We have had amazing support from people across the world for our projects to care as if she was there.
Thank you to our Fiona fundraisers and helpers. Here is an update of 2019 activity and an idea of what 2020 will bring.
Zambia fun and fundraising 2019
My colleagues in Zambia raised £1000 by running the Livingstone half marathon. We all lived together for six months whilst working as volunteers in the health system in Zambia. Fortunately for me, they are very fit and friends and families from across the UK contributed. It was great to be part of their training and the 6am boot camp eventually became fun.
Brill School and Alfie the hero.
Thank you too to Brill School and Alfie Fiona’s godson who was keen to help with our quest to raise funds for kids in Kenya.
Alfie had already donated his toys and wanted others to know about Fi Day Care. Alfie organised a cake sale, a street collection and for Marion to talk to the whole school about life for kids living in the Mathare slums in Kenya. The talk focussed on life as a child without food or shelter.
Now with the help of you and Fi Day Care, the Mathare children are not left on their own all day and have care and two meals a day.
Fi Day at the Woolpack, Sept 2019
Thank you to all who joined us in the pub to celebrate Fiona’s life and loves. Thanks to the Innovations team with whom Fiona worked in 2016 who made jewellery, lights and bags filled with wool and needles. They wrote knitting instructions and put Fi flowers on everything. All of these Fi products sold out.
Thanks to Emma Jenkins and Ian Murrey for the great entertainment, even managing to sing through a power cut, to the Woolpack for the room and to all raffle contributors.
A quick word about cake, Tracy Burnett made an amazing Fi Cake and cupcakes which went down a storm. Just what was needed to keep the energy and dancing going.
Baby Bonding Squares.
Our project in Zambia was started by Dr Aoife Hurley and Rachael Talbot both of whom were volunteers in the neonatal unit University Teaching Hospital. Here in the unit, there are up to 100 babies shared about 30 incubators with only 10 nurses to look after all of them. The babies were sick, 25% do not survive.
The babies often got stressed because they were not able to be with their mothers other than for feeding. They also got upset because the babies they were sharing their incubator with were crying.
What are they?
Baby bonding squares are hand-sized knitted squares (30 stitches or 6 inches by six inches, any colour, any wool).
What was the project?
Our aim was to encourage people across the world to knit squares and give a baby a Fi Hug. We have had squares coming on from all over the UK and Ireland. These come from groups of knitters, groups of friends, people living in care homes and people who wish to share some kindness and keep connected to others doing the same. Share and care as if she was there.
How do they work?
The squares provide the baby with the scent of the mother and the mother with the scent of the baby. It works by having two squares; one is on the mum and one is on the baby and these are swapped each 12 hours. The scent of the baby helps a mum’s milk come through, the scent of the mum helps the baby feel safe and calm.
What has happened?
We set a target of 1000 baby bonding squares in a year. We received 333 in the first three months and worked with the staff in the unit to teach mums how to use the squares. We have since received 450 more and have sent these with colleagues to Zambia to continue the work. More are on the way.
We need a bigger plan.
1 million Fi Hugs Bonding Squares!
Kenya update - the children and our partners Tushinde
Our work in Kenya has continued the provision of daycare for children so that their mums may go to work. Jo King a Health Visitor from Buckingham and friend of ours always wanted to help kids and families in other places abroad. We joined forces in December 2019 to answer the request for training from our partner charity Tushinde.
Fi Day Care supports children to stay with their families, we now also need to make sure that those homes are safe. We provided training on managing domestic violence and addiction. We introduced the social worker teams to some tools to help identify those at risk and then help families to cope.
We helped the Tushinde team develop a plan for referral and for data collection as well as providing some communication tips for the team. It was also great to see the poster from previous work on analysing the children’s health in a prominent place in the office.
Of course, we also visited the children to play as if Fiona was there.
As we were in Kenya we were also able to join with the Nursing Now 2020 campaign. We were asked to speak at an event with government leads, managers and senior nurses about the benefits of community care, nurse-led services and universal health coverage.
Abandoned babies and kids with nowhere else to go.
Fiona always looked after those with no one else to care.
Whilst in Kenya we also took donations of hand made clothes to the Nest in Nairobi. The Nest is a home for abandoned babies or for those whose mothers are in prison and they welcomed the jumpers from the Buckingham schools. The babies were well cared for and they enjoyed the help at feeding time as well as all of the lovely clothes.
We could not do this without the help of the Fi Volunteers. All of the work that goes into this foundation is from volunteers and all of the money raised goes directly to causes we support.
Thanks go out to Heidi Fuller of Shareworkers.co.uk for all of the social media and website work. Friends since the 1970s, she has a heart of gold and media and marketing skills too.
Also to Chris and Christine Diaz who put up with us in their home in Nairobi.
Thank you to St Joseph Catholic Church Derby for their collection and donation.
Thank you to McAuley Catholic High School Doncaster sixth formers for your contribution too.
We were fortunate this year to secure a grant from Emirates Airways to provide our flights to Kenya. This means that there is no cost to the charity at all for the trips. Every penny you give goes to the kids.
Plans for 2020
Our work in the slums of Nairobi is hard. We have supported Fi day Care for two years. The evaluation of the programme shows that it started well but has not continued to provide the quality of care we started with. This snot unusual in new programmes where we start in the most difficult places with the least support. We have therefore changed approach for 2020.
We are still going to support Tushinde to expand a daycare facility and work with one that is working really well and expand this to have a Fiona room. This site for daycare provision is still in the slums and is the location of the original academic work undertaken to analyse the children’s’ health. We know it works and works well. We know the quality of the staff and the facilities are high. All Fi funding will be spent on the children and food directly.
We need to raise £3000 to make this happen.
All Fi day Care help gratefully received.
All Fi Hug squares gratefully received.
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