School Support for Kenyan Refugees Update
December 3, 2009
Beth Cole, RMF Country Director Uganda
When the Kenyan refugees arrived at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement one and a half years ago, there was no provision for nursery school at the settlement. The community requested that Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) provide support for two nursery schools. The settlement provided space for the Daystar and Beth Cole Nursery Schools and the schools were established. The burden of paying nursery school fees is usually imposed upon the parents, however, RMF is paying these fees, along with providing school supplies and morning porridge for 260 Kenyan children. Without nutritional support, the children often leave school to walk home seeking a meal. Providing porridge at the nursery schools assures a higher attendance.
Although the Kenyan government is responsible for the school fees paid for primary school, there are other costs such as PTA fees that, if not paid by the parents, prevent the children from attending school. RMF continues to support the 487 Kenyan children attending Arnold Memorial and Canron Primary Schools by paying the PTA fees and providing school supplies for the three annual terms.
Similar to nursery school, the parents are responsible for school fees for secondary school, which would be considered high school in the United States. Secondary school is considerably more expensive than nursery or primary school due to the high cost of qualified teachers for teaching the sciences. 129 Kenyan students are supported by RMF in Panyadoli Self Help Secondary School fees and supplies. Students in Senior 4 and Senior 6 must take the Uganda National Exam Board (UNEB) exams to be considered for Senior 5 and University respectively.
The UNHCR found a donor for the UNEB registration fees and asked RMF to provide funds for transportation, accommodation and meals for the students taking the exams in Malindi over a two to four week period. RMF provided funding for the travel to Malindi, a town two hours from the settlement.
Upon UNHCR’s advice that it will take about three years for the refugees to become self-sufficient, RMF is continuing to provide school support at the settlement. Parents are relieved from the struggle of taking care of their children during the day as they work in the fields and have peace of mind that their children will receive an education regardless of their ability to pay for school fees, exams and supplies. With an education, the children have a greater chance that they will be able to leave the refugee settlement and fulfill their dreams.
Homeopathic Malaria Program
Susan Njihia and Margaret Mukwaiti, the RMF homeopathic malaria team, have remained busy, especially during rainy season when the mosquitoes swarm in abundance throughout the settlement. For the past couple of months, the malaria pharmaceutical supply at Panyadoli Health Centre has been depleted.** The community visits the health centre and is tested for malaria when Rapid Deployment Tests (RDT) are in stock. When no pharmaceuticals are available, the community can choose to either travel into town and buy medicine from the pharmacy, or receive malaria homeopathics for no cost through the RMF Homeopathic Malaria Program. Many have chosen the homeopathic treatment for both prophylaxis and treatment. The RMF Homeopathic Malaria Program has treated 35% of the malaria cases in the settlement since initiation of the program in December 2008.
Those that take advantage of the homeopathic malaria prophylaxis and treatment are mostly Kenyan refugees, but, through sensitization, the homeopathic team has spread the word and educated Sudanese refugees and Internally Displaced Ugandans about the benefits of homeopathy as well. Non-Kenyans comprise 13% of the malaria cases treated this last 2-month reporting period. This number steadily increases with continued sensitization.
During this latest reporting period, Simon Wanyama, an elderly man dependent upon others in the community for financial support, went to the health centre presenting with malaria signs and symptoms. Testing confirmed his malaria diagnosis, but pharmaceuticals were not available to treat his condition. Not having funds with which to buy medicine at the pharmacy, Simon sought out Margaret for homeopathic treatment. Within a few days Simon’s signs and symptoms abated and his health was restored.
Hanza Kauddo, Ardala Ali and Maulambh Fatuma, a Ugandan family, first learned about homeopathic prophylaxis for malaria 5 months ago. They frequently visit the homeopathic team for prophylactic treatment and the family members have remained malaria-free since being treated prophylactically, being resistant to the disease even during the rainy season when malaria was prevalent throughout the area. There are several additional families that have successfully protected themselves against malaria for many months utilizing homeopathy.
**In November, RMF assisted with stocking the health centre with much-needed medicine. Click here for the latest update on the Panyadoli Health Centre.
Through Real Medicine Foundation, over 30,000 free National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) treatments have been provided at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement since the initiation of the program in April 2008 at the Mulanda Transit Centre, the temporary refugee camp established for Kenyans prior to their resettlement in Kiryandongo. During the national NADA conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan this past summer, Dr. Michael Smith, founder of NADA and Director of the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx, New York, proclaimed that the NADA training held at the Mulanda Transit Centre is the most successful NADA training held. Dr. Smith based this proclamation on the unprecedented volume of patients treated. Prior to having these results, Dr Smith did not realize that this potential was possible. NADA treatments are used primarily for post-traumatic stress disorder at the refugee settlement.
Along with a successful RMF-sponsored NADA program, the settlement also benefits from an RMF-sponsored whole body acupuncture program utilizing acupuncture points all over the body in comparison to the NADA protocol, which utilizes acupuncture points solely on the ear. Both NADA and whole body acupuncture benefit the body, mind and spirit. More than 3500 whole body acupuncture treatments have been provided since the whole body program was introduced in December 2008. The primary conditions treated with this modality are pain, such as headache and backache, respiratory conditions and fever. Close to 70% of all acupuncture treatments provided during the last reporting period were for pain relief. Both the NADA and the whole body acupuncture treatments are of great benefit to the community, especially when pharmaceuticals are out-of-stock in the health centre and in cases where pharmaceuticals do not provide the patient with relief.