy, or text HAND43 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.

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World Water Day 2016

One of the taps in Kindwitwi

One of the taps in Kindwitwi

Today, Tuesday 22 March is World Water Day.

Organised by UN Water, the day is part of a global mission to get safer water for all.

World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then.

Each year, UN-Water — the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year the theme is Better water, better jobs.

You can read more by clicking here to visit its website.

For years Kindwitwi villagers had to rely on getting water from the Rufiji River. With crocodiles living in the river, this could be a dangerous exercise. However in December 2012, we were delighted to report the village had several taps, meaning villages now have easy access to running water.
Four taps have been installed with help from the Wade Foundation, one was paid for by the Government, and five are privately owned by Villagers.
One tap has been specifically designated for use by our Dispensary and residents our Ward, home to people affected by leprosy who, as a result of their previous illness, are unable to care for themselves at home.
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