Finally We Did It! (Hospital Beds)

Finally we did it! Was Mirko’s expression of satisfaction when we finished the process of dismantling, packing and shipping about 15 hospital beds to the Kitovu Hospital in Masaka and a local health clinic in Kibaale, both located in Uganda. When we received this donation our knowledge and skills about the subject were minimal in terms of operation or sanitation; in fact none of us have had the opportunity to operate a hospital bed before, therefore the task became a real challenge for the group of volunteers involved. It should be noted that this is just a one time job and not our real field of activity.

The process of dismantling took a couple of days due the complexity of this medical equipment (it is not only about nuts and screws) we are talking about suspension, lifting handles, small springs and so on. However the very important test for us consisted in reducing the volume of the bed to a minimum without damaging its structure and ensuring a safe journey to Africa.

Apparently “Mission Accomplished” at that stage, nonetheless Mirko noted we missed a very important part of the task… the “Manual of Instructions”, how do we produce a set of basic instructions that are simple and understandable? It was probably the greatest challenge for the volunteers, but Finally we did it!

Carpentry and Tailoring Kits On Their Way to Zomba

Carpentry and tailoring kits (see the pictures below) have been shipped in a container on the 12th of September 2012 to the Zomba Deaf Group (ZDG), Zomba city district, Southern Malawi. The shipment is due to arrive in November. The ZDG is linked to the Malawi National Association of the Deaf and advocates for the rights, interest and welfare of deaf people, empowering and improving their lives through self-employment and economic development, promotion of sign language, participation and inclusion in society and attainment of their full rights and respect. The ZDG asked for help with the provision of necessary materials to start a new project, through ZAP — the Zomba Action Project (, a charity founded in 2003 and initiated by the Coleraine Borough Council. Tools for Solidarity (TFS) have supported the ZAP on a number of previous occasions through the provision of kits to local artisans.

The ZDG have never received tools in the past, there are no local donations currently available and unfortunately they do not have enough sewing machines that are working, nor the necessary resources to service them — although they should aim at receiving some training in the future, for project sustainability reasons. The products made with the supplied kits are to be sold locally since there is a high demand but a low supply of items in the region and the profits will support individual workers of the ZDG. The kits were supplied by Tools for Solidarity — Belfast (2 zigzag sewing machines, 2 treadle bases, screwdrivers, scissors, oil and needles, plus a carpentry kit: saws, planes, chisels, hammers, clamps, squares, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.) and Tools for Self Reliance — Garvald Centre Edinburgh (John and Brian’s team supplied 3 beautiful refurbished straight stitch sewing machines with electric motor and light). ZAP have said: “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give however, makes a life”.

Uganda Shipment July 2012 Updates

We had a great response from local artists Paddy, Paul, Glen and his friends from BlazeFX. Also our ‘newly’ own Ricardo (“bem-vindo”) and Adela did some great work. The core volunteers and visitors did the equally great job of loading the box.

The container arrived on Tuesday and by Wednesday it was fitted with a bench and wired for electric. It will remain in Uganda and serve as a workshop. The plan is to finish painting the interior on Thursday, and load it by Friday! A painting rig has been set up, thanks to Charlie.

Here is the amazing artwork of local artist Sam on last years container.

Please come along and lend a hand on Thursday to Friday. It’ll be fun 🙂

All this was possible thanks to our volunteer team.