Our Relatives Support Programme…
Why and How
Our Christmas Appeal is now in full swing and so far we have raised £3,860 out of a total target of £30,000. If you have already donated – Thank you.
This year we are focussing on our Relatives Support Programme (RSP) which presently helps 78 children. This now costs over £25,000 to run per year and we hope to help even more children, hopefully, 90 or more, in 2020. Our first aim is, and always has been, to keep families together – often a child’s parents have abandoned them, died or are seriously ill so an aunt or a grandmother has become the primary caregiver. Almost all these families live with no electricity or running water; some of the children are disabled; all are condemned to a short and hard life unless education can rescue them from abject poverty
Tanzania remains one of the most impoverished countries in the world. The average income per person in the UK is £36,000; in Tanzania, it is £900. There is no welfare safety net and families are often split apart because they cannot survive financially together. Our aim is to help as many of these families as possible.
Through the Relatives Support Programme, we provide a basic package of staples, such as cooking oil, beans, maize and soap once a month, supplemented by fresh vegetables every two weeks. We provide school uniforms and shoes until the child is 17. These items are required to attend government schools. Additionally, the programme includes health insurance so that they can see a doctor free of charge and be prescribed medicines without having to pay for them.
About half the children we help live in and around the Kinondoni region of Dar es Salaam where our Reception Home is based; 40% live in Tegeta, another very poor region, in this case additionally blighted by the dust of a large cement factory which causes many cases of respiratory illness. We also support the children of two very needy families in the Mkuranga region – some way away from our children’s village, out in the bush.
It is clearly important that we check that our help is actually getting to the children and is not being diverted to other people such as debt collectors. Our tireless employees, Mama K (the half-sister of Najma, our founder) and Amina (herself an orphan brought up in Najma’s home before the Children’s Village was established) visit all the children’s homes regularly. They check the children are in good health and are attending school; all the school reports are filed by us so we can see the progress each child is making.
The children themselves walk after school to our Reception Home in Kinondoni and a house in Tegeta where they collect the food packages – this gives us another opportunity to check on their well-being. And when Dr Simon Cooper, our health expert, visits he examines the children for health problems while Francesca Edwards (education) talks to each one of them and tests their basic reading, writing and arithmetic.
We are very proud of our unique Relatives Support Programme and hope you will think it worthy of your generous support. And remember, any donation will be doubled during the Christmas Appeal.