for the vulnerable and marginalized
Our new KG teacher has turned out to be gem of a teacher! Willing to take from toddlers to those who are mentally challenged and even coming in on Saturday to tutor our slow pupils! We have been blessed!
The distance learning has been another hard road to hoe, the children are simply not accustomed to student centred learning and then when their supervisor left mid semester this did not help. A new more mature supervisor has come and they appear to have accepted him. It appears however that they are now settling in and adapting to work in groups and singly.
The high school lads seem to have found their place in the local high school, but need some firm monitoring as they find the attractions in town very alluring. The two older lads living in Shire are busy studying and working with the Community Orphan Project, they need their wage in order to eat so they are very steady in work and study.
These are the children living with extended family who might be simply an older sibling, they struggle together. One little handicapped girl in a rural area north of us lives with her sister who does daily work. The school teacher was concerned for them and asked if we could help. We encouraged the local community to help find a rental house near to school so that the other children could help their friend get to school and still allow the older sister to go to work. We pay the rent and provide monthly allowance to help with school and food. Most think bringing the child to an institution is best, but this takes the community effort away and is not sustainable. Teaching communities how to care for each other is so important.
Sadly some of our children have left the project as they choose to go out to work rather than attend school, other young girls of 17 and 18 years have married due to family pressure. We can only advise we cannot force change. In their place other children have been added.
Refugee Child Protection
In 2011 our workforce for Child Protection will be based in a small town called My Tsebri; this is nearer to the refugee camp where we are working. There is major road construction on the road between Shire and the camp adding travel constraints and delays in getting to work. The very nature of the work requires surveillance of the unaccompanied minors and a presence on the filed, hence the move to My Tsebri. Most of the staff have agreed to this move for which, we are grateful permitting us to continue this invaluable work amongst the refugee children.
This in process for one school (Kelakil) and will start in a second school by early 2011. Other schools may join and should the funding be available we can expand this. The Education Office is delighted with this initiative to help local primary school in North-western Zone.
Simple Delivery Kits
Ongoing education for safer deliveries, for high risk pregnancy alert service, support to the local health centre for their operating theatre and an improved service delivery for women needing caesarean sections has helped reduce the number of maternal health related disabilities. This is what we want to see.
Gender Based Violence Awareness
The local Women’s Affairs Offices and Women’s Association are so pleased that finally there is an organisation willing to help them help the vulnerable women in their midst. It has been interesting as we have requested them to identify the women who are considered victims of gender based violence. The ones who have come are Commercial Sex Workers, divorced women, women with uterine prolapse, women with childbirth injuries, women abused by husbands or partners and victims of early marriage. Where in the past just one of these problems was addressed we have decided to work with the government agencies and address them in groups. The older women help the younger women, the younger women often know how to read and write and assist the older women and together they find strength and hope for their future.
They have gone home promising to identify up to five other women who hurt and need to be part of these focal groups, where together they will figure out what to do. We would like to help them develop cooperatives for income generation activities.
Agro - Development
What appears to be working is the dairy. The cows are producing thirty litres per day; eleven litres are sold regularly, the resident children drink a glass of milk every day. The babies drink as much as they want. We have employed a young dairy maid to make butter and cottage cheese. The general consensus it to further develop the dairy side of our farm, buy more cows either with heifer or in heifer and to grow sufficient animal fodder to supply the cows and sell the remainder of hay to local farmers. Currently a field for grazing is being rented to a local farmer for his cattle.
There is a large tract of land not being used that could easily be developed, there is a market for dairy commodities because we are on the tourist route and the hotels often need dairy items for their clientele.
Other work being done is basically small market gardening for village consumption only.
Women Headed Householder Projects
Three of four are doing very well, the fourth one is where we are working with a group of demoralised women, they are sick, their spouses may have died and they may have seen several of their children die. Semama, Adigidat and Lemlem are progressing well and the first two are only monitored occasionally now, Lemlem is ready to graduate to independence soon.
What we do without you? Nothing for in fact without your regular support, your donations, the parcels that arrive every week, your encouragement through visits and regular emails, letters and telephone calls we would not be able to serve this vulnerable and marginalized population.
Karin v /d Bosch & Ruth C. Kennedy