Published: August 17th 2010August 17th 2010
This update encompasses nearly two years of effort in Niger and at the village of Handaga, Tera region.
I have now made some six separate trips to the village initially to visit my sponsored child and then followed by humanitarian trips. Thes trips have taken place in October 2008, December 2008 / January 2009, May 2009, September/October 2009,February 2010, June 2010 and now August 2010.
Each trip made gradual progress instilling confidence in the village Chief, his elders and the villagers of some 750.
Inevitably we found evidence of malnutrition, hunger and abject poverty. However, what shines through is that these beautiful people deserve our help in providing a sustainable future together with educational assistance.
In the village school we are providing new desks ,equipment, books and facelifts to the classrooms.
This August trip is timed to coincide with the height of the 'famine' season. The situation in Niger is already well documented in the Media. But this is not often the true story behind the all too familiar images of starving emancipated people and the carcasses of their cattle and other livestock littering the desert.
It is hard to believe that Niger has benifited from a mass of UK based aid agencies - Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision and Care International to name a few, then add Unicef, UN and the massive budget of the Islamic charities e.g 'Dubai Cares' and 'Islamic Relief' to name just a couple. It does not stop there the above charities are also joined by other countries to contribute further sums into the abyss that represents hope for these people.
It is hard to comprehend the sheer waste and mismanagement that is going on unless you witness it first hand. The current crisis was forecast as early as last Autumn by leading UK based NGO's who then exploit the situation to encourage donations for the problem.
Our trip this time involves three dedicated souls who will make the difference by direct investment in the future of Handaga village. We are joined by local volunteers and our objectives as listed below are our committment to them:-
1 Introduce the 'Hydroponic system' of agriculture commonly used in many desert areas
2. Complete the Tropical Gardens introduced in June 2010 that incorporate water conservation. drip irrigation,fleece protection from the harsh sunlight and the training of the villagers to grow crops throughout the year instead of the limited 'rainy season' period that is there only food realisation means.
3. The distribution of anti malarial tablets together with a comprehensive range of medicines that are vital for the safety of the children, mothers and villagers alike.
4. Discussion and implementation of a training and teaching system involving both practical and DVD presentations for the Hydroponic and tropical garden methods of agriculture.
We hope to post blogs during our stay supported by photos as we find the situation on the ground.