In March 2014, the Trustees of Kids for Kids announced that they would be adopting a further five villages in Darfur. The five villages are: Fazy, Goz Byna, Hillat Hassan and Hillat Kharif, and the nomads community of Elkuma. They will provide their package of projects including goat loans so that children will have milk, healthcare for both humans and animals, donkeys for transport, mosquito nets to prevent disease, blankets, donkey ploughs, crucially the repairing and digging of handpumps in the villages, and much more. These projects lift whole communities out of extreme hardship. We urgently need to train two midwives for each of these five new villages, plus in the villages we adopted in the last 3 years. Our midwife training is a wonderful opportunity for village girls to have a career and support each other. When they return from our 10 month training course in our purpose built compound they return with new status and have respect from their peers.
Through their training the village girls, who volunteer to take on this intense 10 month training course, have practical experience and many will have delivered twins and helped at caesarean births, although it is hoped that they will always be able to transfer expectant mothers in time for a Caesarean at El Fasher Hospital, if necessary. When they return to their villages, their peers look to them for advice and give them new respect. They save women's lives during childbirth and deliver healthy babies. But their job is not over - they also teach women the importance of nutrition and how to feed their babies so that they get the best possible start in life.
At the end of their training, Kids for Kids provide them with a uniform, leather sandals and a medical kit in a tin trunk. They also have access to a strong-cross bred donkey to enable them to travel quickly to their patients, plus a mobile phone so they can call for our donkey ambulance in emergency. The charity’s donkey ambulance is unique, and is often the only means of transport. "The thought of a journey to hospital on a stretcher between two donkeys is frightening" says Patricia. Kids for Kids solar lanterns mean that babies are not born in the smoke and light of a flickering fire.
To date the charity has funded 108 midwives.
Village Midwives continue to be absolutely key to protecting mothers and babies from the trauma and risks of child birth. Over 1 million babies die within their first day throughout the world but in Darfur, our 108 midwives have saved the lives of hundreds.
Our donkey ambulances are available so that Midwives can call for help if they need to take a labouring patient urgently to hospital. As well as being trained to safely deliver babies in one of the harshest places in the world, they are also trained in baby nutrition and provide critical help to young mothers so that they do not feed small babies inappropriately in desperation. This means that the babies in our villages are cared for long after their initial delivery.
In 2012 we built a Kids for Kids Dormitory compound housing 40 new midwives each year, the midwives return to their villages fully equipped and ready to safeguard the women in their community from the dangers of child birth. It is hugely ambitious to raise funds for so many midwives each year but the numbers of lives our midwives save makes it imperative. If you can help fund a midwife please let us know. It costs £2,000 ($3,400) to train one midwife but the support and knowledge that she returns to her village with, post training (10 months) is a commodity that all women deserve.
Our village midwives continue to very effectively carry out their primary role of helping women to safely deliver their babies. We receive monthly reports from the villages and these show us just how active the midwives are in providing sevices to the women in their communities. To give a couple of examples, in Siwailinga village Midwife Um Hany Hassan conducted 20 ante-natal and post-natal visits, assisted in 5 successful deliveries and transferred 2 mothers to El-Fasher hospital during the month whilst in Elfakir Ali village Midwife Zakiya Mohammed Sabil conducted 22 ante-natal and postnatal visits, assisted in 9 successful deliveries and referred 3 mothers to El-Fasher hospital. These midwives are clearly much in demand and their services are highly appreciated by the mothers.
But conditions in Darfur are continuing to worsen as soaring inflation over the past few months makes the struggle for survival even more difficult. Last month the villagers were dealt a further blow as the Government oil subsidy has been cut resulting in higher transport costs and yet higher prices for everything, including the most basic essentials. In many villages in Darfur the effects of hunger and shockingly inadequate diet are evident in increasing numbers of malnourished children. But in the Kids for Kids villages the situation is much better with no evidence of malnutrition amongst the children. The goat loans have made a huge difference but the village midwives have also played a vital role providing guidance to mothers in how to feed their children and how to make the best use of the food which is available. They carry out regular meetings with mothers to provide training in nutrition and infant health and welfare.
But the villages which Kids for Kids is currently able to support is only a drop in the ocean. The need is vast and never before has our help been so vital - but we can only do it with your support. Thank you for supporting this project - your generosity has made a difference but please tell people what you know about Darfur and encourage them how to help children who no one else is helping.
Our village midwives are an asset which is highly prized by the women in our villages in Darfur. To us it is unimaginable that women in Darfur face pregnancy and childbirth without having any trained person on hand to provide advice and guidance and as a consequence any problems encountered frequently result in the loss of the baby and in many cases also the death of the mother. All this changes when Kids for Kids adopts a village and trains two women as village midwives who provide regular ante-natal check-ups snd are able to detect potential problems and take appropriate action. It is no wonder that women value them so highly. One of the many village midwives we have funded delivered 120 babies in two remote villages in the 28 months since she had graduated. Moreover, she had arranged for 5 pregnant women facing complications to undertake the long journey to hospital in time to deliver their babies safely - without her skill the outcome is likely to have been very different. Although our midwives have to rely on the speedy cross bred donkey which we provide to reach their clients, we have provided them with 21st century technology in the form of a mobile phone which enables them to be able to contact the local hospital for advice and for referrals of women facing complications. Our last batch of village midwives graduated in March and we are still awaiting a report from the Ministry of Health on the performance of all the midwives we have trained before going ahead with the next training course. We already have the trainees identified - some from the three new villages which we adopted in 2013 and others fill gaps in our established villages where a midwife may, for example, have left the area on marriage. We are also still in discussion with the Ministry of Health about the possibility of Kids for Kids funding a second Midwifes Training School in Mellit.
The women who graduated as village midwives three months ago are now settling into their new role in their villages. They have now purchased their cross bred donkeys giving them the necessary mobility to be able to reach any women with problems during child birth very quickly. This is of immense importance in contributing to saving lives. The women in the six new villages having the services of a trained village midwife for the first time are particularly happy knowing that they now have expert advice on hand in the village if they encounter problems during pregnancy and childbirth. For the first time they also have the benefit of regular ante-natal checks which enable potential difficulties to be detected early. These services are so vital and appreciated by the women as maternal mortality in the villages in Darfur is very high and our village midwives save many lives. Your support makes all this possible and the peace of mind which you give to the women in Darfur is a precious and priceless gift.
Overall, the value of the trained midwives has become apparent in recent months. Malnutrition is currently rife in the villages in Darfur as soaring inflation has meant that families cannot affort to feed their children. However, there is no malnutrition in Kids for Kids villages and the midwives have played a major part in this providing sound advice to mothers on how to feed their children in the difficult circumstances. The loan of 6 goats by Kids for Kids to the porest families has also played has been another factor pro viding nutrient rich milk to the poorest families.
We are currently in discussion with the Ministry of Health about the next training course for village midwives which we hope to start during the next few months but the process is stalled at present as we area awaiting reports from the Ministry of Health on the activities and performance of the village midwives which form a part of our contract with the Ministry of Health. We are also awaiting a decision on our offer to at least part share the cost of the construction of a second MIdwifery Training School in the north of Darfur.
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