Mrs. Margaret Mama, while working at her pottery, noticed that many workers were reporting the deaths of children in their community. This motivated her to go into the communities to discover for herself what was happening. The absence of health care, including routine immunization, and the lack of primary schools was the impetus for her to decide that something must be done to address the situation. She initially was able, through the assistance of her husband, Dr. Eli B. Mama, to carry out routine clinics, immunizing, treating for common illnesses, deworming, etc. During this time also, she reached out to individuals, groups and agencies in an effort to raise funds to build and equip schools. Mrs. Mama registered the organization with the name Hope for the Village Child.
It was during this time that a number of children came walking across fields to see her. Their legs were badly deformed, and they came seeking help. With the assistance of her husband and others in the medical field, she was able to determine that the cause of the crippling was rickets, a disease usually identified with a lack of Vitamin D and calcium. She began seeking not only the assistance the children needed but also the cause. Because of a similarity with disease caused by toxic water, she sought assistance for wells. Thus the well programme began, with some wells donated by Rotary International.
With the expanding activities, it was necessary for Mrs. Mama to find a permanent site. After deliberation, her husband suggested that a small section of their farm be carved out for the permanent site. This was done, and funds were sought to begin building a clinic.
In early 2000 Dr. and Mrs. Mama found it necessary to return to England. The organization was governed by a Board of Trustees who took over the interim management of the organization, and began the building of the clinic. This was carried out alongside continuation of the other activities that had been begun. However, the Board members were all fully engaged in other professions and businesses, thus it was difficult for them to manage the organization simultaneously. In January of 2003, at the request of Mrs. Mama, Sr. Rita Schwarzenberger took over the management of HVCF.
By January of 2004 the work began fully in the clinic which had been completed sufficiently to enable its use. In addition to previous health work, antenatal clinics were started.
Outreach intensified, and by 2006 it was evident that it is not possible to work for a better future for children unless their primary caregivers, the mothers, are empowered to have a better life. In addition, health depends on nutrition, and good nutrition needs good farming so another area of outreach was agriculture.
However, other developments took place that brought about some changes. With the clinic fully established, it was evident that for service as well as for security, it was important to have resident health workers. In 2004 Manos Unidas of Spain was gracious in assisting with the building of what was to have been staff quarters.
Again, another situation intervened. The problem of children with rickets had not disappeared but it had intensified. In one community alone, on one day, 35 children were seen. This prompted the search for more assistance, and in 2005, through the financial assistance of Misereor in Germany, the Medical Mission Institute, also from Germany, was able to assist the organization to set up a programme of treatment for affected children. The result of that in terms of space were that rooms intended for staff were changed into offices, and some staff quarters had to be built outside the existing building.
As programmes and projects multiplied, more meetings were held and more training was carried on for community members. Initially these training sessions and meetings with community members were held in the outpatient area of the clinic. This became more and more difficult as patients needed to come and go. In addition, Wednesdays were immunization clinics and Fridays were set aside as antenatal clinics. This meant that no meetings and trainings could be held on those days. With this in mind, the organization again appealed to Manos Unidas who again responded to its request and the Learning Centre was built. The Centre has become a vital part of the work of the organization as annually it is used very often.
In 2009 Hope for the Village Child was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and was asked to add “Foundation” to its name, becoming officially Hope for the Village Child Foundation (HVCF). In 2010 HVCF was registered with the National Planning Commission.
In 2014, aided by the Mamas and Hope for the African Village Child, a sister organization established in England by Mrs. Mama, the organization was enabled to install solar lighting, a great benefit to carrying out the work of the organization. This has been especially important for the midwives as they no longer have to rely on poor lighting when they are called upon to deliver babies during the night.
In 2015 the Livingkindness Centre for Learning was opened in Ikuze, Kajuru Local Government. It is presently still attached to HVCF, but within a short period it will be independent, governed by its own Management Board.
With the help of God and the assistance of generous donors, we continue to make efforts to build hope for our children. It is this that gives them and also us, joy.