News and announcements

Jute and Hilary in Zambia - 3

Decision Time

The Beneficiaries Committee spent the morning interviewing people who had travelled from far and wide to ask for help.  Their needs ranged from parents asking for money for transport to take their sick or disabled child to hospital, to the just plain hungry.  Hungry because a disability or illness prevents them from working so they have no money.  And that means the family will be hungry too.  Help was at hand.

However, not all stories are easy to listen to and not all decisions are easy to make.   

For instance…

Royd Mwanachiwena, a ‘double orphan’, lives with his grandmother in a remote area. Because of the distance between home and school, Royd had been a boarder, but funds have now run out. Royd was seeking money to allow him to complete his education: a £100 to board or £60 to attend school as a day pupil. 

HHI was unable to offer to pay for Royd’s eduaction but £24 was given to him so that he could repair his bike. Royd is more than willing to cycle to school through the bush in order to finish his schooling… if he can find the fees.

And…

Patreeda asked for support in order that she could care for her disabled 16 yr old nephew. He is already known to HHZ and has been supported in the past. Patreeda was given money to purchase seed and fertiliser from the local council, join a cooperative, buy food and also money for transport home.  Why transport?  Well, because Patreeda lives a long way from Monze, she set off the day before the committee meeting and along with her infant son, slept overnight in the bush.

How desperate is that?

Jute and Hilary in Zambia - 2

Muumba, Monze, Zambia, HHI UK, HHZ, Health Help International, charity

Marvellous Muumba

Developments at Muumba School continue to be promising.  We were delighted to meet Mr and Mrs Bbilika and pre-school teacher Mrs Phiri. They were eager to show us the new building funded by HHI, as well as the shelter (made from surplus materials) which is used for giving additional lessons to those children who need to catch up.  The school is freshly painted, the external wall and fence complete and one toilet has been converted to allow disabled access. The bore hole provides fresh water and the new pathways enable disabled pupils and staff to move around more easily.  Planting has begun in the garden too.

They were grateful to receive grey school jumpers, tennis balls and skipping ropes and, thanks to the toddler group at Hope and Market Square Church in Merthyr, we were able to give them £100 for outdoor play equipment.  Also, they are looking forward to the delivery of sets of reading books from Strathaven Primary School.

In two years the school has grown from 50 pupils, to an expected 338 this coming September.  Looking to the future, Mr Bbilika would like to extend the school to Grade 9 by adding 3 new classrooms.  Anything seems to be possible at Muumba!

See more photos in the gallery

Jute and Hilary in Zambia - 1

Mwlibwti!     Greetings from Zambia. 

After a long journey we arrived safely.  We were greeted by glorious sunshine and were grateful to trustee Mr Maheritona for bringing us to Monze.  Twalumba Mr Maheritona! 

Rains Came, Rains Stayed: Good Harvest
This year the rains came and stayed. As a consequence there has been a good harvest and food is reasonably priced. 
It’s good to share good news and we thought you would appreciate this!

If Internet access allows, regular updates will be posted and we look forward to sending information.

Beulah has got legs!

Beulah prosthetic legs disabled children special needs school Tamil Nadu India

We have just heard from Pastor Santhosh that Beulah has now had artificial legs fitted and is starting to learn how to walk for the first time in her life.  Pastor Santhosh writes

On 4th June, Beula got the Artificial Limb. Agarwal Trust helped this time. So we have to spend only Rs 7,000/- [£90] only. Again we have to purchase the Crutches after little practice with support, Parallel Bar etc. She is little afraid and please do Pray to get adjusted with this Artificial Limb. I think it will be a slow process. We are very much thankful for your willingness to support her for a long term. Convey our thanks to all those who came forward to help Beula.

Beulah will need new legs every year as she grows and develops.  We are very grateful to the Friends of Strathaven and a North Wales supporter who asked friends and relatives to donate in lieu of presents for his 80th birthday who have made this possible.

Beulah's story

Beulah

Beulah is 8 years old and apart from a short break in 2014, has been at Asha Kiran Ashram since 2012.  Those of you who attend our Supporters’ Evenings will already be captivated by the delightful Beulah and moved by her irrepressible joy for life. 

During her mother's pregnancy Beulah’s father met with an accident which severed his legs.  As the family breadwinner was no longer earning money they decided that the pregnancy should not continue and that the expectant mother would take an abortifacient.  This was done, but it failed to terminate the pregnancy.  Instead, Beulah was born seriously disabled: in a cruel twist of fate, she has only short stumps of legs, and also one hand has just one finger and a thumb, whilst the other hand has no thumb, one good finger, and two other fingers fused together in a single member.  Despite this, she is a happy intelligent child who joins in with everything enthusiastically - even dancing with the other children.

The plan is to get Beulah prosthetic legs.  She has had one visit to Chennai to have the necessary measurements taken, and we are expecting to hear any day of her having returned to have the legs fitted.  The cost of this is estimated to be Rs. 35,000 (£450). 

However, this is just the beginning. The process will need to be repeated annually.  Obviously, as she grows she will need bigger legs.  When she is 18 she can be fitted with legs that will last her for the foreseeable future - but this will be much more expensive as the legs will have to be far more durable. The total budget is therefore about £6,000 over 10 years and HHI has committed to this. 

The £900 raised on a single Saturday at the Strathaven Bridge Drive has given this initiative a tremendous start.  Thank you to our fantastic SFHHI supporters and friends.   We’re looking forward to news of Beulah and we’ll keep you posted on her progress. 

The Proof is in the Picture

Indian children with the dolls

Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to find the right words to describe the feeling of total joy.   And then, as I look at the pictures of the Children in Tamil Nadu receiving the gift of an Indian dolly from Edmund, I realise that words are unnecessary.  These wonderful pictures taken recently in India say it all.  

These dollies are made by Liz Gittens, a retired teacher, who lives in the idyllic Worcestershire countryside and who feels privileged to be in good health and living in such beautiful surroundings. Liz is a keen supporter of HHI and a fine seamstress. She has sewn, by hand, dollies for sick and disabled children in India and Zambia.   Each dolly is an individual boy or girl with appropriate dress and hair. They are a delight and, as you can see, are really appreciated by the children. 

Thank you Liz. 

You can see more photos of the happy chhildren in the 'Gallery - Dollies'.

Letter from India

Charity medical aid India

Tom Sutherland writes

Dear Edmund

As always, there is good news and some news that is not so good.  Let us start with the good news, and it is very good news.  During the two months since I've been back Shibu hasn't drunk alcohol, or smoked - he was always a heavy smoker also, and he's looking so well and happy and neatly dressed and shaved - when we meet different ones they all comment on the difference and Shibu is so happy to hear them say so.  And he's eating well and putting on weight - in the past he was pretty skeletal.  I think you would have noticed the difference when you came.  I know many people are praying for him and surely God has answered our prayers.  In the past he has been off it for shorter times and has slipped back so let us keep up our prayers to Jesus. I've heard that it's one of the most difficult addictions to completely get over.

Final (?) letter from India

We are now coming to the end of our visit to India.  It’s been a great time, seeing all the people who you have helped and are helping though your incredible generosity.


One such is Biju, a 31-year-old man who we found bedridden with polio in a small house that he shares with his family.  His mother is a woman of incredible energy and determination, who wanted a wheelchair for him, so that he could go out to the nearby cross-roads and sell lottery tickets – a common way that disabled people have of scraping a living in this part of India.  However, there was a problem – the house was at the top of a narrow rough winding path that we struggled to walk up – totally unsuitable for a wheelchair.  So, rather than turn them down, we said that they would need to build a suitable track for the wheelchair, and went on our way confident that this was the last that we would hear of the matter.  Imagine our surprise when, a week later, we had a phone call – the path had been built.  We went with a wheelchair to demonstrate just how impossible this was – and there was a freshly made concrete path up the side of the hill! The family were delighted with the wheelchair, and Biju can now look forward to a more meaningful life, making a contribution to his family.

Asha Kiran Ashram

Asha Kiran Ashram,our special needs centre in Tamil Nadu, is always a highlight of our visit and this year has proved to be no exception.  The children were as excited as ever to see us, and enjoyed singing songs with us.  We had bought a lot of simple musical instruments in Trivandrum, which we distributed to them all - what a cacophony!  Not at all the usual rather formal meeting, and much better.  We were also able to give them a huge pile of colouring books, crayons, excercide books, pencils and so on, as well as a lot of educational toys that we had brought from the UK or bought in India.  And there has been a great deal of development in the children - children who could only crawl can now walk, week limbs have been strengthened, and children who could do nothing are now enabled to do simple tasks.  It is all hugely encouraging and rewarding, and parents are marvellously enthusiastic - one drove for an hour to tell us! 

Another encouragement is the way that local people are supporting Asha Kiran Ashram.  Last night we collected a television for the children, along with a substatntial gift, from a family who have already supported Asha Kiran generously in the past; today a widow gave the lunch-time food (and enough left over for dinner as well) for all the children, this being in memory of her husband who died ten years ago.  This local sujpport, along with the givernment grant that Santhosh is getting now, is becoming increasingly important as Asha Kiran expands, well beyond our ability to support it.

News from India 2

We have now got a short time to access the internet at Asha Kiran Ashram. We travelled over this morning, about 4 hours journey time. Before talking about the school, here is an update on some of the things Edmund and I have done so far. We met Shibu at the Medical College Hospital and he took us around to see his patients, acting as their bystander. He does great work on behalf of HHI. His patients are 'unknowns', often admitted due to road traffic accidents and with no means to pay for their treatment. We also saw Shiju who we had visited earlier in the week. He was admitted for a heart operation and thankfully, an answer to prayer, he received the necessary funding from a charitable trust so the operation can go ahead. We have also visited many homes to see how your support for HHI can bring hope to those who need help. Sindhu, a young mother whose both kidneys have failed is unable to pay for the necessary dialysis, we were able to pay for three sessions this month which will make all the difference. Another was Gidija, a widow with ovarian cancer. She had just completed six sessions of chemotherapy and needs an operation but her thyroid is overactive. She is unable to take the necessary medicines because she cannot afford a proper diet. Your support has enabled us to promise her enough money to provide her with a good diet for three months which will solve the problem.

Because there is a water shortage at the Banyan Tree where we normally stay during these trips we have moved into Philp's Special Therapy Centre, which we help to fund. In the mornings we see the children arrive with beaming smiles and are very excited to be there. Clearly a loving and caring environment for the children who have some disability and come from very poor homes.