For those of you who have been following Victoria’s story, here is an update – If you haven’t then here is a chance to catch up before I tell you the good news!
Victoria is a two year old girl who had meningitis as a baby, because of this she has acquired brain damage and is now severely disabled. She has been wrongly diagnosed and medicated in the past and has been in and out of various hospitals more times than you could possibly count!
For parents all over the world, having a child with a disability is challenging. Hospital visits, medication, and simple tasks can be a daily struggle but to be living in a society where people with disabilities struggle to be accepted, it is demoralizing and so evident here. A disabled lady who lives in Mombasa told me she has made the conclusion that disability and poverty run parallel with each other; it is heart breaking to hear…
But I cannot describe in words to you how blessed Victoria is with such an amazing Mother. The bond between mother and child is always so naturally strong but the connection between Victoria and her Mother is nothing like I’ve seen before. Victoria’s mum is questioned daily by neighbours – “why do you bother?” some say, she told me she just laughs because they will never understand. She has tackled barriers society has put on Victoria and has so much energy and strength emotionally and physically – she is an inspiration to me and also many other parents in the area.
In my time here I have spent much time with Victoria and her mum and have really become attached with their story. In the last 4 months I have seen Education for Life supporting Victoria financially as well as providing opportunities for her to see doctors and physiotherapists that have visited from England. She has received help that otherwise she would never get.
The other evening I visited Victoria’s home and was so shocked at what I saw. It was something that any disabled child and parent in England would take for granted, but here it is something so amazing, that will change Victoria and her mum’s life, can you guess what it is?…
What I saw was a wheelchair! So why was I so surprised to see it? Most wheelchairs here are expensive, they aren’t adapted to the individual and are hard to find. But this chair was the correct size, brand new and had more or less fallen right into the hands of Victoria’s mum. How? The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (better known here as APDK). They are an organisation that specialise in rehabilitation, employment, day care, medical advice, parental support and the making of aids for people with disabilities. They amazingly have given Victoria a wheelchair!
We just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to APDK for this gift that has changed Victoria and her mum’s life. APDK are tackling the whole perception of ‘disability is poverty’ and it is amazing to see the impact of their work. APDK are not only helping individuals like Victoria but are making an influence and changing perspectives here in Kenya – your work is so much appreciated, so once again, thank you.
Written by Molly Fyfe
What an amazing day!
As we prepare for our National Exams, starting next week it was time to let off some steam and have some fun before the serious stuff starts! We were all split up into teams, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard so the competiton was hot from the beginning!
So we did water racing, balloon passing, dressing up and a fantastic dance off! The dance off proved to be the best part of the day – well maybe except for staff v students basketball – thanks team for a slim but amazing victory!
Today showcased all that is good about Tumaini – thanks to everyone for a great day and well done Buffalos, the winning team on the day.
We wish all our candidates for KCSE and KCPE the best, you’ve all worked hard so we know you will do well.
Thanks Xx glyn ‘n janey
Perhaps it is the heat, or maybe the emotion that comes with writing about the incredible place and people that make up Tumaini, but it has taken me quite a few attempts to write this blog. I have given up trying to tell you everything that we have done, who we have met, and how they have blessed us. As there are 8 of us, it would take up rather a lot of space in the blogosphere. It has been clear, from the moment we landed in Nairobi, whose work we are doing here, as we sat on a bus and ’10,000 Reasons’ was blasting out of the radio. God has been blessing us in so many ways and we have been able, with our variety of skills and personalities, to bless and be blessed by those around us.
Dr Alison (as she is now affectionately known) has been busy visiting, diagnosing and treating people of all ages, as well as talking about sexual health with the young people in the secondary school and the ladies at Mama Sema. God has been using Alison in the continuing developments of the cervical screening project. She has met with doctors at the local hospital here, to discuss the progress. Alison has been blessing the young people of the school, by answering all of their questions about STIs and getting rid of the many misconceptions held by people out here.
Ehud has been blessing the Mamas and the disabled children abundantly in his work out here. He was renamed Elwood on the first morning, by Mama Julie, and it has now stuck. If you visit Tumaini, you will know that the heart of the place is in the kitchen with Mama Julie, and this is where change of hearts and attitudes has to come from, if it is to be really embedded in life here. And so, Elwood told the ladies (who were too afraid to hold one of the little girls with Cerebral Palsy) that if God made us all in His image, then that includes those with disability. He has shown these ladies how to hold Victoria and others with CP, and already we are hearing tales of them welcoming her and her mother into their group after church on Sunday.
Others have joined the Mamas in the kitchen, including Meriel. I was told, when visiting the kitchen on Monday, that they would miss Meriel because she was a blessing to them. Meriel is, as I type, sat on the apartment balcony with Evelyn making the re-usable sanitary pads for the young ladies and women who are unable to afford disposable pads. As Jane told us earlier in the week, some of the girls’ attendance drops when their periods start, due to being unable to afford pads. It is an art, the creation of these pads, and truly a blessing from God to the local women here.
Both Caroline and Sally have been working in the nursery, in different classes. Their support for the teachers has been welcomed, and the children have enjoyed having a bit of extra help. Caroline has been providing songs and games galore for the children at break time, and has many new friends (although they’re almost 20 years younger). Sally has taught the children, and teachers, new songs and led us all at the Sunday School during our first weekend. There were so many children, with such a variety of ages, I still don’t know how she managed to differentiate so many high quality activities at the same time for the children. The children learned about the creation story, and a new song which has become one of the favourites, regardless of age. The essence of this song is God loves you and I love you, and that’s just the way it should be.
Dave has been getting physical, with the manual labour needs out here. When we return to Lancaster, I know who I can ask to do some painting! Working with Njagi, Dave has repainted the gates of Tumaini – something which I definitely couldn’t have done. He has worked incredibly hard, painting all day long in the baking heat out here. It is another reminder that God’s blessings come in so many different ways, and that it isn’t necessarily the most immediately obvious jobs that bless the people around you. I know those in the kitchen have been grateful for his helpful nature, as he turns up to relieve his wife and gets stuck in with the washing up. This is no mean feat, as they feed at least 600 each lunch time.
Often joining Dave in the washing up is Mick, who has been following the secondary school classes here. After spending a bit of time reading through the KCSE (Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education) exam papers, Mick was able to talk to a group of the students about exam technique, as they prepare for their exams in the next few weeks. Whilst our school year is just beginning, theirs is coming to an end, and with that comes all the exams. With Mick’s presence in the classroom, it has become clear that the school could really do with some new blackboards. Hopefully, we can help them sort that out. We were also blessed with a clear and short message during the service, delivered by Mick. God has a calling for each of us, and He will bless us with the gifts required for that calling. Once again, a reminder from God: ‘there are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.’ (1 Corinthians 12: 5-6)
I think the best way to sum up how I feel God has moved through me, is using a line from the song mentioned previously: “for all your goodness I will keep on singing 10,000 reasons for my heart to find.” Speaking to one of the teachers about their attitude and outlook, she told me that they had no reason to be sad or angry with God, for He provides for them and is good to them. This attitude is reflected in many of the children’s joy at the simplest things. It has truly been a humbling experience to teach the primary children here. Yesterday morning, I found myself in school at 7am (at the request of the oldest primary class) so that I could continue reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to them. Although there are, as there are in schools everywhere, the odd cheeky children, the children here are of a different design to many I have taught in England. They are eager to learn and see education as an opportunity to better themselves, and God has richly blessed me by allowing me to work with them. I know, for myself, that I must endeavour to see my life with the outlook of these children once I return to the UK.
Written by Olivia, St. Thomas Church, Lancaster
The past three years that we have been here in Tumaini we have left our daughter Hannah at home in England with my parents. Hannah is 24 years old and has Downs Syndrome; she also has a heart condition and coeliac disease. We wondered how she would cope here with the heat, the creepy crawlies, as at home she will flip if a fly or spider is spotted in her bedroom, the food as we have to be sure she has a wheat free diet, and the walking around as much of the pathways through the village and round about is uneven and rocky. Each year we have tried to justify how she would manage with all these things as we were desperate for her to share the life here with us that we love so much. Last year on the flight home we began to plan this year’s visit, and I knew God was saying that it was Hannah’s year. We spent the next 12 months planning and here we are.
Hannah enjoyed the flight and slotted into life in Tumaini like she belonged here. The children have welcomed her and flock around her to chat, it’s been amazing to watch how she has become confident with her surroundings and now goes off to the playground or the library on her own to find her friends. She has learnt the Swahili greeting words and calls out to everyone she sees in Swahili. At an evening meal organised and cooked by the Home Science students she danced the night away, some of the Mamas showed her Kenyan style dancing she followed their moves and danced until the music stopped.
Hannah has helped in the feeding programme and in the Kindergarten, she has a fantastic repertoire of songs and nursery rhymes and has enjoyed sitting and chatting and singing in the playground with the younger children and I must say I had a lump in my throat when some High School girls called at the apartment for her to go and sit and be with them. She has just come in from joining the ever growing queue of children gathering for lunch, when I peeped to see where she was she was enjoying a hand clapping game and sat chatting with a group of children from the village.
Hannah has taken life at Tumaini in her stride, she made us laugh as she found a way of dealing with the persistent flies, swotter in one hand, cup of coffee in the other, her mosquito net she says it’s like a princess tent and when Juma decorated her bed with flowers she was sure it was a princess bed. Outside school we have walked through the village, and out of nowhere children have appeared calling, ‘Hannah, Hannah, how are you’ she always stops to shake hands and have a chat, our journeys take twice as long but hey it has been amazing, we have visited families and joined the ladies at Mama Sema, which is a group of ladies who meet together in the village to share the word of God and enjoy just being together. We have taken the ferry to town which is an experience, hundreds of people and vehicles pile onto the ferry which runs back and forth many times each day between Likoni and Mombasa. We have been squashed and pushed and starred at, some people have pointed and starred at Hannah, if she caught their eye she would smile and say, “Mambo” which means ‘how are you’, some people will answer her, some just look and say nothing then Hannah would give them the answer, ‘Poa’ which means ‘I’m good’ but do you know I hope they are thinking hey it’s OK to take a child with disabilities out and about, as we walked up the ramp from the ferry a man pressed six shillings into my hand and nodded towards Hannah, we were humbled, speechless.
I am a true believer in ‘God’s timing’ and this five weeks has been God’s time for Hannah to be here. In her own way Hannah has been a little ambassador for God, I know she has blessed many and maybe changed peoples thinking towards people with disabilities. I hope that people have seen through the disability and will always remember her for just being Hannah, she certainly has made a lot of people smile these last few weeks, and whilst Glenn and I have been bitten to bits by ants and mosquitoes, Hannah has remained bite free the whole time, How great is our God.
Xx Glenn, Julie & Hannah
When Liz and Robert visited Education for Life last year with their two teenage sons Zach and Rupert, they were so impressed by the work that the charity was carrying out that they spoke to Beth and Peter who, with their two children, had visited a few years previously, and came up with a “Rock Your Socks Off” Music event. Not only was this a chance to raise money for charity but it had the added benefit of being able to promote the various bands of talented (mainly!) youngsters and provide a really fun evening for many of our friends.
Fortunately Zach and Rupert (who is a music student and has lots of music student friends!) had 3 bands between them, and Peter had another one. They invited 2 other teenage acoustic sets and the date was set. The event was held in our friends Max and Chris’ barn on a hot summer’s night. There was a bar, BBQ, fantastic music and 200 guests of all ages. There is nothing better than hot weather, live music, Pimms and a keg of beer. It was a fantastic night and to top it all, they raised over £1,000 for Education for Life, as well as raising the charity’s profile. Beth said “It took quite a bit of planning because none of us had done anything like this before, but it was a really fun evening and all worthwhile when we realised the money we had raised. When we visited Glyn and Jane, we wanted to do something to help and we do sponsor a child, but as often happens nothing came of our good intentions – until our friends came up with the idea of a charity gig. We are so pleased we did something and that our kids were so motivated to help at every stage. Friends of all ages were also really supportive.”
A couple of months ago, Julie (our head cook) asked me, “Where are our visitors this year? Nobody is coming?” I smiled and replied, “Oh yes, they are coming, just wait and see.”
On 9th July a team of 14 people arrived at Tumaini from Knowle Parish Church and what an amazing blessing they were! Thank you to all of you for coming, you really got stuck in straight away! Sarah Sharpe, you did a wonderful job organising the trip. A huge thank you also to Geoff, Arden School and to everyone who gave towards the fundraising for the trip, donating clothes, shoes, stationery, sports kits and of course the scientific calculators.
The team split into different areas, some to the kitchen preparing food for the lunch programme at Tumaini; some into various classes, working with students and assisting the teachers by giving one to one support and still others painting classrooms. Lower primary school children are really smiling now; their classes are clean, bright and looking great! I know it’s not easy scraping walls and painting in this heat, but thank you – it was so worth it! (At least it’s winter here!)
During the second week, the team ran an after school club for primary school students. I think they were slightly overwhelmed by the numbers of children but everyone really enjoyed it. From all around Tumaini you could hear singing, laughter and shrieks of joy from children enjoying the activities and games. The children had lots of fun and on Friday, when the team were not around at Tumaini children could still be heard singing the songs they’d been taught.
The scientific calculators are a huge blessing to many students and they will be for many years to come. We’d had many requests from students who couldn’t afford to buy them but because we knew visitors were coming we said we’d wait to see what was brought. When the team arrived, we could not believe our eyes! We now have enough calculators for students in Tumaini to use during lessons and we were also able to give half of them away to two schools around Mgambonyi, in Taita Hills. One of the schools doesn’t yet have its own classrooms, they’re learning in borrowed rooms and the students were so happy to see what they’d been given. The Head Boy at the second school stood for a vote of thanks and said, “In fact I have never seen a calculator like this before!” Thank you! The fingers that will operate those calculators are too numerous to count.
After the Knowle team had left, a group of 9 of us travelled for 4 days to the hills. We all stayed at Ronald and Agnellah’s house and enjoyed the fresh air (very fresh – especially early in the mornings) and stunning scenery of Taita Hills. The first evening we did an introductory warm up walk and then the next day set off with calculators and bottles of water packed in our rucksacks walking up hill and down dale to deliver the calculators. On the way we visited farmers partnering with Zaidi to check on the progress of their cows and renew contact. The Mwangoji family were not in the slightest bit fazed by inviting 10 visitors in for lunch and of course, being Taita – a cup of tea!
Later in the evening, a group of local footballers came on a motorcycle to collect some kits, footballs and training equipment that had been left at Tumaini by Doncaster Rovers. It was very funny seeing 3 guys on 1 motorbike carrying huge sacks in the dark – they were so excited when they saw the quality of the football jerseys and shorts!
Simeon was very happy to meet the cows named after his grandmothers and Andrew chuckled as we demonstrated to one of the teachers of Kiriwa Nursery School how to use finger puppets knitted by his aunty.
Children, parents and teachers from Kiriwa Nursery are very excited to hear about the plan to relocate the school to a new building, named “Bob’s Place,” planned to get underway in the next couple of weeks. Bricks will be made and materials bought in preparation for the construction (initially one hall) and we hope to be ready for the children to relocate as early as September. It seems like a very short amount of time as it’s currently a maize field but we’ll get there!
Again, the next day we visited more farmers and the local market, en route to buy Penny the cow. Children of Southborough Primary School have been saving their pennies for the last year so that they too could become partners with Zaidi by providing a cow for a farmer. Kelvin is very happy, together we organised the purchase and then later the same day he went back to the farm to collect his cow. When we asked him why, he said, “I want to take her when she’s full or it will take hours to walk home as she’d stop to munch grass on the way!”
We’re awaiting news from Ferdinand about the birth of a calf from Nafasi, his first cow due any day now and are awaiting news from Saul about the purchase of a second cow, to be called Ada.
Zaidi is a very exciting project and the community around Mgambonyi are very happy to partner with us. We have great support from the Chief and area administration team and together we’re looking forward to all that lies ahead.
Visiting Mgambonyi leaves you invigorated, enthused, excited and exhausted – look out for more!
Today Ali has harvested our first bunches of Mchicha (a spinach like vegetable) from the greenhouse. It looks very healthy and has been replenishing nutrients to the soil used for growing the tomatoes. The mchicha will be finished in a few weeks time and then Ali will prepare the ground again ready to plant tomatoes in September.
Thank you so much for all your support and thanks for checking in on us today!
Mama Sema, in Kiswahili means “Women Speak” – it’s a group of around 20 ladies from Timbwani who meet every Thursday afternoon to learn from the Bible, pray together, share stories and build closer relationships to strengthen their support network for each other within the village.
Over the last couple of years, many health issues have arisen both within our group and within the village. Women find themselves worrying because of lack of knowledge about a variety of ailments and being unfamiliar with the importance of screening programmes, many don’t attend, which means that diseases such as cancer go undetected until symptoms begin to show, this is often too late.
In partnership with a Doctor from England, Chris Galbraith and her two daughters, we’ve been raising funds to offer support for HPV vaccinations to protect girls from the virus, which can be the leading cause, in cases of cervical cancer. Thank you to so many of you who have given so generously, check out our progress here – we raised the target because it was so successful, which means that we’ll be able to offer the vaccination to protect many more girls than we had thought. We are working with health officials in the area to get the project off the ground and will purchase the vaccines locally. We’ll update you as it happens…
In the meantime, Chris is speaking to students in Tumaini about life and health issues to raise awareness of various infections and disease. During these talks, Chris and our teachers are giving advice about living successfully and healthily throughout adolescence and into adulthood, and students are learning how to take care of themselves in body, mind and spirit.
Yesterday, we introduced health chats in Mama Sema. During the week, many people raised the health issues that concern them and Chris discovered that there are common issues affecting people which could be discussed in an open session, making time for questions, open, anonymously and in private. Mamas actively participated in the discussion and in addition to talking about management of the massive issue of indigestion and excess acid; Chris offered advice on simple ways to avoid the build up of acid. An interesting discussion ensued about the foods people had eaten the day before and how they were prepared. It was a hugely beneficial session for everyone and we encouraged mamas to invite their friends and neighbours for session 2 next week, when we’ll be discussing issues of cancer, voted by everyone present as their biggest concern.
Thank you Chris, Anna and Grace for giving your summer to bring extra health education to our community and thank you so much to everyone who has given support towards HPV vaccinations.
“Doncaster Rovers are scoring success in Africa on an expedition to help youngsters in Kenya” Doncaster Free Press reports…
Glyn and Jane, staff and students at Tumaini Timbwani and Mgambonyi shout a HUGE thank you to Doncaster Rovers Community Sports and Education Foundation, (Liam and Jenna – you’re superb leaders). To Npower, for their support towards the expedition, (Jodie and Rachel – the leap of faith was worth it – we’re happy you made it!) To Brian Butcher, for pulling us all together, supporting Doncaster Rovers and Education for Life. To all the team members (you made Donny proud as you threw yourselves in 100%, despite achy limbs, injuries and the chilly weather, haha) and all your supporters who made this trip possible and of course, Donny the cow! (From funds raised for a family in Taita Hills) A huge thank you too, to Mr Juma at Tumaini and Pastor Ronald at Mgambonyi for your generous hospitality!
Every second counts… it surely did! From the moment the team arrived they were busy. After a 24 hour journey we gave them 2 hours to recharge and then a whistle-stop tour around Tumaini before helping the cooks to prepare to serve “Special Meal” (the once a month treat at Tumaini) – not forgetting the huge pile of washing up. Next, came a tour around the village to get a feel for their surroundings and learn about life in and around Timbwani (with great insight from Njagi, a village elder)
The next few days is when one of the goals of the trip was scored – to use football to engage and interact with communities who share similarities, despite being thousands of miles apart. Youngsters and teachers from Donny were fully immersed within Tumaini classes; students shadowed our students; teachers shadowed teachers and then later in the day everyone enjoyed some skills practice for football and later some for basketball too. Football is an international language, for young and old alike, playing, supporting, building teams and appreciating each other for the skills we have.
Sports and Fun Day was a great day for English folk – it rained… and rained… and rained, but true to form matches were played, goals were scored and in between when the rain came heavily most of the supporters ran for cover. Smiles covered the faces of children in Tumaini, as activities were going on all over. Rovers were impressed with the skill and passion of our girl’s team, although one or two came away with injuries from tackles!
After playing the whole day, Friday morning saw a very early start, sleeping bags and Rovers pillows at the ready for a long journey to Taita Hills. Travelling in Africa often brings challenges, so problem solving and a creative mind is imperative (all part of the experience!) Having set off at 6am, we finally arrived at the football field at Mgambonyi Primary School at 1.50pm ready for football at 2pm. Three local teams were ready to face the team from Doncaster Rovers. People had gathered from miles around, they’d heard the stories and come to see the first English people ever to play on their pitch. The team began with fun and skills training, the sounds of fun and joy filled the air as footballers learned new skills; meanwhile a group of children could be heard shouting, “Doncaster, Doncaster,’ led by Jenna. Games finished around 5pm and the Rovers team left the field exhausted, yet invigorated from the wonderful couple of days. But then, legs began to stiffen and joints began to ache so we all took a walk through the forest to stretch muscles and watch the sun setting at the top of the hills. We met 3 ladies carrying water on their heads who shouted, “How was the game?” (News spreads fast!)
We all woke early the next morning to go to meet Donny the cow and the family she’d been given to. Ferdinand, Martha and their family were eagerly waiting to meet the team and their youngest son Philip very quickly made friends with everyone, running, playing and having fun. Ferdinand told us that he used to struggle to buy milk for his family, but now Donny is giving 6 litres in a morning and 3 at night, which means they have enough for the family and some to sell to Brookside dairy.
It is yet to be confirmed if Donny is already in calf; after giving birth her milk yield should increase. Ferdinand’s family gave us a tour of their fields growing cabbage; baby marrow and Napier grass and then gave us a special treat of fresh macadamia nuts, straight from the tree. Most of us had to enlist the help of a young girl to crack open the outer skin of the nut with her teeth before we could start trying to crack the shell on the rocks.
True to the name, ‘Rovers Go Wild’ the final day was spent on safari. What an amazing time we had! Upon entering the park we came across a family of elephants and then not long afterwards sat with a family of 8 lions. It was fun to watch the lions grooming each other, but then tracking them from a respectful distance and watching them play was awesome! Check this out!
Rovers Go Wild? They sure did! What a wonderful wealth of experience for the youngsters and team members who came… and what a privilege it was to host them and see the children here in Timbwani and Mgambonyi soaking up the experience too!
On Wednesday 5th June, a number of students and a couple of teachers were invited to celebrate the day with other schools at Diani Estate (a farm owned by a cement factory, investing in tree planting and other conservation initiatives)
As we were due to set off from Tumaini we had a slight confusion, we didn’t seem to have enough space for the number of children and when Madam Sarah started to count the children who’d been selected, she found that we had 2 cheeky stow-aways trying to sneak on the trip – there was a lot of excitement, but sadly they had to remain behind!
We arrived at the event and children read the banners that were being erected and enjoyed chatting with their teachers about land reclamation, which they’d been taught about in Social Studies earlier in the year.
As different stalls were being set up the children sat writing a speech about conserving energy as there were varying activities planned during the day.
The first event of the day was a 4km race and the participants were of mixed ages and abilities from primary age to secondary school age and even some adults. As they were warming up, Fundi noticed a small group of boys who looked discouraged and a little scared so, in his own style, he came along side them and got them doing star jumps to give them courage – nice one Fundi! Five Tumaini Primary students were excited to enter the race, Bryton, Brian, Lee, Saumu and Mwaka. (Mr Gitonga also started with them to encourage them; he then came to join us in cheering them on at the finish line)
Bryton Sosmo finished in 4th place overall, and a clear 1st in primary students – Well Done Bryton! Bryan came in next – Great job Bryan and then Lee, Saumu and Mwaka – Well Done! You guys and girls must be fit!
After the race there were dancers in colourful traditional costumes, poems, speeches and exhibition stands to enjoy.
Everybody was excited and enjoyed a wonderful day of fun!
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in Kenya and the 2nd most common cancer in women worldwide, but 86% of cases are in developing countries.
The link between hpv infection and cervical cancer is well established, and caused virtually 100% of cases of cervical cancer, hpv 16 and hpv 18 are vaccine preventable types and contribute to 70% of all cervical cancer cases. Cervical cancer is claiming the lives of young women in Africa at a time when they are needed to support and care for young children. The limited medical care makes the management of women dying with these invasive pelvic tumours hugely challenging and distressing.
The vaccine is expensive and therefore not available to the majority of Kenyan women on cost grounds alone; add to that the ignorance of women to health advice, lifestyle measures and access to screening programmes, very few individuals access the vaccine.
This project aims to raise awareness amongst adolescent girls and women of the health risks and educate them on how to protect themselves with risk reducing behaviour. Over 80% of Kenyan women have never had any form of pelvic examination; we hope to dispel some of the ignorance surrounding this and encourage women to attend screening, as well as education around other risk factors of sexual behaviour, smoking contraception etc.
When surveyed, given the information, around 90% of women would present their daughters for hpv vaccination if it were affordable to them.
We have access to the girls at Tumaini, with the additional exciting possibility of going into other local secondary schools to educate and vaccinate the students. The hope is that this would become an on-going programme year on year. It may even become an example to neighbouring schools/districts to take on similar projects, and who knows where it might lead?
Hpv vaccination is the world’s most expensive vaccine; it comprises a course of 3 injections and costs around £45 per child. We have established a supply of vaccines, fridge facilities, and a willing team to get involved with all aspects of this project. To vaccinate all the girls 12 years and over at Tumaini will cost in the region of £8,000. We will purchase as many vaccines as we can with the money raised and start vaccinations in July this year, the more we can fund, the more girls we will be able to vaccinate.
This is a life-saving intervention, and whilst it does not meet the criteria of large scale population disease management, for the individual girls and families involved it is huge.
It’s like throwing starfish back one at a time, but who knows where it might lead????? Would you like to help us throw a starfish back? Visit www.justgiving.com/savealifehpv or simply text HPVM88 to 70070
Written by Dr. Orton