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Homepage > Projects > Education Month - March 2011

Country - West Africa

Project objective - Developing education system in deprived areas of Koundara, extreme north-west Guinea, West Africa.

In 2005, The Catholic Mission in Koundara run by the Holy Ghost Fathers applied for funding to support and carry forward the basic education activity in the outlying village communities in Koundara parish. The aim is to get as many children as possible (particularly girls) enrolled into several single-classroom elementary bush schools, creating a network of catchment areas for two standard primary schools run by the mission.

The funding would help train and support personnel, improve school infrastructure and support the awareness programme directed at parents. The understanding and support of the parents is vital as they must encourage children to continue attending school. The parent's role will include forming village school committees as it will be their responsibility to look after their school and take owner ship of it.

With the aid of World Mercy Fund, the work of improvement within Koundara has taken off. This year, two more bush schools have been added to the network, giving sixty more children the opportunity to start learning to write, read and count. Last year, the project organised training workshop in Koundara centre for the village school monitors. The monitors study over a four-week attachment programme in the standard primary school under the supervision of volunteers who are in charge of pedagogy in the mission schools.

The aim of the project is to enrol300 children into elementary classes especially the girls and the target the minority but indigenous Badiaranke, Bassari, and Coniagui ethnic groups as the mission schools are contributing enormously to ethnic integration and religious tolerance.

Country - South Africa

Project objective - Aids Educational Programme

Fr. Stan Brennan opened St. Francis Care Centre for the terminally ill in 1992. He opened it when, on visiting hospitals in the area, he became aware of the excluding of patients who were dying of Aids by their families and friends.

The problem of Aids in South Africa has reached epidemic proportions and has spread faster than in any other country in the world. Fr. Brennan saw a desperate need to build a training centre and had a vision where home-helpers can be trained to help people in their own home environment. This can be done by training people to go out into the community to educate families who have a member afflicted with Aids so that care may be given to sufferers in the home. The net of caregivers needs to widen as the existing hospitals and care centres are unable to cope with the ever increasing number of Aids sufferers.

Through the support received from World Mercy Fund the training centre is now complete and ready to begin his courses. The addition of extra chairs will enable at least 100 persons attend when a course is being run and allows them to sit in total comfort.

Country - Uganda

Project objective - Training programmes for Medical Eye Foundation

The Ireland Eye foundation in association with Lions Aid Norway continues its input into the government approved Eye Care Programme in Uganda through assistant aid from World Mercy Fund. 80% of all eye diseases in the developing world are preventable or treatable. The key to the successful eradication of blindness is adequate training of the indigenous population in all aspects of hygiene, preventative measures and the recognition and treatment of eye diseases.

Leading causes of blindness include Cataract - accounts for half the world's blindness and can be treated with a simple routine operation, Trachoma - a recurrent chromic eye infection which is preventable by good personal hygiene, Glaucoma - may be avoided by using the necessary eye drops, Onchocerciasis - also named as "river blindness" which affects certain river areas, Vitamin A Deficiency - most common cause of childhood blindness worldwide accounting for 350,000 new cases each year.

In order for the rural community to be informed regarding eye diseases and their treatment, training programmes have been put into place. The three programmes are as follows:

  • Health Workers - A course is conducted at the training centres in Mbale and Masaka. This is a two week basic training course with the emphasis on eye care. Participants are instructed in all aspects of hygiene, the use of simple medical equipment, bandaging, using eye drops and ointment, dressing wounds and relevant information regarding eye problems. In 2003 160 Health Workers with 8 - 10 students per session
  • Ophthalmic Assistant - An intensive three month course is held in two blocks of six weeks each. Participants already have a qualification - usually the are qualified nurses so their knowledge is good. The students are under constant supervision of an Ophthalmologist who trains them to recognise and teat many eye diseases and perform minor procedures. This training is considered to be the backbone of the Eye Care Programme as the Ophthalmic Assistant's are the first in line to see and treat patients.
  • Ophthalmic Clinical officer - This is a full years' course which is held in a specialist training hospital where the students are taught surgical skills. Due to the shortage of ophthalmologists, the government has permitted the training of surgical technicians to relieve the enormous numbers of patients suffering from cataracts and thus alleviate the major cause of blindness.

This self - governing concept is the cornerstone of the Eye Care Programme where sustainability is achieved through proper and adequate training of indigenous people thereby removing long term dependency on Aid Agencies and developed world support.

World Mercy Fund aid will contribute to these educational training programmes benefiting the wellbeing of the people of Uganda.

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Thanks to your much needed help World Mercy Fund have donated over €5,000,000 worldwide this year throughout the following sectors:

  • Medical
  • Social
  • Education
  • Flood Relief
  • Orphanages
  • Water
  • Transport
  • Agriculture

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