Light in Africa provides dignity, love, education and care for sick, disabled and children abandoned due to cultural stigma, as well as those who are unsupported in the Kilimanjaro and Manyara Regions of Tanzania.
1. Building of Roof for Children’s Learning Centre
2. Completion of building of Children’s Learning Centre
3. Install Furniture in Children’s Learning Centre
Update - Grant(s) Provided by One Kind Act
1. 3 August 2015 - A grant of £8000 was made to build the roof of the new Learning Centre.
2. 22 February 2016 - A grant of £20000 was made to complete the building of the new Learning Centre.
3. 16 July 2016 - A grant of £750 was made to provide furniture for the new Learning Centre.
4. 13 December 2016 - A grant of £2500 was made to LIA to provide school fees for the children.
5. 30 July 2018 - A grant of £3000 was made to pay for the school fees of 3 older students of LIA into further taining in nursing/social work. This was done as a result of a fantastic fundraising effort by Amin Karimi through his Crazy Bike Ride (see details on the Events page) and OKA's supplementary pledge of monies to see the 3 girls of LIA into further education.
LIGHT IN AFRICA(LIA) : Albinos, Abuse & AIDS - The English grandmother saving Africa’s children
In the East Africa republic of Tanzania British, great-grandmother Lynn Gissing, known as Mama Lynn, oversees the Light In Africa NGO, running orphanages and food kitchens for children no one else wants to love. These are children who are HIV+, have suffered horrific abuse particularly Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the case of girls, are disabled or traumatized, or have been abandoned because they can no longer be cared for their parents. There are grim tales of sick children suffering terribly for the simple lack of painkillers, a five year old girl suffering from gonorrhea, the disabled being tied to trees in the wilderness and left to die, starving street kids living in a mining township under constant threat of being kidnapped into the mines, while others have a price on their heads for the color of their skins, namely the albinos....the list goes on.
Mama Lynn began her mission in 1999 just two years after the passing of Mother Teresa, India’s angel of mercy for the poor, needy and unwell. Perhaps in some heavenly capacity she may have passed the torch of human charity to another believer, this time from the north of England with three children of her own. To that end Mama Lynn’s passion and compassion has saved countless lives, with an estimated 350,000 lives impacted for the better through her relentless efforts. Through her tireless efforts, she has had schools and accommodation built, food camps established and water tanks installed in remote areas where no such facilities have ever been available. On an individual basis, she has a comprehensive plan for the long term futures of these children. Each child gives a year back to the home as a staff member before leaving. In the process they learn cooking, administration, cleaning, organisational skills which hold them in good stead as they step back into the world as young adults.
Even in her old age, weary and weather-beaten, Mama Lynn refuses to end her mission and retire peacefully, pushing herself to keep going for the deprived children all around her. Through sheer ignorance and inherent stigma towards Aids sufferers, albinos, the mentally or physically disabled and the like, some locals do not understand the good that she’s doing. So sadly, there have been attempts on Mama Lynn’s life at least three times from poison in a fanta bottle to being threatened to be cut up into pieces and scatter her dismembered remains in a pit. She puts unwavering faith in God and soldiers on fearlessly. Yet even with all her good work, sometimes even Mama Lynn has to face the harsh realities of life. Towards the end of 2014 she made the bitter decision to close her boys’ orphanage in the tanzanite mining town of Mererani, a heinous hotbed of criminality, due to conditions there turning it into more of a hovel than a home. Now she needs to find a new roof to house these hungry young mouths. Moreover, she relies heavily on volunteers to help at the orphanage. But with the recent fear of Ebola outbreak across Africa, she has seen a drastic fall in the number of these volunteers. Thankfully, Mama Lynn has faith and lots of it. In this God forsaken place she needs it too, an awful lot of it. But she desperately needs more help.
What Is One Kind Act Doing
One Kind Act has committed to help Light in Africa both in the short and long term. As a first initiative, with the generosity of our supporters, we have sent suitcases full of shoes, shirts and books that have been delivered directly to the orphanage by a supporter in Tanzania. This is of vital necessity for children who travel enormous and difficult journeys to come to the orphanage for food, education and support.
As a long-term project, One Kind Act has raised monies to finish build an urgently needed school for disabled children, those others schools cannot or will not accommodate.
For more details go to:
Update - Progress and Reviews
Uday Bhardwaj, Volunteer/Supporter at LIA
Today I visited Light In Africa, a charity that supports the young, the disabled and the elderly in Tanzania. I was carrying all the donations from OKA to give to Mama Lynn who founded the charity. When I arrived I met two British medical students who were volunteering there for their summer holidays. Last year LIA had almost no volunteers because of negative press about Ebola in Africa even though there hasn't been a single case in this region. As they rely on volunteers it is good to see a few back here. One of the good things about LIA is that other than Mama Lynn, the senior staff are all local Tanzanians (including her daughter in law) and they are as actively involved as she is.
Mama Lynn came to meet me and when I presented her with the donations she was overwhelmed. She said she thanked god that good people would send her these gifts for the children in her care. The staff and the volunteers immediately put on some of the OKA shirts that had been sent and posed for a photo with Mama Lynn. I was told the shoes were very welcome because the children grew so fast and it was very hard to supply them all with decent footwear. The shirts would be ideal for the school uniforms of the older kids.
In the photo above there is one man amongst all the women and his name is Rushima. He is one of the original children that LIA supported through primary and secondary school and then college. He returned to give back to LIA what they gave to him and is working there. he has made a short video about his experiences which I shall pass on to OKA.
We had lunch together and she told me that she had well over 200 children at Tudor Village, the main part of LIA's property. There is a smaller girls home in the mining town of Mirerani and also a food kitchen there to feed hundreds of poor children. I did not visit Mirerani but took a tour of the Tudor House area.
First Mama Lynn took me to see the classroom and dormitory they were building as a facility for diasabled children that were not able to attend regular school. OKA have offered to help with the roof and I have a copy of the quote from a local builder which is Tshs22,302,000.
After this we toured the lavender fields and planned butterfly farm. These facilities are intended to provide employment for the disabled children once they finish schooling as they have no career prospects and LIA are trying to find some means of giving them a future.
As most of the kids were at school I was only able to meet those who were either too young or too handicapped to be sent to school. At Happy House I met the youngest kids here that range from 11 months to 6 years (they start school at 7 here). The kids were indeed happy and smiling and all sang me a welcome song. They were so keen to be noticed and wanted a hug or to hold my hand which was very touching to see. Able bodied and handicapped kids are mixed here as long as the handicapped kids do not require special needs assistance.
In one of the Gallery photos of young girls standing at a doorway, a young albino girl can be seen hiding on the right hand side behind the doorway. She is a sweet but nervous and shy young girl with a sad story. Witch doctors in Tanzania decided that albino body parts would make powerful spells that would make them rich "like white people" and the younger the albino the more powerful the spells. So Tanzania has seen a huge increase in the abduction and murder of albinos, especially children. This young girl's mother tried to hide her but a local gang broke into the house one night. The little girl luckily had been trained from a young age to crawl into a secret hiding space dug under the bed and she managed to get into it. She could hear her mother being tortured to reveal her whereabouts but managed to remain hidden until the men left. Her mother smuggled her out the next day and brought her to LIA where she is given round the clock protection. It may not be safe to send her to school. At the time of the attack she was only 2 years old but has been traumatised by her experience and still hides behind the other children.
After this we went to visit the house for the more special needs kids. These are kids with cerebral palsy, terminal illnesses severe handicaps etc that are made as comfortable as possible.
The three children on the left all have severe cerebral palsy but now are well looked after. The little girl on the right, whose mother had died giving birth to her, had been beaten and starved by her family from birth. Her bones are so brittle that they break if you try to pick her up. Her leg was broken in two places, arm fractured and she was severely malnourished. Tied to a tree and left to die she was lucky to be found by LIA staff and now is receiving the medical care and the attention she needs. She lay there in silence and when Mama Lynn hugged her the little girl had tears in her eyes, not because she was in pain but because she had never experienced human contact that was not violent before.
Finally Mama Lynn and I discussed future plans for LIA. Other than the butterfly farm, lavender fields and facilities for the handicapped kids, LIA is also planning on promoting tourist visits by creating residential facilities and organising tours of Masai villages. These tourists are also welcome to volunteer and help out.
Having met the kids and seen the good work that LIA does, I am very happy to be helping them in any way I can and hope OKA will support them in the future.
About One Kind Act
One Kind Act Change Communities and lives of others globally who suffer as a result of Poverty of Health, Nutrition and Education and may have Fallen Through The Net of the larger charities. Learn More here