BENEFITING: SMALL THINGS
Over the past several years, The Small Things and our partners have been able to vastly improve the living conditions, daily care, and survival chances to the beautiful kids of Nkoaranga, Tanzania, thanks to your support. Our Project Riziki fund is aimed to ensure we have the financial back-up to continue providing this 1-1 care, medical bills, staff overtime and transport costs for premature and sick babies.
Recently, a sweet new baby, Suleiman, had arrived at the orphanage at only a few weeks old. Our staff on the ground became concerned when they noticed that he had blue lips and subsequently brought him to KCMC in Moshi, the largest medical complex in the area. It turned out that he was born with a serious congenital heart abnormality. Our staff are now exploring the possibilities for this baby, but most likely he would need to be airlifted out of Tanzania for surgery, and even then there’s no guarantee. We steel ourselves again for the reality that we might lose him, while our incredible mamas, staff and volunteers have been caring for him at the TST compound day and night to be sure he is never alone.
To help provide Suleiman with the comprehensive care that he requires, we have decided to partner with Kumbuka Children's Centre, an organization based in Arusha to help provide Suleiman with temporary 24/7 one-to-one care. Since he will be the only baby currently at their baby home, he won't face the sniffles and bugs that inevitably get passed around an orphanage, and that his delicate body might not be able to fight off. Bethan Saidy, Kumbuka's founder, is also a registered nurse from the UK who can help monitor him properly, providing him the critical care that he requires. Together with the Kumbuka Children’s Centre, we hope to be able to bring him to a specialist in Mwanza where he can get a comprehensive evaluation and potentially treatment.
One-to-one care costs about $1,000 per month, and air travel and surgery are all extremely expensive in Tanzania. With your help, we can give Suleiman the best chance at success and a healthy development.
Project Riziki has made a huge difference for our children in the past. Little Ebeni was also premature, and was hospitalized for several extended stays with lung infections as an infant. With the extra resources that external referral hospitals provided, he stabilized and was able to come home where one-to-one care helped him gain strength. He is now walking, talking and beginning to eat on his own.
Baby Peace was tiny, delicate and extremely premature when he was brought to the orphanage, struggling to gain a healthy weight. After we began one-to-one care, he started gaining weight quickly and is now a gorgeous, loquacious three year old boy thriving in pre-school.
Our interventions for premature infants have made a huge difference for babies like Peace and Ebenezer, but sometimes the outcome is out of our hands. No matter how much we love and care for them, it is not enough to keep them from all harm.
In April 2014 we sadly lost Lulu, a beautiful, happy girl who could light up a room with her smile. Lulu passed away suddenly from pneumonia and suspected complications from TB. Another of our babies, Hope, was rushed to a larger hospital in Moshi with similar symptoms the same day. Hope was a fighter, who pulled through many times earlier in the year, but sadly this time, despite the best efforts of all the doctors, the infection was too strong and she too passed away just two days after Lulu.
The fund is named in memory of Riziki, who was unable to defeat the illness or malformation that kept him from holding his food down and gaining weight. Then again a year later, Rehema was taken from us before her time, due to diseases contracted during the unsanitary conditions of her birth. These things happen everywhere, but the problem is exacerbated in Tanzania, by poverty and stigma which can prevent women from seeking or receiving adequate nutrition or prenatal care. Compounding the problem are a lack of specialists and most hospitals' insufficient funds to attract qualified doctors.
With these losses in mind, we now ask for all of your help and support in our struggle to give our kids the best possible medical care they can receive here in Tanzania, when circumstances require. We don't want to remain in the position of having to scramble for funds each time medical needs occur, as we have in the past.
In memory of Riziki, Rehema, Hope and Lulu, thank you for anything you can give, so that money will not be an obstacle to receiving the best care available. Thank you for giving these children a chance!