During our trip this summer, the trustees visited one of the poorest homes we have seen when on a visit to the Luanda Street Kids Project, a project KOFUP has funded since 2003. Odinga 12yrs, Odongo 6yrs and 3-year old Rebecca live with their parents in a tiny mud-and-wattle structure. Because of the unsealed dirt floor they all suffer with jiggers, tiny parasites that burrow under the flesh and suck the blood. The father of the family is very old and cannot work. The mother has mental health problems. They exist on just a small amount of millet each day which they harvest from their shamba (vegetable plot).
Odinga came to the attention of the Luanda project in March this year when he arrived with sore, bleeding, jigger-infested feet, a very anxious, unsmiling child. An accident when he was younger left him with a weakness down the right side and poor communication skills. The sisters at the Luanda project painstakingly picked out the jiggers and encouraged him to come regularly to the project. They also gave him flip-flops to help keep further jiggers at bay. After several months of attending the project, Odinga is noticeably more relaxed and smiling. He gets a hot meal every day and lessons at the informal school.
His little brother Odongo has jiggers in his hands and feet and on the day we met him they looked swollen and sore. He came to the Luanda project once but refused to come again maybe because it hurt to walk there. Odongo is mute. He is a bright child who uses signs to communicate and he needs to be at school.
The project are looking at ways to help this family including getting proper needs assessments for the boys.
KOFUP is proud to support the excellent Luanda Project which continues to help children break their glue-sniffing habits, and has seen growing numbers of children re-united with their families, or placed with foster families, and integrated into the state school system.