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News from Africa
Three health centers have been opened in Ebonyi State of Nigeria: Ephenium Health Center, Omege Health Center, and Offia Oji Health Center. In Abakaliki Local Government Area in Ebonyi State, AMURT has started working on water and sanitation programs. In August we signed an MOU with the local government council to provide water through boreholes to ten new villages and to rehabilitate broken boreholes in four more villages. AMURT is carrying out the program in partnership with NIWA, a local NGO.
In addition to the boreholes and repairs, AMURT has organized WASHCOMs (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees) in each of the communities and provided comprehensive training for them. The training includes water management, repair and maintenance of the boreholes, human rights, conflict resolution, leadership and HIV/AIDS awareness.
The villagers also learned livelihood skills like soap making, pomade making and bead jewelry production. They were also taught how to make Tippy Tap, a unique way to facilitate hand washing, pioneered in India. Seven of the ten boreholes have been installed. The remaining three were delayed due to inaccessible roads. With the beginning of the dry season these villages are now accessible and will be completed in the next weeks.
A recent 10-day yoga detox retreat was held near Durban, South Africa.
The Ananda Marga Academy, a school for poor children in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, continues to educate the disadvantaged children of Nairobi.
AMURT (Ananda Marga Univesal Relief Team) has being carrying out a drought disaster relief operation in Kenya known as Samburo Community Assistance Project (SCAP). This video documents some aspects of the operation:
Our first distribution was in Swari, a community in the Nariminimo location in Samburu East District. The village relief committee had selected the neediest from various vulnerable groups such as, but not limited to, pregnant and lactating mothers, orphans, the very sick, the disabled, the elderly and economically impoverished. In all, the beneficiaries were 90 households selected from a total of 694 people living in the village.
Our community mobilizers and local volunteers together with our core program staff handled the distribution fairly, courteous and efficiently. In fact, we received many positive comments about our entire process as compared with other NGOs and the government.
We distributed 950 kg of beans, 875 kg of Unimix, 90 liters of oil and 45 kg of salt for an average of about 21 kgs for each of the beneficiary households. As supplementary food this can have a substantial positive impact on these families over the course of a month.
At the same time a free medical camp was conducted with the local government nurse and one of our clinical officers. They saw in total 76 patients. Common ailments were eye infections, arthritis, skin rashes and respiratory illnesses but they also saw three cases of malnutrition and one case of suspected cancer. In fact, even with the government clinic in the village the medical need was great. We can only imagine what we will encounter once going deeper in to the hinterland.
Amongst the patients was a mother with her four-week old baby. When asked what the name of the baby was the mother replied that they had not given it a name yet. The mother then asked the name of one of our program officers that was assisting in the mobile clinic. Her name is Susan. The mother then declared the baby’s name Susan! This incident illustrates the excitement and gratitude the community felt for the food and medicine they received which was more than they had ever received during the drought at any one time.
We found the village relief committee to be responsible and helpful, the community patient and disciplined. It was a joy to serve them and we look forward to being part of making a difference in their lives in the months to come.
We have another six villages lined up for distribution next week. With the second batch of community mobilizers starting their work this week, even more will be added to the distribution schedule in the following weeks. In total our target is to distribute 25 tons of supplementary food in 20 villages over the next month. We will also conduct medical camps in those villages and plan to screen over 1,000 patients. Additionally, we plan to disinfect and treat more than 30 water tanks and water points throughout the district.
Our principle partners in this intervention are the village relief committees, the Government of Kenya, The Samburu East Women’s Empowerment Forum and Kindernothilfe (Germany).
Two Medical camps were recently conducted at Mountain View Estate and Kangemi High School, both in Nairobi, with the help of the Divinity Foundation and Dada Diiptimayananda. More than 480 patients and students were treated.
Meanwhile, Dada Jayamaungalananda conducts a food distribution and medical camp for 1800 people every Saturday in Mombasa, Kenya, which is highly appreciated by the local people and the local government.
Abha Light Foundation in Nairobi has made a big difference to many lives in Kenya through homeopathic clinics and a school:
ALF started in 1998 and so much has been accomplished these last 10 years. We continue growing. We have done a lot of work this year to establish our HQ as a place of learning and healing.
Alternative health care is needed more now than ever. We are implementing solutions to affordable, sustainable health care on an ongoing basis: village clinics, medicines, training of economically-constrained Kenyans, textbooks and resources for the students and college library, maintaining our free charity HIV clinics for HIV orphans and People Living Positively, and malaria prevention for families in high-risk areas.
Abha Light College of Natural Medicine is part of the Abha Light Foundation and represents an extended family of teachers, students, graduate practitioners, satellite clinics, supporters and friends. ALF is one of the oldest permanent projects of “pioneering” homeopathy in Africa. ALCNM grew from community classes in the slums in 2000. On the face of it, we are a very small, struggling school and, along with the rest of the ALF, ever on the brink of financial disaster. Often, we feel it’s only through Cosmic Grace that we manage to pull through each month. But we ever remain vibrant and inspired by the work of bringing homeopathy to the people and by the daily miracles of homeopathy we witness in our work.
We offer diplomas in homeopathy, reflexology, herbal medicine and naturopathy (Indian tradition). Thanks to our patron, Dr. Robin Murphy, we are affiliated and get advisory support from the Centre of Homeopathic Education (UK). They have approved our course and have authorized us to offer a CHE diploma. On the Naturopathy side, we offer a Diploma from the All-India Natural Life Association.
We now conduct a 2½ year course. Our average class size, each year, is about 10 students, with ages ranging from 18-60. Up until now, we’ve trained about 60 Kenyans and 1 Ugandan, primarily in homeopathy. Some students have specialized in other fields such as Naturopathy, Traditional Herbal Medicine or Reflexology. Most students are from the villages or urban slums and their course is subsidized by sponsorships, but there are a growing number of middle and upper economic class students taking interest in the course. After training, we encourage them to return to their communities. This is necessary in order to establish homeopathy as a medicine accessible to everyone, rather than remaining elite in the cities. We also have a few distance students learning homeopathy from other parts of Africa.
The school can’t be separated from ALF as a whole. The college’s former students are now experienced homeopaths and run their own clinics. In turn they host students who come for their practical internships. ALF raises funds, as needed, to support graduate students in opening their first clinics. ALF subsidizes these low-cost clinics with free medicines. Otherwise the clinics and practitioners are independent and autonomous, working together only on special projects as a loosely affiliated group.
The work of ALF itself goes beyond the College and we are involved in many activities. We are, time to time, approached to offer homeopathy and health-care services by special-interest donors who support certain groups or projects, for example, an HIV self-support group or an orphanage. In that case, any ALF-affiliated homeopath may be asked to take charge of it. Right now, we are involved with two orphanages and one HIV-support group in this way.
Over the years we have partnered with other local and international groups to provide healthcare services in their projects. One of our oldest partnerships is with a Catholic medical mission. Corboni Sisters provides services to HIV infected persons in one of Nairobi’s largest slums. The project opened a “natural” section in 2005 with our help and we provided a homeopath and advice on their natural protocols for HIV (see ALFs book Great Health, Naturally!). Now, three of the Corboni’s nurses are trained in homeopathy and are fully in control of that section of the Corboni project.
ALF has established a pharmacy in order to be able to directly supply homeopathy to homeopaths and the public. We have developed certain complex products that are reaching the public, and help provide a small income for the Foundation. Connecting our pharmacy with the clinics, we are interested in research of various kinds.
Didi Ananda Ruchira