W&H Dentalwerk supports SOS Children's Villages

Successful development in Kakiri, Uganda
Dipl.-Ing. Peter Malata, CEO of W&H, visited the SOS Children's Village in Kakiri in March 2011 to gain an insight into the conditions and problems in the area (PresseBox) (Bürmoos, ) The internationally successful family company W&H Dentalwerk, based in Bürmoos near Salzburg, Austria, is noted for its sense of social responsibility and its interest in the development of less fortunate people. The company started working with SOS Children's Villages as part of its 120th anniversary in 2010. With its financial support of the Family Strengthening Programme in Kakiri, Uganda, W&H is not only making a significant contribution to securing the basic food supply in the area but is also supporting the education of children and adults. The people in the area are also enjoying the benefits of comprehensive medical care.

Dipl.-Ing. Peter Malata, CEO of W&H, says, "We want to give the people in Kakiri a future. Improving their health and social situation is an important part of this. SOS Children's Villages is an internationally known aid organisation that supports development in the region and supports the people in their efforts to achieve economic independence." Medical care, education and provision of basic foodstuffs are important parts of the Kakiri Family Strengthening Programme. The organisation also works with families in general and parents in particular. The second key component of the aid project is establishing community structures and strengthening partner organisations in the local communities. Between 2010 and 2012 the Family Strengthening Programme has built up and strengthened the KAFCO partner organisation (Kakiri Family Care Organisation) to enable it to take over the direct family work from SOS Children's Villages in future.

Over the same period, W&H has provided direct support for particularly disadvantaged children (from 130 households). Children and families outside the direct target group have also benefited indirectly from numerous activities and support work. As a result of its extraordinary success over recent years, the SOS Children's Villages Family Strengthening Programme has been extended to neighbouring communities in 2013. In future, a total of 1358 children from 387 households will be fully supported.

Education as the key to self-help

One reason for the poor quality of basic nutrition in Kakiri was the lack of knowledge of agriculture and stock husbandry. Christian Moser, managing director of SOS Children's Villages, says, "The generous donation by W&H has made it possible not only to distribute food packages to needy families but also to run special education programmes to teach the people essential skills for growing fruit and crops and breeding small animals. The aim is to assist the people in Kakiri to become fully self-supporting in the near future so they can grow and harvest the food they need for their daily requirements." The people of Kakiri are also receiving direct support from agricultural experts due to the cooperation with the KAFCO partner organisation.

The Family Strengthening Programme has also made significant progress in the field of education. Since work started with W&H, 425 children from 160 households have received essential school supplies and financial support for school fees. While it was still necessary to finance 100% of the costs by means of donations in 2010, in 2011 the Ugandan households were able to pay 60% of the school fees themselves thanks to specific training in managing their finances (such as courses on money management, how to link to banks etc.). In 2012 this figure had ultimately risen to 90%. This year it is anticipated that families will be able to pay 100% of their school fees.

In addition to promoting financial independence for families in Kakiri, the Family Strengthening Programme has also increased awareness of the importance of schooling for children. Peter Malata says, "Every person should have the opportunity of education because education means a future and it makes a significant contribution to improving the lives of poorer people." Support by W&H has given a total of 124 children the opportunity to attend school over the past three years. Christian Moser says, "We are planning to increase the capacity of local schools to expand educational opportunities in Kakiri."

Improved medical care

Another key factor of development aid in Kakiri is providing comprehensive medical care. The primary focus here is on education and prevention. Since the Family Strengthening Programme started in 2006, 160 households have participated in a health education programme. Topics such as "hygiene", "balanced nutrition", "correct dental care", "AIDS" etc. have been taught and discussed. Close cooperation with the Hermann Gmeiner Hospital, also part of SOS Children's Villages, means that all participants in the programme now have access to medical care. Christian Moser explains, "Like attendance at school for children, we are also working towards having families make a financial contribution to their medical care." In 2010 families paid around 40% of the cost of medical treatment in the Hermann Gmeiner Hospital, while in 2012 this figure had risen to 100%. The development programme now only pays for emergency treatment.

The cooperation between W&H and SOS Children's Villages has made a significant improvement to the lives of the people in Kakiri over the last few years. The Family Strengthening Programme has made a valuable contribution to improving the quality of life of children and adults by improving the community's infrastructure and promoting education and generally by increasing the independence of the Ugandan people.

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W&H Dentalwerk Bürmoos GmbH
Ignaz-Glaser-Str. 53
A-5111 Bürmoos
Agnes Hufnagel
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