The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.
Rebecca aged six is a double orphan living with her grandmother, Mary. The grandmother explained how she is the only one in the family earning income, and supports five to six members of the family by selling small packets of cobra wax colouring for five Ngwee each (about five cents). Having heard about the project after visiting the center, she put up Rebecca as a potential candidate as a beneficiary and was very relieved when she was chosen. The Matero Care Centre helps the family by paying for Rebecca’s medicine as well as occasionally providing a bag of mealie meal and even helping transport her to the hospital during emergencies. Other than that, they also helped supply Mary with fabrics to create table cloths to sell as she explained that she was now suffering from breathing problems, and selling the packs of cobra colouring was becoming harder and harder.
During the checkup, which is done on a regular basis ranging from once a month to twice a week depending on the severity of the child’s condition, Ms. Kanyanta Mirriam, who had kindly let me tag along to see how the organization went about checkups, started off by asking the family if there were any problems that may have cropped up since the last visit. From there she moved on to check the child for rashes that could indicate complications with HIV. After finding nothing, she pulled out a thermometer and a weighing scale from her handbag to check on the child’s overall fitness. Finally after the checkup she reviewed hygiene guidelines with the family and reminded them why it was important to keep a clean home as well as making sure to wash your hands and brush your teeth. It was all very comprehensive for a short visit, and Mirriam explained that she visited about three to four families every day to ensure that things were going fine.
On Saturday, I was invited to attend the SafePark activities that are hosted by the Matero Care Center every week from 9:00 till 11:00. This is where the children from nearby compounds are able to gather and take part in many fun but informative activities, and talk about their problems in a safe environment. There were about ninety children when I visited, ages ranging from four till about fourteen. For the first hour and a half, there were numerous physical activities such as dances, many Simon says-like games, and a form of duck-duck-goose. After this the children were split by age groups and discussed problems they were facing at home, or brushing up on what they should be doing for their day-to-day hygiene, and even how to know when they were being abused. One of the activities that stood out for me was the one where children were allowed to play with building blocks, and a lot of the times, this helped express problems that they were having at home. I was told that other days they also allow children to just draw or colour and that too helps with them expressing their personal feelings.
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