They say that once you have been to Africa, she always calls you back!
I have to say this is so true for us…… Whilst in Tanzania I joined a team of dedicated people who visited and helped many adults and children with a disability, a vulnerable group of people who are at times classed as “demon possessed” sadly still a belief of current times, the “lucky” ones will be kept by their family in small clusters of houses, many told to go hide out of sight when a visitor arrives at the family home, the not so lucky are ostracized from family and whole communities, thrown out on the streets to fend for themselves, open to every kind of abuse imaginable.
Julius the young man headlining this website, had an informal diagnosis of Autism, he was found locked in a shed and given scraps of food, he was rescued by the organisation I previously volunteered for where he lived until he died, sadly the effects of his life and lack of nutrition for so long could not save him, Julius was a joy to be around, comical in a very literal way, he had a heart of gold and many said a “smile like an angel”, Julius quickly demonstrated that he could be as independent as anyone else he enjoyed his comradeship with others his own age and was beautiful with younger children
Julius’s life so sadly misunderstood is why Nations Together is on a mission to offer safety and opportunity to people with a learning difficulty in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania…. and that is where this story begins.
So what is it we do?
Currently we provide for 17 Service Users with various levels of ability to attend an Activity Room one day per week. For example Bahatti (Service User) is a young lady with Downs Syndrome, her Support Worker is Mama Mwanaishia who collects Bahati from her home every Monday to support her travelling to the Activity Room using local transport, Mama Mwanishia then supports Bahati to participate in activities she wants to offering appropriate levels of support in person centered ways, lunch is provided, Mama Mwanishia then supports Bahati to return home safely.
The Activity Room has two coordinators Modesta and Gloria who ensure that the rooms are ready for when the ladies and gents arrive, their role is to provide a variety of activities which are educational, stimulating and fun. Every week there is a different theme that the ladies and gents engage in such as: reptiles, massai, differences in houses, a colour, the weather etc.etc. Modesta and Gloria prepare the activity, prepare lunch and snacks, and do all the housekeeping. The activities include things like: dominoes, ker plunk, cards, connect four, memory games, knitting, hook a fish, dolls, reading corner, colouring, art and craft, football, singing. Individual time is also spent working on numeracy and literacy. We aim to offer IT skills in the near future.
The Activity Room offers the chance to experience many new things which aid Social Inclusion and friendship.
Nations Together also provides funds for monthly medication for three of our guys who have Epilipsy, without this support, medication would not be provided and seizures would be apart of thier daily lives.
The Future Plan
The plan for the future of Nations Together has adapted to the needs of the people we support. From seeing the difference that the Activity Room has made in the lives of our service users we are now aiming to build a much larger day care facility which can be offered to many more adults with Learning Difficulties in the surrounding areas.
We have one and half acres of land to build a facility that offers a place of safety, opportunity, independence, builds self-esteem and confidence, and offers support with communication and behavioral techniques.
The Activity Centre will harvest the staple diet of maize, grow all its own vegetables and sunflowers for oil. The service users will be involved with cooking, shopping, money management / budgeting for the running of the center.
The service users will be encouraged to show care and concern for animals, something they may have not witnessed in their lives, the Activity Centre will be a haven for abused animals, but also be a means of income or food from chickens, goats, or cows.
The Activity Centre will aim to host an adult size assault course / play ground to aid physical activity and host a variety of exercise and sports classes.
The aim will also be to provide Vocational Training, Numeracy and Literacy.