Light In Africa

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Introduction

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.

 


Impact

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.     


Details

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:

www.lightinafrica.org   



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.


Update - Progress and Reviews - 14 March 2016

Mama Lynn, Founder of LIA
Good evening gentlemen.  I pray everything is going well for One Kind Act and Alisha is progressing well.  
Thought you would like an update on how we are progressing with the Learning Center.
The children are now taking lessons in their make-shift store, and all appears well with their studies and new teacher.

Kind regards Mama Lynn

Update - Progress and Reviews - 01 April 2016

Mama Lynn, Founder of LIA
Hi Amit, some of the desks have arrived and the children are already in class using them...Thank you so much for making there lives so much easier.   

To try to raise some funds Amit to keep us going until after Xmas I am going on a 3,000 kilometer trip along the old caraven and slaving route here in Tanzania.  It is the route that Henry Morton Stanley took on his epic journey to find Dr. Livingstone. 

Just to make the journey that more interesting I shall be making the journey in a bajaji a three wheeled vehicle that has arrived from India into Tanzania.

This week we should have all the details up on our website, we are hoping to place all the names of all the people who are willing to support this fundraiser for our children on the site.  If you have any friends Amit who would be interesting in this project, I would be deeply grateful... 

I do pray Aisha and her family are keeping well.  

Warmest wishes, Mama Lynn


Update - Progress and Reviews -  29 November 2016

Mama Lynn, Founder of LIA
Dear committee members of One Kind Act, on behalf of the staff and children of Light in Africa I would like to express our most grateful assistance that you have given to us by donating funds to help our most 'vulnerable' of children'

I have learnt today that we shall receive a 'most welcome' gift of £2.500/= over the Xmas period,  This most gracious of gifts is especially welcomed at this time of year as after our festivities of ensuring our children receive some new clothes to wear on Christmas Day when our very large family all come together to celebrate Christmas plus a bag of sweets and a gift, we are then straight into January where here in Tanzania no child can return to education unless all the fee's are paid upto Easter,  With over 120 children in the education system who all need new school uniforms etc., this is always a 'drain' on our finances and sometimes it is actually February before we have all the children back in school.

Once again, we thank ONE KIND ACT for helping us to help the children no-body else wants to help, Bless you all, and we wish you all A VERY HAPPY XMAS AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR.   Mama Lynn - Founder of Light in Africa Children's Homes - Tanzania - East Africa.  29/11/16


Update - Progress and Reviews -  31 January 2017

Mama Lynn, Founder of LIA
Thank God the start of this New Year is proving to be far better than the end of last year.   Firstly as I write this email it's raining!!!!   That is fantastic news for us here at Tudor as the water in the river that we are able to use to water our lavender plants etc has been dry now for 7 weeks, and animals are dying by the roadside, giraffes and zebra's have migrated just down the road from us searching for food, so our prayers have been answered today with this downpour.   I might have to remove the lavender and start again but this time I will know that Lavender works!!!

I am planning a further trip which I hope will help us until June when guests arrive again.     

Through the eyes of a maasai worrior.

On the 14th March I shall attempt to travel anti-clockwise around all the surrounding countries of Tanzania.   Kenya, Uganda, Rawanda, Burindi, Congo, Zambia,  Malawi, Mozambique by all different means of transport, starting from Tudor Village on a motorbike!    Yes I do know I'm a crazy women!....  When I did the old caravan route in a tuktuk, and my driver was a man who had never been further than 80 miles from him home, it was such a delight to watch him take on this new experience of talking with different tribal people like the go-go tribe whom he had only heard of.  So through his eyes I saw his mind expand with trying different foods and experiencing different things like seeing the Indian Ocean for the very first time, and sitting by Lake Singida.  So I thought "what would happen if you took a maasai moran worrior and allow him to experience his tribal routes with different tribes?   So on the 14th March I am taking Richard whom I have known for fifteen years and who is building our maasai encampment for the tourism, with me and my trusted bodyguard Julias and we shall be going around the country.  Can you imagine how Richard will feel when he sees the small fixed wing airplane which is a short hop to Lake Victoria... or sleeping two nights on a ship as we travel all the way down Lake Tanganyika, or sitting on a train?   I shall hopefully have video clips of the journey which we shall post, the only difference on this trip is that I won't be taking Lassie the dog with me.

So there you have it my dear friend,  a complete update.

Bless you and your family and your team for caring about us.  Mungu Akurbiriki. Lynn   


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

Comments

Rucha Chudasama
Jul 30, 2015

Dear Mama Lynn you are an amazing inspiration to me. God bless you and your work among the needy children in Africa. There is so much of need in this world... little that we can do, may give hope and life to at least some hurting soul. You are a great investment into this dying world. we need more people like you :)

Chitra Prashar
Jun 17, 2015

All I can say is that reading the article & watching the video brought a tear to my eye & words fail to express my feelings. Mama Lynn is a true inspiration & a selfless dedicated worker - what an amazing lady. It humbles you & makes you truly thankful for all that we've been given in life. Let's reach out & give back a little - a step forward in the right direction. CP

Meena Dhawan
Jun 15, 2015

This story and video touched my heart. What an Amazing woman and what an incredible cause !! Thank you OKA for raising awareness to her cause and well done for pledging support. These acts of kindness not only transform lives but restore faith in humanity and if we all reach out to the Divine Love that resides in all of us, we can together make a difference in the world. Thank you OKA team for your commitment and hard work. MD

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