Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amani Children's Centre

I will explain briefly what Amani does. Amani is a home for street children that (I am copying this part from a brochure thing) is committed to reducing the number of children living on the streets in Tanzania by providing a nurturing place for homeless children to heal, grow, and learn. In addition to providing long-term care, Amani aims to reunite children with their relatives when possible and to equip their families with the thools they need to be self-sustainable. Amani is dedicated to creating a path for each child that leads to a future filled with hope.
All of the staff and volutneers at Amani work together to provide the children with the best care possible. Unfortuantely, recently some of the children have been running away and taking other children with them. When they run away they basically just go back to living on the streets but they come to Amani and will steal clothes and other things before leaving again. Everyone has been working with the kids to figure out why this is going on and how to stop it.
A lot of the children started living on the streets because their parents died or their relatives were abusive or there just was not enough food to eat at home. Amani sends social workers out to work with the children on the streets and to gain their trust. If the children agree to they are welcome at Amani where they can find a safe place to live where there is always enough food, healthcare and education and where they cannot use substances such as glue and were stealing is not allowed. Everything from the clothes that the children are given to the meals they are fed are carefully thought out. The cooks aim to make the meals nutriticious but also similar to what they may be eating once they are reunited with family members. They children are given clothing but are not provided with new clean shoes every month because when they are reunited with their families they will not have the luxury of wearing new outfits and shoes every few months.
A lot of the kids act up and some are very emotional but whenever I start to get frustrated I try to make myself remember that they have been through more than I can ever even imagine and that while they look like and act like little children most of them have not had a real childhood. Some of the children are fourteen or fifteen years old but are smaller in size than my seven-year-old cousins. I still do not know every child by name and I do not know most of their stories or history but I do know that these children are so strong and so determined and each child is truly amazing.
My role at Amani is as ‘health assistant’ so I am working with the nurse, Rovina, and with the other health assistant, Anna. My work is basically similar to that of a school nurse. I provide the children with first-aid, medications and a lot of TLC. Anna, Rovina and I are also in charge of sorting medications and other donations and are responsible for doing physicals on all of the new arrivals as well as taking them to the clinic or hospital when necessary. Educating the children about health and hygiene is also part of my job. I have been doing a lot of ‘pedicures’ recently because a lot of the boys have really dirty feet with deep cuts between their toes and on their heels. Today I scrubbed one boys feet with disinfectant soap for about fifteen minutes then tried to clean under his toenails and clip his toenails but they were as thin as paper and just bent when I tried to trim them. I tried to explain to him that he needs to wash his feet every day and keep them dry and that he has to has to has to wear shoes. I don’t think his feet have ever been so clean.
Anyway I am not sure how well I explain Amani Children’s Home but hopefully I described it well enough and if not the website is very informative.

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