2009 Achievements : The Year in Review
From July 2010 to July 2011 we have been able to implement many new projects and continue to improve on the existing services we provide to the Sumbanese community. The following is a short summary of our many achievements for the year.
Our water team has been extremely industrious this past year. Thanks to the many families who contributed to the funding of water projects we were able to provide 4,689 more people with clean spring water.
Patiele Dete is the area farthest away from the Sumba Foundation Headquarters. Taking approximately 1hr to reach the peninsula, our staff traveled a great distance with machines and equipment, water tanks and pipes in order to reticulate water from the 3 meter diameter hand dug well. After a few months of team work 10 more villages and a primary school were connected to clean water at their village edge.
The next undertaking was to provide four villages located high up in the foothills of Lamboya district with water. Sodan and the surrounding villages are definitely the steepest area our team has had to travel thus far. Where there once was no choice but to hike 40 minutes down the steep terrain to collect a bucket of water you will now find a hand dug well and water tanks set in place with receiving areas for bathing and washing clothes. All four hilltop villages now receive fresh well water.
In March our drilling rig and team was able to stop drilling after four months of consistent work. The 90 meter deep well at Lolowo was completed. This reticulation of water includes 7 villages and 2 schools.
Across the main road at the Welajung area another beautiful hand dug well was constructed. This strong water source has been able to provide 6 villages with clean water.
This year in Patiala Bawa a large hand dug well which we built at the end of 2009 was put to good use. It now provides 1 health clinic 2 primary schools, 2 Junior high schools and 9 villages with water!
It is because of generous donors from America, Europe and Australia that our team, with the help of hundreds of villagers, could drill and dig the wells and lay the kilometers of pipe it takes to send water out to the 43 villages … we have been able to accomplish so much in one years’ time.
The farming program has continued to flourish. We have been working in three separate farm areas where a cooperative of people are successfully bringing their excess produce to Nihiwatu for purchase on a regular basis. Twice a week piles of greens, pumpkins, tomatoes, green beans, watermelons, bananas and papayas are purchased from the locals who grow them.
The malnutrition and school lunch and program also purchases mung beans and other vegetables which are locally grown in these sustainable farms to feed 1.100 undernourished children.
We now have three projects, Malnutrition, Farming, and School Lunches that are closely linked and aimed at achieving the same goals, to create a healthier society that is more productive and better able to help themselves, and their community, rise above poverty. It is the alleviation of the devastating effects of poverty that The Sumba Foundation is dedicated to addressing and these projects are core components to the success of our long term mission.
This program was started in early 2008 and is an extremely important, but very successful program.
Rainy and her assistant Sipri are continuing to work closely with the Government midwifes to monitor the areas of high malnourishment. The location of their work changes every 6 months (the estimated time to find the child’s weight holding to the standard for its age).
In January 2011 there were 124 children (aged from birth to 5yrs) released in healthy conditions from the program. Now, in August the next group of 63 children is completing the program after 6 months of monitoring.
All of these children have been fed, weighed and given a supply of eggs, milk and vitamins every week. The mothers have learned what types of foods it takes to keep their children healthy as they watch their sickly child become full of life and energy. In September the program will be moving to a new area where our team has found the most critical of cases. This area is over 40 minutes drive away from the Sumba Foundation headquarters.
A new addition to the program this year, a vehicle! The past couple of years the daily transportation of huge amounts of supplies ( 700eggs, cases of milk, bushels of vegetables ) by motor scooter out to these remote villages has been an issue. The car will be a big relief to our staff and it will double as an emergency vehicle whenever one of the children should need transportation to medical services.
We continue to find that malnutrition is very common and can clearly see it in many of the schools. We are doing what we can to help the situation. With the school lunch program we have been able to feed over 1,000 students every week that would otherwise not be getting good nutritious meals at home.
At three schools, a French family and their high school aged daughter have funded our school lunch program. Thanks to them there are now over a thousand undernourished children eating healthy food twice a week. They are also learning about nutrition and what the healthy foods are that they need to eat. Some of the food is donated from nearby farmers who are participating in our organic farming projects. We also buy produce from these farmers providing income and sustainability to the farms.
This year we are funding nine scholarship students through nursing or hotel training school. They will have the opportunity for employment with the Sumba foundation or Nihiwatu once they graduate.
We were able to bring water to seven of our most recently adopted schools. Now we will begin to implement the Hygiene education program here as we have done with others.
The ongoing distribution of school supplies twice a year in 15 schools has offered more than 4,000 students inspiration to learn. The delivery of donated sports equipment was met with huge smiles and offered another kind of inspiration.
Equally encouraging is to see the local government finally following our lead. Last year, using our book lists and room layouts, they built 14 new libraries at primary schools throughout the Wanukaka, Rua and Lamboya area. The teachers at those schools are now receiving the same teaching tools as at the schools we sponsor. Things are getting better!
Now that the schools we support are functioning, as they should be we are focusing on seeding basic health, hygiene and dietary information to the students. The large majority of these children will return to their villages between third and sixth grade and within only a few years they will marry and have children of their own. The more knowledge they have the better prepared they will be to help their families stay healthy, to be more productive and to live a better life.
Achievements - 2009
From July 2008 to July 2009 we have been able to implement many new projects and continue to improve on the existing service we provide to the Sumbanese community. The following is a short summary of our many achievements.
We completed a series of four large water projects and numerous smaller hand dug wells throughout the region. Together these projects are bringing water to another 5,968 people living in 56 villages. For the first time in their lives theses people now have easy access to clean safe water. In total we now have been able to bring water to 23,210 people living in an area of 95 square kilomiters of coastal Sumba.
Last year’s pilot organic farming project succeeded in providing more food and substantial income for the 8 families that participated. This year 32 families have joined this program which has already more than tripled the size of land being farmed.
We also expanded out to new areas where our tractor and water pumps are helping create productive farms from once fallow land. We insure that the farmers families eat what they grow and only sell the excess. Each area has created its own farmers co-operative that works and manages the farms and also sell their produce to Nihiwatu resort and at several local markets.
At two schools we now have small farm projects that are teaching organic farming methods to hundreds of children. We provide the knowledge, the equipment and the seeds. The children are making compost and growing healthy vegetables. In so doing we are introducing new and healthier foods and creating the start of a better diet for this generation.
In its first year of operation close to 100 tons of copra was purchased from hundreds of local villagers to make Biodiesel at our factory, the fuel is sold on to Nihiwatu Resort. This project is creating a small and continually growing economy in the region by injecting much needed cash into a generally cashless community. We have been following what the families are doing and we are very encouraged with what we see. Several families have already been able to open small shops, others are using the money wisely to pay for advanced education for their children.
The by-product of the bio-diesel process is glycerine which we make into liquid soap at our factory. Each week 2,000 liters of soap is manufactured sent out to special dispensing stations we have built close to the water faucets at 12 villages. The soap a big hit, so much so that we can barely make enough to meet the demand.
Hundreds of children have gone through our malnutrition program this year. Some of those children were close to death and the others would certainly have been harmed for life without our intervention, some of the recoveries were nothing short of spectacular. For at least three months each child is fed a special high protein diet we have developed. They are monitored closely throughout the time they are in the program and for up to two months after they have gained normal WHO recommended weight and released from the program.
While their children are in the program the mothers are taught about nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet for their families and how to cook healthy meals. Many of them are now growing vegetables at their homes to feed their children with after they have left the program.
This year we focused on the consolidation of existing programs and areas. The Sumba Foundation Malaria Control Program performed numerous field surveys, mass blood screenings, malaria treatments and bed net distributions as well as reading malaria slides at our central Laboratory. Thousands of people received treated mosquito nets and thousands more were treated for malaria by our team.
We also opened the first permanent microscopy school in Indonesia and most likely the only one in South East Asia. This initiative will teach and improve the diagnostic skills of hundreds of government microscapist; ultimately it will benefit the hundreds of thousands of Sumbanese who are typically miss-diagnosed at the hospitals and clinics on the island. This is the first important step we are taking to control malaria everywhere in Sumba.
The Sumba Foundation has expanded its reach significantly over the past 4 years and now runs 5 medical clinics covering a population of approximately 18,000 people. Our clinics provide basic health care for the population and the malaria control program is also executed through these clinics. The clinics are each staffed with 2-4 nurses plus a clinic assistant who does administrative work as well as dispense prescribed drugs. The clinics open at 8 in the morning and close at 12:00 or when all patients have been seen and treated. The afternoons are used for the malaria control program including field surveys, mass blood screenings, treatment and bed net distribution as well as reading of malaria slides at our central Laboratory.
This year our clinics treated diagnosed and treated more than 33,000 patients in our clinics. The ailments treated include everything from reparatory infections and malaria to common infectious diseases such as flu and diarrhoea to: cuts, burns, wounds, dental care and chronic conditions related to old age.
Our Health Program also provides an emergency on call service where villagers can come any time and request assistance for patients who are too sick to come to the clinic. This assistance is usually at night time for emergencies such as problematic birthing deliveries or small children with severe diarrhoea or pneumonia.
If patients at the clinics or in the villages are too sick for us to treat we refer them to the nearest hospital and provide the evacuation transportation. This year we helped 86 patients in the villages and transferred 43 critical patients to the local hospital. Seven of these cases were cerebral malaria cases who because of our help survived have fully recovered.
For years we have been dispensing hundreds of eye glasses at our clinics but we have not been able to help those in need of surgery. Cataracts are a big problem for many in Sumba. The women who are affected are no longer able to weave the blankets and baskets that are so important in this society, the children cannot read in school and the men can no longer farm. Twice during during this year we invited a team of Australian eye surgeons to Sumba to help us help as many people as possible.
The team of volunteer Ophthalmic eye surgeons, nurses and Optometrist were joined by our staff for a week in July 2008 and again for a week in July 2009. Together they saw 1,190 people and performed 166 life changing eye surgeries. They also dispensed 917 spectacles and about 150 sunglasses.
During this year we donated libraries to 9 of the primary schools we support. Now more than 1,800 children are being inspired by the 3,285 grade appropriate books we bought for them. Some of the donors to this project were able to help us set up the libraries at the schools, an altogether rewarding experience. We are pleased to report that this project was recently adopted by the local government who now are building libraries at dozens of primary schools throughout the region.
This July 2009 we initiated a school lunch program at two of the primary schools we are supporting. Three times a week we have been providing a healthy meal of vegetables to hundreds of children. In part this program is meant to teach children the importance of a good diet and nutrition, and more importantly to help boost the health of the many children in school who are undernourished due to a lack of good food in their villages. Some of the vegetables come from our nearby farming projects and women close to the schools volunteer to cook. We will be monitoring the success of this project which we hope to expand to more schools in 2010.