Two years ago, FHDO executive director Rev. Francis Mambu came to us with a request for assistance in the construction of a poultry farm where thousands of chickens would be raised from eggs (with plenty of surplus eggs to sell at the local market). This has provided thousands of Sierra Leoneans with access to affordable fresh poultry, which is hard to find in the country, and expensive when available.
In the photos Rev. Mambu sent us, he is surrounded by hundreds of nearly full-grown chickens. Not only does the farm make chickens and eggs available for families, it also generates income for FHDO towards its mission of providing low-cost health care services for the indigent, and education for children.
As the photo illustrates, while the chickens cannot likely be considered “free-range,” they also do not spend their lives contained in tiny cages barely larger than themselves. This allows them to enjoy their lives before being enjoyed as a special treat for dinner on the plates of roughly 5,000 hungry Sierra Leoneans each year.
And with that project completed we are now on to our task of filling it with the medicines, medical supplies and equipment needed to serve the community.
“The prospective beneficiary community is highly expectant of its start-up and there is a high need for medical equipment,” reported Hope Services director Esther Ndichafah earlier this year.
We are working right now to raise the funds necessary to ship a 40-foot container full of these items in order to enable the people in the surrounding area who are in desperate need of health care services, and we need your help.
Health care, particularly for children and the impoverished, is practically non-existent and Esther reports that the main health challenges facing the country include endemic diseases including malaria, meningitis, cholera, Typhoid fever, and many others most Americans have never even heard of.
“HIV/AIDS also have a high prevalence rate with Douala among the top cities affected,” said Esther. “These diseases require health analysis that require good equipment.”
According to a recent report by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, few of the poorest women in Cameroon have access to a doctor, nurse or midwife at their side when they need them most, and hundreds of women die every week due complications, while many more live with “debilitating” outcomes.
In addition, the lack of medical attention results in thousands of stillbirths each week, half of them being babies who were alive when labor began, and thousands more die before they are even just one-month-old.
“For far too many families, the sheer cost of childbirth can be catastrophic,” says UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “If a family cannot afford these costs, the consequences can even be fatal.
“When families cut corners to reduce maternal health care costs, both mothers and their babies suffer.”
The situation is particularly dire for girls who married before even turning 15 years old. In Cameroon today, more than 60 percent of girls between 20 and 24 have three or more children.
Working with Hope Services, as well as our partners in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and elsewhere, we are doing what we can to help save infants and their young mothers from premature and preventable deaths.
The cost to gather the medicines and supplies, sort and ship them to Cameroon is not inexpensive. However, it is much cheaper than attempting to acquire them in Cameroon, a daunting task on its own. Using our status as a non-profit organization, the items are allowed into the country duty-free at a substantial cost savings.
Your gift of $25, $50 or even $100 will go a long way towards seeing that the future patients at Hope Services’ Douala clinic get the medicines and supplies they need to treat their illnesses, prevent them from getting sick in the first place, and undoubtedly save lives.
Hope Services has been providing free and extremely-low cost medical care to the most needy and vulnerable in Cameroon for 25 years through makeshift clinics and outreach programs. Now, thanks to people like you, the clinic is in sight of reaching its true potential.
“Our long term goal has been the extension of medical services in Douala for the benefit of the poor,” says Esther. “This project is a giant step into our long-term goal.”
Angela Miyanda, director of the Kabwata Orphanage, founded the home in 1998 out of compassion for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Zambia to provide them basic necessities of life.
“Through the provision of education, shelter, health, nutrition, love and security we try to help the children reach their full potential in life,” says Angela.
To assist in the funding of the orphanage leading to self-sufficiency, she has created a banana plantation, which has expanded over the years because of its success and competent management, as well as a vegetable garden.
“Our long term goal is to achieve self-sufficiency,” said Angela. “In order to do this we plan to expand our income generating projects.”
But now, Angela is busily working on another income-generating project with help from Bread and Water for Africa® – fish farming.
The short, medium and long term goals for the fish farm is to first learn the guidelines to dig a fish pond and gain experience in its operation and then expand from there.
In addition, Angela notes that some of the older children at Kabwata will be included in the project for training as preparation for the time when they move out of the orphanage.
Angela said she has already acquired the land, and that it only takes a week to actually dig the pond, another 10 days to prepare the ponds for stocking and that the time to harvest will be between 90 and 120 days.
Angela is proposing two dig two ponds that will contain 3,000 fish each with additional stocking to occur at six-week intervals for continuation and projects making between $8,000 and $10,000 annually in profits.
In total, Angela estimates the fish ponds will result in the production of 24,000 fish annually. About a third of the fish –8,000 – will be used to feed the children at the orphanage, with the other two-thirds being sold at local markets to raise operating funds for Kabwata towards its goal of reaching self-sufficiency.
She has also already established a relationship with various shops that sell farm produce every day and they will be able to get from the project.
Initially, a group of six people will be necessary to operate the fish farm, as well as a farm manager with experience in fish farming and a supervisor with knowledge of water reticulation.
In requesting grant funding to dig the ponds, Angela comments that Kabwata has been a partner with Bread and Water for Africa® since inception.
“Today we look back at the many achievements and we are amazed at what faithfulness can be when two partners come together for the assistance of vulnerable people,” she said.
“We are aware, that with time, the project will need to stand on its own for its continuity. The time is getting close and indeed we are getting ready to be weaned.
“Words will never be enough to pay our gratitude to the entire team of Bread and Water for Africa®. Children in the project have made higher than they ever expected. They are a testimony of what love can do.
“Thank you Bread and Water for Africa®. We will never disappoint you.”