.. take a moment – not for guilt – but just to consider whether you can make a difference to someone.

I’ve often thought how unfair it is to support one family and not the other but we have a special link with Christine and her family, the cook at the Tumaini Academy, set up by Canadian Amanda Flanagan. Christine is sole carer to her own 3 children and 4 orphaned grandchildren. She lost her daughter-in-law, Sylvia’s mother, 5 years ago (to AIDS) just after Sylvia was born. Amanda had discovered Sylvia back in 2008 and had set up a sponsorship for a food program but it was all just too much for Christine. Mona took over, a volunteer staying in the area last year, after re-visiting Sylvia in very poor health. This was early 2010, before a nutrition programme was restarted by the Tumaini Community Development Centre, developed by Mona Bankhaug Sundli.

A report from March, 2011, showed immense improvement in Sylvia, now at the ripe old age of 5 years and weighing almost 11kg thanks to a sponsorship program managed by the volunteers.

Christine tends their maize field and cooks at the school as well as sharing out chores to keep the family 2-room mud-hut in order. They have been able to purchase a cow, for future sustained milk but, for a household of 8, there is only one bed. The children sleep on the floor. The blanket and sheets provided at the beginning of the program are now worn out and Sylvia, herself, has only three dresses but no underwear.

For only 500 Kenyan shillings (£3.60) food can be purchased fresh at the market and delivered to Christine once per week, with money over for two cups of milk per day for Sylvia. This is how little a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, porridge of soya beans, ground nuts and millet will cost. With this nutrition, Sylvia can concentrate on learning to walk. Currently she knows her name and responds when it is spoken. While she is very afraid of adults, she will communicate with her family and can move herself around via crawling, walking along a wall, holding a person, table or using her homemade walking frame, shown in the picture.

It is also recommended that Sylvia be attending Tumaini Academy on a regular basis, in the baby class. For this we need to buy her a chair, along with her 6yr old sister, who can chaperone her across the grounds to the school. We would also like to purchase the following household items to just make life a little easier for the household:

Mattress x 2, sheets x 2, blankets x4, underwear & school uniform.

We’d also like to ensure the food program can continue for another 6 months, with extra fruit & vegetables for the other children.

If you’d like to help, we are happy to match any donation via our new Textgiving service. Simply text SYLV14 £10 [or any amount] to 70070.

The service is provided entirely free via Justgiving so 100% of your money goes into the food program & AVIF definitely don’t take a cut !