The College reaches out to an African village

On Sunday, 13 May the College launched a special project to raise funds for the desperately poor Kayima Clinic in Sierra Leone. This outreach is part of the College’s international community service work for 2018.

The funds raised will be presented to the Kayima Clinic through College Fellow Professor Tony Binns of the Geography Department at the University of Otago. Prof Binns has a longstanding relationship with the Kayima community in Sierra Leone dating back to 1974 when he was conducting field research in the area as part of his PhD.

Recently Prof Binns facilitated the raising of $13,000 which was used to build a community nursery for preschool children in Kayima. The small clinic in the village is also desperately in need of medicines and medical supplies, hence the College supporting Prof Binns to raise funds for that purpose this year.

Kayima is a remote community of 2,000 people in the far north-east of Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries situated in West Africa (on the bulge of Africa, between Liberia and Guinea; the capital city is Freetown on the coast). Seventy percent of the country’s 6.5 million people live below the national poverty line of US$2 per day, and 26% are living in extreme poverty. Most families in Kayima are engaged in farming, growing rice (the staple food) and various fruit and vegetable crops to feed the household.

Sierra Leone is recovering from two major disasters, a 12-year civil war (1991-2002) and a deadly Ebola epidemic (2014-2016). Infant and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world and life expectancy is only 52 years.

Health care among remote communities in Sierra Leone is in a very poor state. In Kayima, the small clinic has only very basic resources, with two nurses and very few medicines and medical supplies. Despite this, the clinic is the only health facility for about 100,000 people in Kayima and surrounding villages, which in some cases are several hours walk from the clinic. Improving health care in such communities must be given top priority, but in such a poor country, remote communities are often badly neglected.

Over the next nine weeks, College Members and Staff have been asked to take up the challenge of saving $1 per week and donating the $9 saved to the Kayima Clinic. You may well ask “why 9 weeks?” Well, the College’s Mid-winter Christmas Dinner takes place on 15 July which is exactly 9 weeks away from 13 May! We thought that as giving is part of the Christmas tradition, it would be wonderful to gift the money raised at our Mid-winter Christmas Dinner on 15 July.

Donating is straightforward. The College has set up a special give-a-little page on the web (https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/kayima-clinic-outreach) so that anyone can make a donation easily and at any stage. We're aiming to raise approximately $5,000.

Posted: Sunday May 13, 2018