The primary beneficiaries of RMF-supported Lwala Community Alliance are children, women, HIV-infected persons, and the elderly. Prior to the establishment of Lwala Community Hospital, there was no immediate access to primary health care or HIV/AIDS testing and care in the area. For this reason, Lwala’s health intervention has focused on primary care for children, access to medicines (particularly vaccines and antimalarials), HIV testing and care, public health outreach, and safe maternity.
During this quarter RMF funded maternal and child health costs including:
Lwala is a village of approximately 1,500 people near Lake Victoria in western Kenya. Within an hour’s walk, approximately 3,000 additional people live in nearby villages accessible by dirt roads. Poor physical infrastructure, including impassable roads during the rainy season, lack of electricity and lack of reliable drinking water, have helped to create a critical healthcare challenge in Lwala. The mission of the Lwala Community Hospital is to meet the holistic health needs of all members of the Lwala community.
Mito Gordon Osinda attends Minyenya Secondary School. Orphaned at age 9, he struggled to focus in school while managing his HIV-positive status. As a distraction from his troubles, Mito often found himself near the gold mines in his area, surrounded by violent men engaging in heavy alcohol use and risky behavior. Avoiding peer pressure to participate became increasingly challenging.
Over a school holiday break in 2016, Mito attended Better Breaks, a weeklong program offered by Lwala Community Alliance. With pupils from the entire North Kamagambo region, he learned how to deal with peer influence, anger, and conflict. His Better Breaks mentors helped him recognize how the mining environment could endanger his health and safety. To resist this peer pressure, Mito now applies assertive strategies to make better, more confident decisions. The program inspired him to work hard in school, improve his behavior, and build quality, supportive friendships.
Outside of Mito’s personal growth, Better Breaks continues to impact his life. After failing in school, Mito’s brother contemplated suicide. Mito mimicked his Better Breaks mentors, encouraging his brother to appreciate and value his life. He recalls this event: “I wanted to help my brother as Better Breaks helped me. I continued to talk to him about how his life is so important and not dependent on test scores. Slowly he started to see that his life mattered and was motivated to do better. He’s now among the top in his class.” Similar to how Mito helped his brother, he hopes to continue applying this knowledge to improve his community, sharing ideas among pupils from other schools in future programs. Mito is grateful for his experience at Better Breaks and encourages all youth to participate to better their lives.