Louise Whitelegg, Christian Aid IoM, writes:
I just thought that I would send you an update on year's Christian Aid Week Project. Whilst the week is 14-20th of May we will be working hard all the way up to November to try and raise the funds. So, if you would like to hold an event later in the year or alternatively if you would like me to do a talk or a presentation on Zimbabwe please get in touch!
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the project last year on a self-funded trip and met some of the lovely people who our little Island will be helping. I would like to share with you the story of Loveness, Christine and London. London has won over a large piece of my heart with his friendly personality and superstar smile! It was a privilege and a blessing to be able to meet them all.
Loveness Munkuli is the mum to four children, two of whom are severely disabled. Loveness walked the 10 kilometres to the drop in centre with her two children to meet with me on this day.
Christine Munkuli, Loveness's 13 year old daughter has Genu Valgum ('knock knee') and right legged varus (Bowlegged). She is able to walk, but not very far, and certainly not without pain. It is likely that the disability in her legs was caused by a lack of vitamins and calcium when her mum was pregnant with her. Binga, is one of the poorest areas of Zimbabwe and has been in and out of drought for many years. With early enough intervention, it is possible for her legs to be repaired with surgery, splints and physiotherapy. However, currently she is again a victim of her environment as the hospital is too far away, so her parents (as with the majority of the Binga residents) cannot afford the transportation costs, let alone the cost of the medical attention. There is some happy news. Due to a new satellite school opening close to Christine's home (3km away), she has been attending school since she was 10.
Christine's younger brother London also goes to the same school and is in Grade zero (equivalent to nursery). London is 10 years old, has Downs Syndrome and also severe speech impediments. Whilst Lovelness is grateful for London attending school she is also frustrated as the teachers do not know what to do with him so he often gets neglected while they deal with the easier (abled boded) children, so she feels his progress is limited. She is hopeful that in the future he will be able to gain a level of independence, that he will be able to do his own personal care and that he will be able to help with jobs such as fetching water.
A brighter future through inclusive education for children living with disabilities in Zimbabwe
The overall aim is to strengthen and empower children living with disabilities and their families to live dignified lives with improved independence, participation and opportunity.
Objective 1: To provide practical educational and life-skills support to 1,020 in-school and out-of-school children living with disabilities.
Objective 2: To strengthen the capacity of 24 schools, 24 School Development Committees (SDCs) and 24 teachers to support children living with disabilities.
Objective 3: To establish community-based structures, networks and support groups that enable parents of children living with disabilities and the communities to better provide for their children in 5 wards.
Objective 4: To promote networking and engagement initiatives at the local and national level to support policy and practice benefiting children and young people living with disabilities.
The total cost of this project is £114,646 (Year 1: £51,268 and Year 2: £63,379), which works out at less than £100 per direct beneficiary (1,020 children with disabilities and 445 families). The Isle of man project will go towards funding year 2 of the project, benefiting 600 children with disabilities and 200 families directly.
The project also has the potential to create long-term change that will enable all children living with disabilities in Zimbabwe and their families to lead dignified lives, with an acceptable degree of autonomy and independence, and able to access and enjoy their rights, participation and equal opportunities in their physical, social and educational environments.
100% of funds raised on Island go to the project.