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.
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
In the early 1980s, Dr Ian Quidgley spent around eight months in Kindwitwi, staying with Father Lamburn before starting his medical training in London. He forwarded us some great pictures of his time there, and our co-chair, Dr Feather took these with her when she recently visited.
There’s nothing like a good reminisce!
People in Kindwitwi loved seeing the village as it was over 30 years ago, particularly some of the younger generation. Some people also found pictures of their younger selves.
Now in his late 40s, Salum Kipaloya, our talented shoemaker who also writes updates about Kindwitwi for our newsletters in his beautiful lilting style, found a picture of himself with a model car he and his friend had made. He said the picture bought back many memories of playing with his friend.
From budding mechanic to skilled shoemaker, Salum’s bespoke shoes help those with leprosy-related disabilities to be more mobile, and indeed, it can be life changing. For some, being able to walk gives them a degree of independence and self-sufficiency by being able to farm.
Salum doesn’t just make bespoke new shoes; every three months, he will check his special shoes, making repairs and adjusting them to the person’s changing needs.
People outside of Kindwitwi also benefit from Salum’s skills. He often rides his motorbike to distant villages, taking his knives and leather working tools so he can make bespoke shoes for those who are not suitable for the government-issue sandals.
Another local, Mr Seif recognised his younger self in some of the pictures. Mr Seif’s mother moved to Kindwitwi when she became affected by leprosy.
Born in Kindwiwti, Mr Seif left school at 12, and has made a living farming the fields.
Now a family man, he grows a variety of produce including corn, tomatoes, okra, beans and sesame.Click to read full story
While other trustees have been over recently, it has been several years since Sarah has been to Kindwitwi and we'll updating you on her trip through on our social media channels (we're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and on our website soon - so watch this space!
Our support for those living in Kindwitwi is mainly focused on the care and cure of those living with leprosy and education about the disease.
This includes supporting:
– an office
– a ward to care for long-term patients
– a clinic and dispensary
– an outreach programme where staff travel into the surrounding area to find and assist people living with leprosy
– a specialist shoemaker (Mr Salum Kipoloya)
We also ensure children receive an education by supporting the kindergarten and we have also supported some students to continue their studies further afield.
Recognising the village needed to develop in other areas, several years ago we introduced Kindwitwi to an organisation called ‘Better Lives’.
Working independently from us, the organisation assists those living in Kindwitwi by, for instance, providing loans to individuals to set up a business.
To learn more about the work Better Lives carries out in the village visit its website.Click to read full story