Thursday, January 07, 2016

Thanks from Maintain Hope

We wish all our supporters a happy healthy and prosperous New Year, writes Gerry O'Donoghue of Maintain Hope.

Many thanks to all who supported 'A Christmas Gathering' — it was a great success financially and provided a nostalgic and seasonal opening to Christmas.

The scourge of Tuberculosis has struck Maintain Hope Children's Home. One of our boys has tested positive and is gravely ill. Being HIV positive renders young people very vulnerable and it complicates the diagnosis. He has had several blood transfusions and is on IV antibiotics. We are hoping and praying that he will recover. Meanwhile the other children who have been exposed to possible infection will have to be tested and monitored.

Many readers will remember the stigma that surrounded TB in Ireland in the 50s. Families were decimated, and because it was associated with poor living conditions, a certain shame attached to it. It is similar in Kenya and this shame stops people from seeking treatment. In Kenya, there is no automatic BCG vaccination, and because many of our children were abandoned as babies, they are particularly vulnerable.

Most people who are exposed to TB do not contract the disease, but overcrowding and poor nutrition increase the chances of infection. TB is widespread in Kenya, so even children with the best of starts in life are prone to infection. Hence our emphasis on good shelter and food for our children.

Those who are contributing to our Tenner a Month campaign are actually saving lives and we are beyond grateful to everybody who supports us in any way. If you as an individual or as a family have been thinking about supporting a charity this new year, you can be assured that your €10 a month to Maintain Hope will, without reduction or administration costs, go straight to the children under our care.

Renewed thanks to you all and every good wish for 2016.