Rotary equips preschool in Sierra Leone update & report from local Father Sam

Photo update of start and progress. Also listen to an enthusiastic interview with our Project Leader, Nurse Lynn Adlington + See Rotary Round-up bulletin's report

Cirencester Rotary Club has pledged its support to a proposed project in Sierra Leone to rebuild pre-school buildings that will benefit over 250 local children aged 3-5 years. The pre-school they currently attend has deteriorated to the point where the classes have no roofs and the toilet blocks have fallen apart.

Madina is a small town in the Tonko Limba region of Sierra Leone, located near to the border with Guinea and comprising around 4000 residents. The Help Madina charity was founded in 2009 by Dr Veronica Sawicki and her husband Dr Rohit Sethi from Cirencester and has provided much-needed provision of medical clinics and eye, dental and diabetes care. It has also provided water wells, improved sanitation and help for local schools (more details at www.helpmadina.org.uk).

Father Sam’s Report - August 2020


MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HELP MADINA FROM 2017-2020 

INTRODUCTION

THE FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HEP MADINA

THE VARIOUS INTERVENTIONS OF HELP MADINA

THE IMPACT OF HELP MADINA IN THE CHIEFDOMS THEY WORK

MY CONTRIBUTION IN HELP MADINA

MY PERCEPTION IN HELP MADINA

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT WORKING WITH HELP MADIN

MY RECOMMENDATIONS TO HELP MADINA

MY REQUEST TO HELP MADINA


INTRODUCTION

I am Rev. Fr. Samuel Munda Ngobeh commonly called Father Sam, and I was ordained Roman Catholic Priest on the 25th February 2017. After my priestly ordination I was assigned to work at Our Lady of Grace Parish Madina covering Tonko Limba, Bramaia and Khonmakah Chiefdoms in the Kambia District, North-West of Sierra Leone. 

Madina is one of the least privileged and underdeveloped areas in the North that is predominantly Muslim dominated with the Xaverian Missionaries as the founders of the Parish. With time they handed over the parish to the Diocese of Makeni Indigenous Priests, Rev. Fr. Henry Magbity being the first diocesan priest to take over from the Xaverian missionaries. I worked with Fr Henry till the time for is transfer was due for Lungi.   

THE FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HEP MADINA

It was in the year 2017 that Fr Henry introduced me to Help Madina and its activities. When finally the Volunteers from the United Kingdom came to Madina at an evening meeting, the responsibilities of Fr. Henry were handed over to me as the Chairman for the Sierra Leone Team and responsible for water well project and school project and any other project that is necessary for me to lead as Chairman. 

THE VARIOUS INTERVENTIONS OF HELP MADINA

Help Madina is a UK registered Charity Organization that has made a lot of interventions since its inception in Madina. Below are the noted interventions:

Medical Projects: Mobile Clinic Outreach, Feeding Centre, Eyes Clinic, Free Cataract Operation, Diabetes project and Florence’s TB Project.

Water and Sanitation Project: Creation of New Water Wells, Repair of Broken Wells, Construction of VIP Toilets. 

Community Projects: The Aged, The Disabled, School Support and Women Sewing Project/School Dropout Girls Project.

Emergency Projects: Ebola Sensitization Project, Ebola School Radio Teaching Project, Covid 19 Sensitization Phase One and Two projects. 

IMPACT OF HELP MADINA IN THE OPERATIONAL CHIEFDOMS 

The under listed impact of Help Madina projects is enormous within the operational chiefdoms. 

Mobile Clinic Outreach: It was very difficult before now to get proper medical treatment especially in the hard-to-reach areas of Bramaia and Khonmakah chiefdoms before the construction of some Peripheral Health Units (PHU) by government. Through the mobile clinic, Help Madina has been filling this gap and created a great impact on the health aspect of the people.

In addition, malnutrition was a common situation leading to death of some children. With the intervention of Help Madina Catholic Feeding Centre, children with their mothers are given food and the mothers are further taught on how to prepare the food. This has led to a drastic reduction in incidences of malnutrition and consequent child deaths. 

Similarly, blindness due to cataract countered through the Eye Clinic and the free cataract operation. Help Madina takes care of the transportation of the patients and the medical bill. Many patients now do sewing and other work after the operation.

In addition, diabetes project has created a lot of impact as Help Madina supply insulin and provide test to patients both at Holy Spirit Hospital and at Madina. This has saved the lives of many. 

Moreover, Cholera outbreak was rampant especially during the rains due to the absence of VIP Toilets and the lack of pure drinking water in the community. Through the VIP Toilet project, proper hygiene practices are introduced which lessened cholera or other related outbreak in the community. 

In addition, water Well Project has made great impact in the life of the various communities. As the adage goes …water is life. There were many struggles for water in most communities since women and children suffer most, as it is their traditional obligation to provide water for domestic use. Considering such a situation in Mabaindefay village where people have to navigate the rugged steep slope road of about a mile or more down the forest to fetch water amid snakebites and the constraints to climb up the hill to the village. With the provision of the new village well, all the struggles are now outdated. 

Tuberculosis in children was becoming alarming, so Help Madina intervened with the Florence’s TB Project, which provides tests for children and medication to their various villages and locations. This has greatly improved the health system with regards TB. 

The aged who are poor and cannot take care of themselves befits from the Help Madina Aged Project, which provides food and clothing to them until death.  This too has made a deep impact on their lives.

The disabled too benefits from specific needs to keep their lives going in the best way possible. 

Help Madina believes in the integral development of the person. Moreover, education is very vital so schools have been help with refurbishment projects, thereby creating an impact on the conducive teaching and learning environment of the school. 

Women and School drop-out girls Sewing project too has made an impact despite it has not been fully structured and implemented, but the awareness and consciousness for them to do economic activities that will bring income for their upkeep. 

The Emergency projects have always yielded great impact especially in the Infection, Prevention and Control of the Ebola Outbreak and on the COVID19 sensitization projects one and two. Through the intervention of Help Madina projects using the community radio station and the volunteers, successful sensitization supports prevention of Ebola and now the COVID 19.


MY CONTRIBUTION IN HELP MADINA

As the Chairman for the Sierra Leone Help Madina Team and Board Member, I have tried in my own little way to contribute towards the progress of the organization. In carrying out my responsibilities, the first thing I did was to strengthen the team work and this teamwork made everything possible with the projects we implemented from 2017 to 2020. 

My main accomplishments were the Water Well Project and the School Project. In addition, so far we have successfully created two (2) new wells and repaired twenty-nine (29) water wells throughout the Tonko Limba and Bramaia Chiefdoms. 

As for the schools we repaired the Our Lady of Grace RC Pre School and the WCSL Primary School Madina. 

Apart from my two main responsibilities I have served as the secretary of the Team and implemented the Franco House Project, the Two COVID 19 sensitization projects and I have tried also to work with all the various projects within the organization as a team. 

 MY PERCEPTION IN HELP MADINA

I have a very positive perception about Help Madina. Looking at the founders of the organization, two medical doctors freely volunteering to help people in need through the charity organization, I am inspired to work with them in my own little way to contribute with my time and energy. 

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT WORKING WITH HELP MADIN

Working with Help Madina for about three years or more, I have come to learn and appreciate the following:

That positive thinking and the good will to serve is important in carrying out charity work.

In addition, there is more happiness and satisfaction to see people happy and satisfied because of your actions or contribution. 

Similarly, St. Francis of Assisi says… “It is in giving that we receive” as we give out voluntary services, we receive more blessings in return.

Moreover, teamwork is foundational in building meaningful organization or achieving an undertaking for the common good.


MY RECOMMENDATIONS TO HELP MADINA

My recommendations are twofold:

Firstly, note that you are doing great work here but it is unknown to many people. Therefore, I recommend you put a bit of attention on making the work of Help Madina known to the world so that more people of good will rapidly turn to future donors with amazing support.

Secondly, the organization is to register either as an NGO or as Community Based Organization (CBO) so that it can have the right and privileges that other organizations do enjoy from Government and other bigger organizations. Moreover, after registration, it should relentlessly seek to collaborate with other big organizations operating in the country to be implementing some of their funded projects like water wells and others. 

 

MY REQUEST TO HELP MADINA

Please make this experience I have written down to reach our donors and potential donors to assure them that we have been faithfully implementing the projects they have donated their monies for, their intentions are obeyed. 

As I leave Madina for another location, be assured that I will still be working with the ethos of Help Madina, so please don’t forget me in future projects that might not be limited only to Madina. 

In conclusion, I thank you all for the trust you had in me to lead the organization from Sierra Leone and I thank particularly Reverend Fr. Henry Magbity for introducing me to this great organization. To the Sierra Leone and UK Team I heartily say thank you.

Fr. Sam 

Cirencester Rotarian and nurse Lynn Adlington travelled to Madina in October 2017 as one of a group of healthcare volunteers and spent two weeks providing education and health support to local residents.

SEE the Children in Action at the renovated School - 2 videos:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PWDS73kSDsQ8zfXvPHIcxwKE1qgNPg9q

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HELP MADINA SIERRA LEONE IN CORONAVIRUS SENSITIZATION IN TONKO LIMBA - MONDAY 20TH APRIL 2020.

By: Mohamed Daffae, Media and Public Relations -  ‘Help Madina’


Help Madina took our sensitization tour to Thambie, Kasoria, Kabat Limba and Kasumleh villages and all in Tonko limba. Thambie is the first big village you visit after coming from Karene district that has porous borders with Guinea through Tambakha Chiefdom. Thambie has a very big market that was attracting thousand traders across the country and the neighbouring countries both Guinea and Liberia. The town Chief of Thambie, Pa Komrabaia Conteh told us that the market has closed and has instructed the military at the point to stop all business people from coming to the town as they are the gateway to Tonko limba. 


We appreciate the work of Help Madina for thinking about them and especially him ( the Chief) who had never got a Veronica bucket and people are coming to him most of the time for disputes. The presence of military and police is high at the town and the town is giving all support they need to prevent the village from the coronavirus.


Kasoria, which has the Peripheral Health Unit (PHU) has over 10 catchment villages and the nurse, Mrs Ann Musa, complained that the pregnant women and lactating mothers are not coming to make use of the facility. Some villagers are alledging the nurses that they have been paid for them to infect people with the virus. She has informed the town Chief, Pa Abdulia Kamara of Kasoria to encourage the surrounding villages to make use of the health centre as there are enough medicine for children at under five, pregnant women and even adult that have many disease conditions that may die at home. The Help Madina team educated them on all the IPC to follow in order to prevent themselves from the coronavirus. The Chief commended the team for such gesture as they will make very good use of them. The village has never been visited by any organization to sensitize them on the coronavirus except Help Madina Sierra Leone.


The team also made a visit at Kabat Limba and Kasumleh villages that has never been visited for education and no Veronica bucket is given to them. We educated them thoroughly and for them to know that we paid them visit for them to realize that they are part of Tonko limba and they need to have benefit from hHelp Madina. Indeed the people testified we are the first people to make them have a clear understanding  about the coronavirus and they appreciate the Help Madina gesture.

Many villages in Tonko Limba need serious education as many people don't know about the virus and there are a lot of misconception about the coronavirus. We need to explore more and Target the Traditional Healers about secret treatment of patients locally that may invite the virus in their community as it happen during the time of the Ebola period.


Thanks to the help Madina Sierra Leone Team and the Help Madina UK for the support.

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See Rotary Round-up bulletin's report: https://www.rotarygbi.org/rotary-round-up-27-09-19/

Listen to an enthusiastic interview with our Project Leader, Nurse Lynn Adlington  http://www.coriniumradio.co.uk/blog/2019/02/community-today-12-02-19/ from 1 minute 40 seconds to 11 minutes 26 seconds.



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