Another email concerning the Mufindi Orphans project:
As we prepare for the upcoming BBQ on August 11th, I thought you might like to hear about an exciting development in the Igoda Children’s Village, the one where the AIDS affected children we play a part in supporting live. Please see the message from Geoff Knight below.
We look forward to seeing you at the BBQ on August 11th – more information will follow shortly.
From: Geoff KnightToday was the big day for the Igoda Children’s Village! It was a day that everyone associated with the organization in Tanzania, the UK, the US, Canada and elsewhere will be able to look back on with pride. 40 village, ward, and district leaders came to the Igoda Children’s Village today to hear from the NGO staff and House parents about what the NGO does, and how it is working inside the Mufindi community.
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 11:44 AM
Subject: Mufindi Today 25/6/12
We are nearing the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Children’s Village back on July 7th, 2007, and it seemed appropriate timing to invite every village leader from our surrounding area and beyond to hear what it is we are doing from the house parents themselves. We also asked for advice and suggestions from all of the village leaders, and we were impressed at the respect the leaders gave the house parents and NGO staff- often calling them a ‘great team’ for the children of Mufindi.Village leaders from all over the 16 village project area came and unexpectedly gave many thanks to the organization, and especially these House parents who’s hard work was recognized and appreciated by all. Many of the leaders made a comparison to parents in the villages, saying that the House parents at the Children’s Village seem to do their jobs in the same vein. It was recognized by all that this is not simply a job for our House parents, this is their life, and they are caring for these children as they are their own.
The house parents were able to explain how the children here receive all of their basic needs and rights to education and health care. There was also an explanation of more difficult topics that come up with regards to raising these children, such as how stigma is erased at the Children’s Village, and why the guardians don’t use sticks to punish the children.
The day started with a quick introduction of everyone present. Attendees included- The General Advisor (Diwani) of Ihanu ward, the Ward Executive Officers from Ihanu, and Mdabulo, Village Exec. Officers from every village in Luhunga Ward, several Chairmen and head teachers from Primary Schools, and the Community HIV/AIDS Coordinator, and Officer of Community Development from the District. 40 leaders in all!After introductions, the entire group went on a tour of the Children’s Village with the House Parents and Jenny Peck leading the way. The tour started in the garden, then through the fruit tree plantation, then circled each of the Houses during the pre-school period where all younger children were being taught. After the tour the group came to the Social Center together with all house parents, and other NGO staff to watch two videos prepared by Geoff Knight that explain virtually everything the NGO does in the community.
After these videos, the floor was open for any and all questions or comments. This was where the House parents received their praise, but also were able to answer all questions about the guardianship of the children with great poise and professionalism. It was an afternoon to be very proud of, as everyone’s commitment and love for these children came through with each explanation or answer. Several village leaders promised to bring trees and other items to help improve the children’s village even more! Others offered to give educational lessons to the children and House parents on gardening and farming or animal keeping so that the children can learn skills that will help them later in life when they live on their own.After the discussions, food was served, and the new General Advisor (Diwani) of Ihanu Ward was asked to give some closing remarks. He thanked the Fox family first as he said, “Without whom none of this would have started, and many of the children we saw today would have passed away long ago.” He also thanked everyone for coming and asked that the leaders of the village help the House parents and NGO in their efforts so that one day the community may be able to care for all of its children on its own.
The day truly could not have gone better as everyone was very positive and the sheer number of people that attended let us know that we really are connecting and working together with the local communities here, and that is not just lip service.
It was a proud day indeed, and a great way to start off another busy week in Mufindi!