A series of projects funded by a sizeable grant from South Australian energy company Beach Energy is being rolled out by CAPDA in northern Tanzania.
The grant has already been used to provide advanced training for two paediatricians and three nurses in surgical procedures to help children with spina bifida. Children born with this condition often suffer from hydrocephalus, and, if left untreated, this leads to a build-up of fluid and pressure on the brain.
Hydrocephalus can cause permanent brain damage and loss of function, and in extreme cases the head can become so large the person cannot hold it up. A simple shunt can be inserted to drain the fluid and relieve pressure on the brain. Sadly, in developing countries many children still die of hydrocephalus and on the operating table. During the training, procedures were carried out to treat eight children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, all of them successful!
The inaugural Beach Energy Scholarship was awarded to Albert Chaki (above), an Occupational Therapist from Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Tanzania (CCBRT). Albert has impressed us over the years with his skill and dedication, and we are delighted to support his further studies in Community Development. Future projects led by Albert will support children with disabilities by improving nutrition, reducing family poverty and social stigma.
The Beach Energy grant will also be used to purchase wheelchairs, design seating solutions and support 9 of CCBRT’s live-in week-long intensive therapy and training workshops in 2013. Each workshop allows 25 children and their carers from rural villages to receive assessment, treatment and information from a range of health professionals.
One of capda’s priorities for 2013 is to strengthen the capacity of a beading cooperative run by parents of children with disabilities.
CAPDA commissions beading work—including jewellery, Christmas decorations and bags—to be sold at Presence, a wonderfully quirky gift shop in Adelaide, who generously pass the profits from this stock back to CAPDA.
This arrangement provides the cooperative’s workers with much-needed income, and CAPDA uses any profits to provide further equipment and training.
Following the success last year of our grant from the Australian Government to provide equipment and infrastructure to disability facilities in Moshi, CAPDA is excited to announce a series of similar projects for 2013.
Not only do we have two further grants under review, but we have also received a generous grant from Beach Energy, a South Australian-based energy company with business interest in Tanzania.
This grant will go towards an intensive programme of training workshops for more than 200 parents and carers of children with disabilities in the Moshi area, and will provide funding for further study for selected health professionals working with these children. It will also enable the development and manufacture of seating solutions, and commission six locally-made wheelchairs. We look forward to sharing more on this exciting development throughout the year!
Alongside these targeted projects, we will continue our grass-roots support for the disability community in Moshi.
Poverty erodes or erases economic and social rights such as the right to health, adequate housing, food and safe water, and education. The same is true of civil and political rights, including legal rights, political participation and personal safety.
Poverty is both a cause and consequence of disability: poor people are more likely to become disabled, and disabled people are more likely to become poor. Neglect, abuse, discrimination and exclusion means health, education, housing and livelihood resources and opportunities are difficult for people with disabilities to access. The costs and availability of medical treatment, rehabilitation and assistive devices also contribute to chronic poverty and social isolation experienced by many people with disabilities and their families.
Addressing disability is a concrete step to reducing poverty. At the same time, poverty must be eliminated to achieve health/life improvements for people with disabilities. A main focus of CAPDA’s work is to support poverty reduction by supporting community-based disability services and disabled people’s organisations to improve access to health, education and livelihood opportunities by children with disabilities and their families.
It was a pleasure for CAPDA Director, Jan Baker, to see and report the wonderful improvements noted to BCC centres in Moshi in the last 6 months. Easier accessibility to centres, mobility and supporting aids, and simple things like bibs and storage cupboards, makes such a difference to children and carers alike. To see the children sharing a meal at their new dining tables and chairs was a joy!
This trip CAPDA met other local agencies helping children with disabilities in this region that are in also in need of assistance. We will keep you posted.
Over the past decade, the government of Tanzania has made several serious commitments to improving the lives of people with disabilities. The National Policy on Disability, 2004 (NPD) and Tanzania’s ratification of theUnited Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) form a promising policy framework to improve the lives of people with disabilites.
The aspirations of the National Policy on Disability include:
- encouraging the development of people with disabilities
- empowering families of people with disabilities
- reviewing and amending legislations that are not disability friendly
- improving service delivery
- enabling participation of people with disabilities and their families in decision making and implementation of important activities and disability activities in society.
However, as is so often the case in developing countries, these encouraging policies have been hindered by economic and social factors.
The real challenge is to find ways to turn Tanzania’s disability policy aspirations into concrete action. Various CAPDA projects, focused on practical and sustainable development, aim to assist local services and groups to meet this challenge by:
- offering training for the professional carers, volunteers and family members who care for children with disabilities
- developing assistive technologies and related services for people with disabilities
- improving material standards of daily care provided by disability services
- improving access to information, early intervention services, technical aids and participation in decision making
- developing networks with disability groups and service organisations.
CAPDA’s recent grant from the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program was a great success. Here are the reactions of two of our Tanzanian partner organisations.
The grant has been very helpful in improving the quality of the service rendered by BCC … Staff have received training which has made a tremendous change in their capacity to deliver services to children. Children who needed adaptive equipments have received them and it has made life much easy to them self and their caregivers. Ramps, furniture and other supplies in the centres has made the centres much more friendly to children and staff to work more comfortably.
Elirehema Kaaya, manager of Building a Caring Community (BCC)
Our experience is that children with cerebral palsy who receive wheelchairs come to the center under/malnourished but there is a definite increase in their weight after three months of using a wheelchair during feeding. Children also definitely have better trunk and neck control after 6 months of using a wheelchair. We are grateful and CAPDA enabled us to provide wheelchairs to children who attend WIT at CCBRT.
Ruth Mlay, Director of the Moshi branch of Comprehensive Community Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT)
In late 2011 CAPDA won a grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Direct Aid Program (DAP), administered by the Australian High Commission in Nairobi. This has allowed us to hasten some of the many improvements needed in disability care in Moshi.
Often lacking basic equipment and infrastructure, BCC strives to provide basic care and support to the children who access their 11 daycare centres. With the DAP grant CAPDA has already delivered some important improvements.
- built ramps to allow children easy access to the centres and their toilet facilities;
- provided wheelchairs, special seats, toileting aids;
- provided basic equipment to improve hygiene, including waterproof mattresses, towels, wash basins and assorted food storage containers; and
- provided educational toys.
Tackling food security
Access to affordable and nutritious food is a challenge for many Tanzanians, particularly for families with a child who is unable to contribute to household productivity. Food security is a global issue, but small, local food growing initiatives can make a difference. With our AusAid grant funds CAPDA has made a start by providing several centres with fencing, tools, seeds and water tanks to establish community gardens.