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No Child Should be Turned Away

After a long and difficult journey, one-year-old Nasma and her mother arrive at the hospital, hoping and praying that Nasma will get the help she needs to see.

But the hospital is full and they are told to return another day…

UPDATE: YOU DID IT!

Thank you to all our generous and gracious donors who gave $2.2M over the last two years to Operation Tanzania. We met the target! Soon the profit-generating medical clinic will be fully operational and children, living in poverty with a disability, will be able to receive free treatment! THANK YOU!

Over the past two years, almost 12,000 children had to be turned away from CCBRT, our partner disability hospital in Tanzania. That’s someone’s child being turned away almost every hour of every day that the hospital is operating. It’s time for change.

A Bold Vision

We want to be able to equip CCBRT to provide free treatment for all children under the age of 5.

How?

Build a profit-generating private clinic that will serve the growing middle and upper class in Tanzania. The profits from that clinic will fund critical on-going care for children facing the double disadvantage of poverty and disability. When complete and operating at capacity, the private clinic will create a revenue stream big enough to fund free treatments for over 7,500 children under 5, each and every year for generations to come.

Children just like Shadhili and Nasma

Shadhili’s Story

When little Shadhili was just three years’ old, a photographer noticed that he had white spots in his eyes. Shahili’s mother, Shemsa, took him to a local clinic where he was diagnosed with cataracts and advised to seek treatment at CCBRT. In the meantime, he’s almost completely blind and has not been able to go to school…

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It has taken six months for Shemsa, a single mother, to save up the $15.65 for the two-day train trip to Dar es Salaam, where CCBRT is located. It’s there that I met them for the first time.

Shemsa’s taken the trip in faith, hoping to get her son admitted for cataract surgery.

“I worry that my son could be blind for his whole life. That would have taken away his opportunities. Even the school sent him home.

I know people who are blind. Some get support, and they live a normal life. Those who don’t are living a very bad life.”

Shemsa and Shadhili are lucky, and are able to see a doctor. Dr. Sonia examines the young boy and lets them know that the prognosis is good. Surgery is scheduled for the next day, and it goes well.

By the time I see Shadhili again it’s the morning after his surgery and he’s back to his good-natured self, even before the bandages come off his eyes. He sits calmly on his mother’s lap as the nurse carefully loosens the tape and pulls off one bandage, then the other.

Shadhili looks a tiny bit bewildered. The nurse wipes his eyes with gauze, and then Shadhili begins to smile. Then is smile bubbles into a giggle as he realizes that he can see everything more clearly.

In minutes, he jumps down from his mom’s lap and reaches for my hand. I give him a pad of paper and a pen and he draws with me. I draw a fish, and Shadhili giggles and pretends to eat it. He laughs and chatters away with me, reaching up and tapping me on the face with the pen if I’m not giving him enough attention.

But my greatest joy was seeing the happiness and relief in Shemsa’s face as she gazed at her son. “I thank you so much for your support”, she says. Her dream for her boy to go to school is now within reach.

– Ed

Shadhili struggling to do homework

Unable to see, Shadhili struggles to keep up in school.

Shadhili and mother

Shadhili and his mother begin the journey to CCBRT, hoping to see a doctor.

Shadhili in surgery

Shadhili is fortunate. A doctor sees him and he goes into surgery.

Shadhili and Ed

When the bandages are taken off, Shadhili’s face lights up in a smile. He can see! Here he colours with Ed Epp, our executive director.

Nasma’s Story

Two-year-old Nasma did not have an easy birth. Due to asphyxia, she has cataracts, cerebral palsy and a possible heart condition.

“We realized two weeks after Nasma was born that something was not normal with her eyes. We would hold up our fingers, and there would be no response” her father, Saidi, tells me…

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Nasma’s parents thought that their daughter would grow out of the problem with her eyes, and didn’t take her anywhere for treatment. But after a year, they finally took her to the village dispensary which referred them to a district hospital, which in turn referred them to CCBRT.

The family lives in a tiny dark room with a curtain for a door, and five other families living in the same small building. Their room is about 8 by 10 feet with one mattress on the floor and a few belongings piled in the corner. Life is not easy for Nasma and her family, but they remain hopeful and determined to change Nasma’s life.

They arrive at CCBRT, dusty and tired after having traveled all through the night. They’re here to see a doctor and desperate to get help.

Sadly, Nasma and her family were sent away. There were just too many people to see today and they’ll have to try another time. The disappointment in their faces is hard to witness.

– Ed

Nasma

Nasma struggles because she is unable to see.

Nasma held by her mother

Nasma and her family begin the long and exhausting journey to the hospital.

Nasma waiting with parents

There’s a long wait, but Nasma’s family is hopeful that a doctor will be able to see her.

Nasma and mother

Disappointed, yet determined, Nasma’s mother begins the long journey home.

Both Shadhili and Nasma arrived, but only one was seen by a doctor. Sadly, Nasma and her family were sent away. There were just too many people to be seen that day. Nasma will have to try another day.

But Shadhili was fortunate. He was admitted for surgery on both his eyes. Two days after walking through the front doors, his bandages were removed and, for the first time in his life, he could see.

clinic

Overview

Our long-term partner CCBRT provides medical care to people struggling with poverty and disability in Tanzania, but their budget is stretched thin. They are at 150% capacity, and are forced to turn children and families away because they just don’t have the resources to help them. It’s a growing problem that requires a bold solution.

Together with you, our generous donors, we are building a profit-generating private clinic that will fund critical, ongoing care for children living in extreme poverty.

This tried-and-tested medical care model creates its own revenue to provide free medical care to children who need it most, but can least afford it.

Last year, during Phase 1 of Operation Tanzania, we were able to build the clinic up to the top floor. Now, in the Final Phase, it’s time to finish the interior and equip it.

Today and up until December 31, you have a special opportunity to maximize the impact of your contribution. A group of cbm supporters are so inspired by the life-changing potential of this project that they’ve offered to match every donation, dollar for dollar, up to $400,700. Your gift today will double to help provide healthy futures for children each and every year.

Timeline

2001

The CCBRT Disability Hospital, founded by cbm to provide healthcare for patients facing the double disadvantage of disability and poverty, opens in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2004

CCBRT begins a test pilot by opening up a small ward in the hospital to provide medical treatment for the upper and middle class Tanzanians – it’s a success.

2016

Thanks to our generous donors, CCBRT breaks ground on the for-profit clinic that will fund healthcare for generations of disadvantaged children

2017

With your support, the private clinic will be filled with medical equipment attracting paying patients – and the profit will fund free medical care for kids living in poverty and disability

2018

Private Clinic equipped, furnished, opens and begins to fund healthcare for children.

2019

Private Clinic generates enough revenue to provide free treatment for more than 7,000 of the poorest children every year for years to come.

Here's Our Solution

Infographic
Private clinic construction progress

Step 1 (underway)

Construct a state-of-the art, private clinic for Tanzanians and others who can afford premier medical care.

We’ve started building a profit-generating medical clinic that will have the capacity to handle 70,000 outpatient treatments per year. An active staff of 80 passionate professionals and a facility that includes operating theaters, a diagnostic centre, physiotherapy department, imaging centre, consultation office, pharmacy, optical shop and more will ensure Tanzanians have access to one of Africa’s premier clinics.

Operation room

Step 2

Equip the private clinic.

Purchase medical equipment (eg: x-ray machines) to do life changing diagnosis, operations and treatment year after year.

Mothers holding their babies waiting

Step 3

Identify an increased number of children who need immediate treatment but can’t afford it.

Our trained staff is already travelling from community to community, finding children in rural and remote areas in desperate need of treatment, increasing awareness about preventable and curable disabilities and changing attitudes toward people with life-long disabilities. Without steady and increased funding, we can’t reach all those waiting and in need of life-changing care.

Erwin and smiling child

Step 4

Use the clinic profits to provide free care for those who could not pay for it otherwise.

The profits from the private clinic will fund more surgeries, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, assistive devices and community support for children under five and families who otherwise could not afford it. The medical services offered to thousands of children each year will transform lives!

Progress Updates

Update 1: 10-26-2016
Update 2: 12-21-2016
Update 3: 01-13-2017
Update 4: 01-16-2017
Update 5: 02-03-2017
Update 6: 03-10-2017
Update 7: 05-18-2017
Update 8: 06-23-2017
Update 9: 08-24-2017
Update 10: 10-05-2017
Update 11: 11-23-2017
Update 12: 12-18-2017

Compassionate Care Starts With Us

Tanzania is East Africa’s largest country with a population of 51 million. Between 3.5 and 6 million of these people, many of them children, suffer from some form of disability while also struggling with the pressure of overwhelming poverty. As in every country where we work, children here are the most marginalized and overlooked.

People with disabilities often live in severe poverty due to the challenge of finishing school and earning a steady income. They also face discrimination from their communities and additional challenges accessing health services, education and training.

Tanzania by the numbers

  • 51 million: the population
  • 3.5-6 million: the number of persons with disabilities
  • 10%: the percentage of children with disabilities in the poorest communities who go to school at all
  • In the poorest communities, children with disabilities die at up to 4Xs the rate of other children
  • 48%: the illiteracy rate of Tanzanians with a disability, compared to 25% among those without disabilities
  • 480 million: the amount of dollars the exclusion of people with disabilities from the workplace costs Tanzania every year
tanzania