Children’s Time Lines Children’s Time Lines
L.O.O.K.   is   the   acronym   for   our   newest   endeavour.   It   stands   for   LOVE:   Orphan   Outreach   for   Kids.   We   have several   ongoing   projects   happening   at   the   same   time.   They   all   have   to   do   with   AIDS   orphans   in   other   countries.   I will   explain   each   of   the   projects   so   you   can   understand   the   sphere   of   influence   that   young   people   can   have   in   our world today. It is very exciting!! This   first   orphan   project   came   about   serendipitously   when   a   friend   told   me   she   and   her   daughter   were   going   on   a missionary   trip   to   Tanzania.   They   would   be   going   to   help   at   an   orphanage   in   Moshi   called   KIWAKKUKI.   She asked   if   I   would   like   her   to   take   some   plain   dolls   in   case   there   were   HIV+   women   who   wanted   to   make   some.   I heartily agreed. What   happened   in   the   meantime   was   nothing   short   of   a   miracle.   Because   of   time   constraints   another   woman, Trish,   who   lives   at   the   orphanage,   took   over   administering   the   doll   project.   She   purchased   tribal   cloth   for   the clothing   of   the   dolls,   to   make   sure   they   reflected   the   heritage   of   these   people.   Then   she   worked   with   one psychosocial group that was having some problems. Following is an excerpt from an email that Trish sent: The   orphanage   is   what   would   be   considered,   very   under-funded,   but   relatively   loving.   The   caretakers   are relatively   few   and   very   young,   and   most   are   orphans   themselves,   but   they   are   very   enthusiastic   to   learn. The   program   started   when   one   of   the   Norwegian   benefactors   at   KIWAKKUKI   relayed   information   to   the orphan   support   program   that   they   felt   that   the   issues   of   psychosocial   care   were   not   being   addressed   well enough   by   KIWAKKUKI   and   most   other   AIDS   organizations   in   the   Tanzanian   (and   indeed   in   Africa)   areas. The   children   were   dealing   with   the   trauma   of   the   death   of   their   parents,   and   yet   being   expected   to   be grateful   that   they   had   a   roof   over   their   heads   and   that   for   most,   their   school   fees   were   paid.   So   the benefactors   requested   that   KIWAKKUKI   do   a   study   of   orphans   in   different   areas   of   Moshi   to   identify issues   that   the   caregivers   had   and   issues   that   the   children   had.   They   found   interesting   results,   not   rocket science, but for both groups somewhat of a surprise and conundrum. They   found   that   the   caregivers   were   exhausted,   overworked   and   overwhelmed.   The   caregivers   reported that   the   children   were   disrespectful,   ran   away   from   school,   screamed   in   the   night,   and   generally   wore them   out   even   more.   The   caregivers   reported   that   they   scraped   to   just   feed   the   family,   and   that   they   just couldn't   take   any-more.   The   children   reported   that   they   were   tortured   at   school   about   their   parents   dying of   AIDS,   that   they   were   taunted   and   that   fights   were   picked,   so   it   was   much   easier   to   run   away.   Even   their teachers   picked   on   them,   they   stated.   They   said   that   they   were   frightened   particularly   at   night   because   the ghosts   of   their   dead   parents   appeared   before   them   when   they   were   in   bed   and   asked   them   -where   are you?,   why   did   you   leave   me?,   I   miss   you   etc.   It   was   very   frightening   and   caused   them   to   wet   their   beds,   to scream, and to be unable to sleep at night so that they were exhausted, terrified and dirty in the morning. The   program   formed   its   goals,   based   on   the   8   principles   of   international   child   development   (ICDP)   which included,   hugging,   talking,   touching,   teaching   respect   and   playing.   The   volunteer   leaders   were   trained   for 3   weeks   in   facilitating   these   trainings.   Then   the   groups   were   formed   in   different   areas   of   town.   Children   for the   most   part   were   separated   from   the   caregivers,   and   had   time   to   talk   about   the   issues   they   were   having, and   with   the   help   of   the   facilitators   were   forming   plans   on   how   they   could   give   better   care   to   one   another without   causing   further   exhaustion.   Just   simple   things   like   teaching   both   boys   and   girls   to   cook   some   of the   traditional   dishes   and   sing   traditional   songs   and   games   etc.,   that   wouldn't   take   time,   to   do   things   like when the children wound up screaming to take them into bed with them or let them sleep near them etc. They   brought   in   the   teachers   and   worked   with   teachers   on   AIDS   education,   treating   children   equally   and helping   the   children   with   problems   to   become   part   of   the   group,   also   tolerating   one   another   and   breaking up   fights.   They   were   told   that   they   should   report   when   children   were   coming   to   school   with   no   shoes, ragged clothes (more ragged than usual) or not coming to school at all. So   at   the   end   of   the   training   sessions,   the   children   and   caregivers   were   re-surveyed   and   both   groups reported   that   things   generally   were   better.   The   children   found   that   they   loved   learning   the   traditions   of their   tribes,   and   the   caregivers   found   that   the   children   liked   helping   them.   The   children   were   having   fewer nightmares   and   when   they   did,   the   caregivers   were   sharing   the   little   space   that   they   had   so   that   they could   sleep.   They   stopped   wetting   the   beds,   and   screaming.   Everyone   got   more   sleep,   and   though   there were   still   a   lot   of   glitches;   most   especially   related   to   poverty,   not   enough   food,   kids   around   to   sell   the   boys esp. marijuana and trying to get the girls in the sack, that things were generally better. Teachers   were   very   appreciative   of   training   regarding   HIV/AIDS.   There   are   many   myths   in   Africa   about   it and    the    teachers    are    generally    young    women    who    have    just    graduated    from    secondary    school themselves, hardly prepared to deal with psychologically disturbed orphans. Anyway,    these    pictures    are    just    one    of    the    psychosocial    groups.    They    have    been    meeting    about once/month   to   discuss   the   issues   that   most   concern   them.   Most   of   the   time   they   meet   separately,   but   they always   come   together   for   a   soda   and   cake   at   the   end.   It   was   very   moving.   The   children   loved   the   doll making.   Some   of   them   worked   so   hard   on   their   dolls,   and   we   didn't   have   enough   needles   and   thread,   and many   of   the   children   weren't   old   enough   to   use   a   needle,   but   they   made   dolls   of   their   fathers   and   mothers, and   also   of   course   samurai   warriors   as   well.   The   girls   wanted   to   make   dolls   that   would   show   the   way   they would be when they got older. So   that   is   the   story   as   best   as   I   can   tell.   And   you   are   most   welcome   to   add   the   KIWAKKUKI   children   to   the project.   They   would   be   thrilled.   I   will   send   you   their   stories   as   well.   They   are   rather      self-      explanatory   with the lifelines showing quite clearly when parents died. It is moving. Thanks for your interest. Trisha So   you   see,   the   orphans   loved   making   the   dolls   and   kept   them   to   remind   them   of   their   parents.   What   a   wonderful way   to   help   heal   the   lives   of   these   unfortunate   children.   On   these   pages   you   will   see   pictures   of   these   children and   you   will   read   their   handwritten   biographies,   most   with   time   lines   of   their   lives.   They   were   written   in   Swahili, their   native   language,   so   we   have   translated   them   into   English   so   that   others   may   understand   these   children’s words. The   second   orphan   project   is   with   a   new   orphanage   that   is   opening   in   Honduras.   It   is   called   Walking   With Children.   The   facility   houses   children   living   with   HIV   infection   so   that   they   can   get   proper   care.   STITCHES   Doll Project   is   currently   seeking   grant   money   to   fund   a   training   mission   to   Honduras.   Our   plan   is   to   train   volunteers and   local   women   to   plan   and   implement   a   doll-making   workshop.   In   this   way,   they   can   continue   to   empower   girls and   women   who   are   living   with   HIV   infection.   The   facilitators   will   take   pictures   of   the   dolls   that   we   will   then   post on the STITCHES website for all to see and learn from. At   present   we   are   making   beautiful   traditional   jewellery   with   beads   made   from   Honduran   river   clay.   We   get   the beads   directly   from   the   women   that   make   them   by   hand,   then,   our   STITCHES   volunteers   make   them   into different   jewellery   items.   We   will   sell   these   pieces   at   displays,   fund-raisers   and   on   our   website,   and   share   the profits   with   Walking   With   Children.   This   will   help   raise   the   awareness   of   the   plight   of   the   orphans   in   Honduras, raise needed money, and forges a great working relationship between the orphanage and our organization. The   caveat   to   this   is   something   wonderful   that   happened   when   I   told   this   story   to   some   middle   school   girls   in inner-city   Detroit.   I   had   been   requested   to   bring   some   dolls   to   Durfee   Middle   School   on   the   west   side.   The   girls loved   looking   at   the   dolls   and   hearing   each   of   their   moving   stories.   Then   they   asked   lots   of   questions   about   AIDS and    sex    in    general.    You    could    see    that    they    were    hungry    for    good    information.    Upon    hearing    about    my involvement   with   these   orphans,   the   girls   also   wanted   to   do   something   tangible.   A   few   weeks   went   by   and   their teacher   contacted   me   to   say   that   she   had   a   gift   for   me   from   the   girls.   When   she   arrived   she   presented   me   with   14 colourful   dolls,   handmade   by   the   Durfee   girls.   Each   one   had   a   message   of   love   and   hope   attached   to   it   is“   for   the orphans   in   Honduras.   Needless   to   say,   it   brought   me   to   tears.   A   month   later   I   met   with   the   Director   of   Walking With   Children   while   she   was   in   Michigan   for   a   fund-raising   mission.   I   presented   her   with   the   the   Durfee   Dolls   and a huge bag of brand new socks for the children. She was as overwhelmed. Because   there   is   such   an   interest   by   young   people   to   get   involved   in   this   work,   we   have   developed   several   other workshop   sessions   that   we   offer.   Our   resident   artiste,   Gloria,   designed   beaded   doll   pins   made   on   wire.   These   are fun   to   make   for   people   of   all   ages.   We   then   sell   these   at   local   events   and   on   our   website   to   raise   money.   Each doll   pin   is   unique   and   colorful.   They   can   be   worn   on   a   lapel,   used   as   a   sun   catcher,   or   hung   from   a   rear   view mirror. The   other   workshop   ideas   involve   sock   puppets,   made   from   socks   and   small   pillows   made   with   scrap   materials. These   are   very   simple   craft   projects   that   kids   and   adults   of   all   ages   can   take   part   in.   Once   they   are   finished   we send   these   creations   to   the   orphanages   to   bring   fun,   love,   and   entertainment   into   their   lives.   It   lets   the   orphans know   that   other   children   of   the   world   care   about   them.   And   it   teaches   our   children   here   how   blessed   they   are   to live in this country and have the resources that are available to them.
Click to View Durfee Middle School Doll in the International Collection Click to View Durfee Middle School Doll in the International Collection
STITCHES Womens Iniaitives 28056 Palomino Drive Warren, MI 48093  Phone: 586-873-8034