Kifafa is a Swahili word for epilepsy. Today in rural Tanzania there is a growing understanding amongst the youth that epilepsy is a condition that can be treated. Yet when we talk to the people in the villages, we still encounter people who keep their epilepsy hidden fearing the stigma that still persists. The mistaken beliefs the kifafa is contagious, or that it is caused by a demon or a spirit. Our goal is to take the stigma away; to make sure all youth being diagnosed with epilepsy feel fully supported by their families and communities.
The need for education at all ages quickly became obvious however we also came to realize how highly Tanzanians valued education. Parents are prepared to make great sacrifices and the students are eager to work diligently. We have therefore concentrated on education as a high priority. The education of children is key to breaking the cycle of poverty that many families are locked into.
Our projects have always been evaluated and structured to consider the equality issues, both gender and the disadvantaged. The epileptic employment, the medical students, the beekeepers have all included women as equal participants.
The women’s residence is focused on education and safety for women.
The epilepsy medication provided through ROW is targeted at women who are or may become pregnant.
Provision is now supporting legal representation for women and children in Tanzania.
DENTAL AND ORAL HEALTH
The need for dental “help” is overwhelming. Initially, we concentrated on dental teams to provide relief from pain and to perform restorative work. We intend to continue however it has become obvious to all the health community that the only practical solution is to teach good oral health, prevention rather the treatment.
As we worked with the epileptic people it became very obvious that the medical infrastructure was woefully inadequate. We determined that the most effective way for us to participate was to assist with the education of medical personnel, so we began the medical student program.
Maternity care is also lacking so we have become part of building a maternity ward.
As part of our desire that all projects become self-sustaining and multi-purpose, we are focussing on micro-enterprise projects that not only income potential but have environmental or significant other social benefits. Beekeeping and rocket stoves are “transformational” projects with multiple advantages.
Provision has been provided with funds to begin to provide proper roofs for poor families in Tunduru, Tanzania. The woven grass coverings do not keep the families dry during the coming rainy season, families are cold and wet, food spoils etc. so this change will make a huge change to the quality of life for these families. It is quite wonderful to give Canada the credit for the generosity of the donors
The Catholic Diocese of Ifakara has offered about 40 Acres of land within Ifakara Township for the development of the University. The Campus Master Plan showing how the area will be utilized has been designed by Engineering Ministries International (EMI) from South Africa, with financial support from Provision Charitable Foundation, of Vancouver, BC, CANADA. With generous support from Trevor and Dixie Jones of Jones Family Foundation; a state of the art three-storey residence for SFUCHAS students has been built together with a borehole and 50,000 Lts water tower. These initial projects have occupied about 2 Acres of land leaving the rest of the land potentially good for farming.