Jiggers Eradication Program
The jigger is a sand flea which has become endemic in some regions of Kenya. The main cause is a lack of hygiene and shoes in a dirt-based environment. The jigger embeds itself in the skin, especially under toenails and fingernails, but can infect any area of the body. It causes lesions which are extremely itchy and can become inflamed and infected. These infections often lead to the following secondary infections: gangrene, sepsis, loss of toenails, auto-amputation of toes or fingers. Tetanus, which is fatal, is also a common secondary infection. Jiggers can lead to devastating effects, including difficulty walking, inability to work or carry out daily chores, and transmissible infections such as HIV/AIDS.
To complicate the situation there is a very strong social stigma as people are hesitant to seek treatment. We have seen parents send their children for treatment while they remained home out of shame.
CNFA piloted a jiggers eradication program in 2012. We were shocked by the devastation caused by this parasite. While we have treated a total of 5,725 people, including children, since the programs conception, it only represents a small proportion of those still in need of treatment today. Our trusted community worker in Kenya, Johnstone, who is partnered with us to help expand the program continues to run the program all year long. In addition, homes have been treated and education is provided for prevention of recurring infections.
Thirty six schools have been inspected, treated and teachers educated to foster preventative measures. Thanks to our wonderful community worker, this program continues to work toward the goal of eliminating jiggers in this area of Kenya.
Wheelchairs & Crutches
Since 2012, CNFA has delivered wheelchairs and crutches to people in need. In Canada, we work with the Association of Physically Disabled of Kenya to provide appropriate assistive devices to persons, for example, who may have suffered an injury, stroke, loss of mobility, or paralysis. As well, we also see those who have suffered neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy. We are working together to manufacture the devices in Kenya using Kenyan labour. The devices are heavy duty and designed to withstand the rough terrain on which they will be used.
Sexual Health Education
Sexual Health Education is an essential component of our mission work. With each clinic we run, groups of women gather with a sexual health nurse to discuss STI prevention and healthy relationships. Sexual health education is also provided in schools for middle school boys and girls. With each discussion, reusable sanitary pads, which are made in Canada, are distributed to the girls. Male and female condoms are offered to men and women in groups at each clinic.
Reusable Sanitary Pad Project
What is the most reliable and proven way to help girls stay in school in developing countries? Provide them with sanitary pads!
Each year in Kenya we provide reusable sanitary pad kits to approximately 600 school girls. The majority of the kits are sewn by women in Saskatchewan, and some made in Ontario. Marnie Bernard facilitates this programme in several communities throughout Saskatchewan. Within each colourful cloth carry bag is a main holder pad and six liner pads, as well as a sealable plastic bag for used pads. Girls are also given panties that have been sewn and generously donated.
To Susan in Weyburn, SK who made samples until the perfect, practical, comfortable pad pattern was developed – Thank you for your ongoing gift!
TEDDY BEAR PICNIC
Marnie Bernard is an incredible supporter of CNFA. Since 2011 Marnie has spearheaded the reusable pad program and the creation of teddy bears for the children of Kenya. The sewing and knitting is done by groups of women in the surrounding areas of her home, near Weyburn, SK. as well as in Esterhazy, Radville and Regina. These dedicated women make bears year-round but get together once a year at a Teddy Bear Picnic – Each woman brings their adorable creations along with all pad kits and meet with
each other to share stories and learn more about CNFA.
“Presenting a CNFA slide show during the Teddy Bear Picnic is so great. We love seeing the miraculous work CNFA does on the other side of the world. It is wonderful to see the children and girls holding the products we have made for them!’ Several of the seamstresses and knitters have mentioned that they think often of the Kenyans while they are sewing. As I do!” – a note from Marnie
It takes a lot to make this happen! Marnie and CNFA thank the following:
1. Vitran Express who generously transport all 400 lbs of these treasures to Ontario from Saskatchewan every year For FREE! Especially Kelly G., manager of Vitran, Regina.
2. The Weyburn Review who publicizes and reports our events each year.
3. Marnie’s special helpers Gail H and Bonnie T., who keep the sewing and knitting group sailing along with all their behind-the-scenes work- cutting, sewing, bundling pad sets, baking and serving at the Teddy Bear Picnic.
4. Giant Tiger, Weyburn, SK and Superstore, Regina, SK who kindly donate panties.