News and announcements

Welcome to the world, Kumamela

Baby Kumamela

Jonah Sialumano is a key worker at Health Help International in Monze, Zambia.  As Disability Affairs Manager he deals with both individuals and organisations and also coordinates projects which support disabled people living in and around Monze and the wider community.

At the age of three Jonah contracted polio and as a result he uses crutches so understands first-hand the difficulties facing disabled people in Zambia.   However, it is not just the challenge of mobility in an inhospitable terrain or the poor prospects of employment for a disabled person which are an issue.  The question of expectation and attitude also need to be considered. 

Last year, along with his wife Prisca, a special needs teacher, and his two sons, Jonah visited Masongozi where he had been raised by his grandmother.  The villagers were genuinely amazed to see Jonah.  They could not believe that the young disabled boy they remembered was married and had a family. The prospects they had envisaged for him were a world away from the reality of Jonah, the champion of disability and international speaker.

It seems that Jonah is also quite good at keeping secrets.  When he visited Wales in December 2015, a guest of Disability Wales Africa, he made no mention of the fact that his wife Prisca was pregnant.  So, it was a lovely surprise for us to learn that Kumamela, whose name means ‘taking care’, had arrived on 25th May.  We send our very best wishes to Jonah, Prisca and their sons Kayabu and Sishemo who, according to Jonah, ’are very happy and busy watching the baby in most of the time’.

See a further picture in the 'Gallery'.

Cholera Outbreak in Monze

A girl of Muumba School

With the outbreak of cholera sweeping through Zambia, we are, once again, reminded of the importance of hygiene. 

By early May, cholera cases in Monze District totalled 42 and, in an attempt to contain the disease, the government put restrictions on public gatherings.  The international Labour Day celebrations which were planned for May were postponed.  And schools, which had remained closed since the holidays, have only just reopened.

In our Committee Meetings we regularly celebrate how your generosity and kindness makes such a positive impact on the lives of the needy and vulnerable we seek to serve.  For example, the washing station, purchased through funds raised by Hope and Market Square Uniting Church Toddler Group in Merthyr Tydfil, is used to promote hand washing in Muumba School.  The idea is that the children will be encouraged to wash their hands after using the toilet and then introduce this practice to their families at home.

It is so easy for us to take for granted the resources we have at our disposal and the things we do instinctively which keep us clean and healthy. 

But in Zambia, and many other countries, it can mean the difference between life and death.

A Brand New Space

The new space

With the help of two willing employees at Mamhilad, we moved premises last week.  Our new space, located by the ‘Tower’, is, as you can tell from the photos, quite large.  Indeed, it is so large that we are able to drive our cars inside and this makes for much easier unloading.  We have also found it easy to organise and store the items donated by our supporters which have already been packed and are waiting for dispatch to Zambia on this autumn’s container.

So, armed with packing boxes and yards of sticky tape we are poised and ready to wrap the next batch of desperately needed items for Zambia.

Do you have anything we need?  Can you help us fill this space?

We look forward to hearing from you…soon!

Update from Asha Kiran Ashram

Special needs school, Tamil Nadu, Tirunelveli, India, disabled children

We have just received the sad news from Tamil Nadu that Santhosh's eldest son, Bobby John, died last night.

Bobby John had been an invalid ever since we first met him as a result of an operation for a brain tunour that left him seriously paralysed.  His family were dedicated to him, and he was unwittingly the inspiration for Asha Kiran Ashram: his disability led Santhosh to enquire about how many other children in his area were disabled, and this in turn led to the founding of Asha Kiran Ashram, our special needs school and home for disabled children.  This has gone from strength to strength since the present buildings were put up, financed by HHI, in 2009.  HHI continues to provide much of the running costs for the building, and Santhosh raises the rest locally and through his contacts around the world.

Please pray for the family as they mourn their loss.


wheelchair, charity, Zambia, disabled

Every year or so we send a 40 foot container to our partners in Zambia crammed full of all sorts of things that we have been given and which they desperately need.

What they need most is wheelchairs.  Good (European) quality wheelchairs are unobtainable in Zambia, so Jonah and our friends in Zambia are completely reliant on us to send them.  There is a huge demand for wheelchairs, as many people are disabled.  Without a wheelchair they have no choice but to stay at home, usually in abject poverty; but with a wheelchair they can get out and about, interact with people, and even hold down a job.

A few years ago we were given a good number of wheelchairs, and we were able to send out between 100 and 200 every year.  They were all given away to very grateful recipients in Zambia.  But recently the supply has dried up - last year we could only send out about 40, and this year we have even fewer.

So, do you know of any wheelchairs that we could have?  They need not be new, and even if they need a bit of work on them we have a man in Monze who will repair them or cannibalise them to keep other wheelchairs going.  Even if it is just one, then that will make a difference to one more person in Zambia, transforming their life.  If you do have any, please let us know and we will be around like a shot to collect it.

Many thanks!

Everyone's a Winner: the SFHHI Bridge Drive

Zambia, India, Bridge, Strathaven, Medical charity

This year the SFHHI Bridge drive was held on the 7th May at the Outreach Community Church in Strathaven. After a light lunch, the serious Bridge action got underway just before 2pm.  A total of 68 participants took to the tables, with 40 playing the serious game and 28 appearing to be there just for the food, a good natter and to play some cards if time permitted!
There were a number of generous donations made prior to and during the event, and with these and the ticket entries, raffle monies and lunch donations, a total of £1,163 was raised for HHI.
There were many generous raffle donations from the Strathaven Community, including prizes from Sainsbury’s and Taylors, the local baker, who provided a superb cake with the HHI logo that was presented to the “lucky” ticket holder.
The event concluded around 4:30pm after a short “HHI Update” presentation from Iain Park, the raffle, and a vote of thanks from Kath Russell, with everyone looking forward to the next Bridge drive.  A special thanks must be said to Ian Gow and his team of excellent caterers for preparing a bountiful repast, and to Helen Baird for ensuring the raffle was the usual success.
So, who were the winners?  Well, the real winners are those people who will benefit from this enjoyable afternoon – the most needy people in Zambia and South India.  As the work that we support becomes better known people are coming from far and wide for help, and the needs and opportunities are increasing – the latest being the drought in Africa that has badly affected the Monze area.
So thank you SFHHI for making it possible to meet more of these needs!

Muumba School Report: Steady progress is being made in all areas.

Muumba fence progress

As you can see from the photographs the building of the school wall, which was held up because of the hard dry soil, is now well underway.  In addition to this, work has now been completed on the secure room in which government exam papers may be stored.  This room was essential because without it, as in the case of the installation of the toilets, official government registration cannot be granted to the school.

Our ‘Knitting Brigade’ is still eagerly awaiting information about the colour of the school uniform and as soon as we hear about the school registration and are told the colour has been decided, we will be in touch!  

A Talented Teacher

Muumba School pupils Uniforms

If you have already looked through the March 2016 Tidings you will see that the Week 12 article (June 12 – 18) features the disabled teacher, Prisca Hatembo, who is currently salaried as a volunteer teacher in Muumba school.  Prisca was supported as a school pupil and through her teacher training by HHI and is now working in the school built by the Muumba community with HHI funding.  As you know, the school is well on its way to fulfilling the necessary criteria in order to gain government registration, and those of you who knit for HHI are awaiting the go ahead for the school colours to be decided.

We have just received more news complete with a photograph of two children dressed in grey pinafore dresses and we are told that these dresses were made by teacher Prisca. A talented teacher indeed.

Late Rains - Poor Harvest

Maize field in February

For some time there has been talk in Zambia about the prospect of hunger. This is because the rains were expected to be late this year – yet again.  So, when it finally started raining we were relieved. We believed that the harvest would not be as bad as we had feared and that staple foods would be affordable.  However, we have been sent photographs showing how poor the maize crops are as a result of the parched soil, and now our fears have been realised.  Food has become more expensive and is out of the reach of the needy and vulnerable people in Monze and the surrounding area.

Recently, our ‘Beneficiaries Committee’ in Zambia requested additional funds to enable them to help those in desperate situations. We are able to do this because of the continuing generosity of our steadfast supporters. On behalf of those we seek to serve we say a huge ‘Thank you’.