Two years ago, I was introduced to an exciting organisation based five hours outside of Nairobi called Village HopeCore International. I was commissioned to document stories of their work and profile the organisational founder Dr K.K. Mugambi; a fascinating man worthy of a separate blog post. And Naomi, the Operations Manager. Her story is fantastic; she is such a powerful woman; also a separate blog post.
But what blew me away was the uniqueness of their model. They have managed to integrate healthcare with education successfully. For example, while schools were scrambling to set up handwashing stations, the schools in the sub-county of Maara had handwashing stations with soap for years. As a result, children were accustomed to washing their hands frequently and drinking clean water. This simple act reduced cases of children missing school from illnesses such as flu, colds, diarrhoea, typhoid, worms, etc.
The organisation went a step further and now runs regular health camps in schools for the community. This is where they find community members with unaddressed ailments seconded to their health facilities for treatment.
They now have a community database, keeping track of pregnant women for pre and postnatal care; they have a program that provides free eye screening and offers new spectacles to those with sight problems. And it doesn’t stop there.
They have a micro-lending program offering entrepreneurial training to the community and loans for micro and small businesses. Some of their graduates are now hiring five to 10 people. Health, education and access to capital are the perfect formulae for poverty eradication.
Today’s picture was taken during one of their health camps in a school in Maara Subcounty, Tharaka Nithi County. Screening children to ensure those with sight impairments get the help they need to get back to learning without any impediments. I love what HopeCore does; it’s a model we need across the country.