13 June 2013
Thank you to Ross Negus at Southampton Freight Services, and Fran Mahon, friends and colleagues at Southampton Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
I would like to write to say a big thank you to Ross from Southampton Freight Services, for their generous donation to Potter’s Village this month.
Potter’s Village is a child crisis centre in the small town of Kisoro in South Western Uganda. The town sits at the edge of the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, home of some of the last remaining mountain gorillas. It is a very poor area, with the majority of families surviving hand to mouth, mainly by selling food grown on small patches of land. The mortality rate of children under the age of 5 is high, and it is because of this that Potter’s Village was formed.
We care for babies who cannot be cared for by their families, so they are hugely vulnerable. The babies mainly come to us when they are very young because their mother has died. Many women still give birth in the villages with little or no health care, and even when they make it to a hospital, they are often not enough doctors or trained midwifes to give good care, and sadly many died from preventable conditions.
Bottle feeding these babies is very hard for the families. Formula milk is as expensive as it is in the UK, with one tin often the equivalent of a few weeks’ wages. Safe water is not always available to make it up with, or the facilities to clean the bottles in between feeds. Because of this, many of these babies die from inappropriate feeding or infections.
At Potter’s Village, we are able to safely bottle feed the babies, and treat any medical conditions. The children remain resident with us until they are approaching 2 years old, when they are less vulnerable. We then aim to re-integrate them back into their families or with a foster carer if this is not possible. We continue to support the children until they are at least 5 years old, longer for the fostered children. We also support children in the community who have never been resident. Issues such as people trafficking and child sacrifice are not uncommon here, so we try to help prevent this from happening for at risk children. We also run a small medical centre for the whole community to use at an affordable cost. We have the best equipped nursery for premature babies in the district, offering previously unavailable care.
The donation of shipping out 4 boxes of donated clothes and supplies to Potter’s Village by Ross and the company will make a huge difference to all our children. The boxes contained over 70 pairs of trousers, 170 tops, over 30 pairs of shoes and 75 items for premature babies, along with many bibs, flannels and baby bottles. These clothes not only mean that the 35 resident children will be well clothed for many many months, but also over 60 children in the community. We are now able to send children back to their families with outfits and shoes that fit them, and an outfit for them to grow into. We will be able to give clothes to all the children we support in the community which will lessen the financial burden on the family, and have clothes in stock for any additional needs, such as a new pair of shoes so a child can start going to school.
So, thank you again to Ross and everyone at Southampton Freight Services, and to Fran Mahon for organising the clothes, and to everyone who donated items. Such simple items really do make a massive difference to the lives of the children of Potter’s Village, and the lives of many more children to come.
Emily starts to unpack the boxes with the help of some of our toddlers. They loved the pink shoes, even the boys!