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.
Acheni's 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 and were able to set up homes and have a family life.
Acheni attended the local school and excelled in her studies. Recognising her abilities, her parents have worked hard to ensure she could continue her studies.
This young lady has overcome many things - stereotypes stigma, and the challenge of studying for exams whilst living in a village with no mains electricity!
We are delighted she is currently in her first year studying an Electrical Engineering degree at Dar es Salaam University.
If you'd like to help young girls (and boys!) like Acheni, please donate to our dedicated education fund and give every child in Kindwitwi the opportunity to follow their dreams and to be the best that they can be.Click to read full story
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
In Kindwitwi, there are many remarkable women who have overcome adversity in their lives – the stigma of leprosy has been one of them!
Over 50 years ago, Mrs Nguyu arrived at Kindwitwi having been diagnosed with leprosy. Because of her diagnosis, she’d been ostracised by her village and had to leave with her child.
She already knew about Kindwitwi as her brother had moved here a few years earlier after he was diagnosed with leprosy. Here she found a safe place, where no-one was shunned and people could live their lives.
At that time there was no cure for leprosy; it was just controlled with drugs like dapsone. However, in the 1980s, Mrs Nguyu was able to have multi drug therapy and she was finally be declared fully cured from the disease.
As well as being cured of leprosy, in Kindwitwi, she also found a new partner and had several more children.
Today we celebrate women like Mrs Nguyu, who overcame the stigma of leprosy and worked hard in her fields through her life to provide for her family.
She gave them a home and encouraged them to follow their dreams. With our help, her children went to school and some even went to higher education – one of her children is our centre manager Abdallah.
Mrs Nguyu now too frail to work, and she is cared for by Abdallah and his family.
She still enjoys village life and seeing her family.Click to read full story
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."