Caring for the caregivers

By Jane Sutton-Redner

New Day Church's 3rd-to-5th graders with their assembled packs. (Christopher Redner/Children in Need Inc.)

A few months ago, one of the children’s groups at my church, New Day Church in Tacoma, Wash., assembled Caregiver Kits, orange packs containing basic hygiene supplies for the trained volunteers in AIDS-affected communities who care for the sick. This followed a holiday bake sale in which the kids raised $1,600 for 45 kits. Once they received the supplies from World Vision, they gathered at a pizza place to put the kits together.

Assembling the kits with care. (Christopher Redner/Children in Need Inc.)

I had nothing to do with New Day choosing World Vision as its charity, but of course, I’m pleased. And I’m not surprised—New Day kids are almost suspiciously big-hearted.

It’s tough to pinpoint where New Day’s kits went—Caregiver Kits are sent to more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. And the shipping and distribution process can take up to six months, so perhaps they haven’t even arrived at their destination.

But when I came across some photos and quotes from Rakai, Uganda, I thought my church (and others) would be interested to hear why the kits are valued—from the caregivers themselves.

Ugandan caregivers with their new kits. (Sylvia Nabanoba/WV)

“The kit helps me as I look after children who are sick,” says Winifred Nakayima. “I’m able to write down the problems they are facing in the notebook and then include them in my report to the project. That way, we can follow them up and help solve these problems.”

“The torch [flashlight] helps to provide light,” notes Joseph Karamagi, “because sometimes we are summoned to patients’ homes at night, and since we don’t have electricity, it is difficult to see.”

“I give the smooth towels in the kits to the patients’ caretakers for bathing the patients, because sponges sometimes feel hard on their sick, which is tender when they are sick,” says Alex Naggayi.

Alex Naggayi meets with one of her patients, Paskale Kato. (Sylvia Nabanoba/WV)

“We give some of the soap in the kit to our patients for bathing,” explains Yusuf Kakande Mukasa. “This means that even if they are sick, at least they will not have a bad odor.”

Can you imagine caring for the deathly ill without gloves or even a bar of soap? That’s what these heroic people are up against. I applaud the kids at New Day and the many other church and corporate groups who are helping to meet the need.

Learn more about Caregiver Kits here. Or be inspired by this video:


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