The Bush-Spa wants to bring your attention the “other” side of
living and working, but also visiting this magnificent area of
Zambia, as many tourists do not see the ongoing struggle to conserve
this area for generations to come.
Norman Carr first started to operate walking safaris in the Luangwa and he realised that conservation could not work without the local people truly benefiting from the wildlife around them.
Today, this approach to responsible tourism is more
important than ever!
For years many of the companies in the Luangwa valley have been working with various projects or started their own projects to ensure that conservation efforts continued. And so did the Bush-Spa!
Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) was first initiated by the WHO following the International Conference on Primary Health Care in 1978 and the resulting Declaration of Alma-Ata. CBR is seen as a strategy to improve access to rehabilitation services for people with disabilities in developing countries; over the past 30 years its scope has considerably broadened, however its scope does not yet seem to reach all the far corners of the world, with many rural areas still in need of information, education, awareness and CBR programs.
In low-income countries and particularly in rural areas, like Zambia’s Mfuwe area, the range of rehabilitation services available and accessible is limited. There may only be one rehabilitation centre in the major city of a country, for example, or therapists may be available only in hospitals or large clinics. In the entire Mambwe district there is one physiotherapist available at the larger mission operated Kamoto Clinic. Luckily, Touch Therapy is recognised by the District Health Services and we can count on their support and regular visits of the physiotherapist!
Owner Nathalie and her team members of the Bush-Spa initiated
theTouch Therapy Program,
which is intended especially for children with a physical or mental
disability and their parents.
The children are often kept at home after the diagnosis has been given by the qualified physicians. Unfortunately their illness can’t be cured and there is a shortage (or even lack of) individual orientated activities for these children. Most families are not capable of travelling to Lusaka (or even Kamoto) on a regular basis to visit a physiotherapist. Whilst regular exercises and activities are so important for their children, parents just do not have the funds or means to travel these distances.
The primary objective of the programme is to develop a training package designed to equip parents of children with health concerns and/or disabilities with the necessary skills to apply gentle massage and range of motion exercises. We aim to enhance parents' perceived ability to cope with caring for their child by providing them with practical skills and to strengthen the bond between parent and child.
Most rehabilitation and therapy can and should take place in the home and community with loving support of family, neighbours, and friends. The caregivers and therapists in the Touch Therapy Program play an important role in this ‘community-directed rehabilitation’. By simplifying and sharing their knowledge and skills, they reach many more children.
The team meet and work with the people on their terms, as learners, teachers, and information providers. They can help disabled persons, parents, and other concerned individuals via the community based Touch Therapy Program
At the Touch Therapy Program, they try not to tell anyone what they must do. Instead the team provides information, explanations, suggestions, examples, and ideas. An imaginative, adventurous, thoughtful, and even playful approach is encouraged. After all, each disabled child is different and will be helped most by approaches and activities that are lovingly adapted to her specific abilities and needs. In this way many rehabilitation aids, exercises, and activities can be made or done in ways that integrate rather than separate the child from the day-to-day life in the community.
The need for cooperation with Project Luangwa (PL) was easily recognised. As PL supports so many children and families in our local community, they easily indentify children and parents who might benefit from our therapy. As important, our team wished to ensure accountability and transparency for interested parties, donors and stakeholders within the community.
Project Luangwa is a Non-Governmental
Organisation (NGO) formed in 2010. They not only have an excellent
reputation in our community, but have the necessary legal status in
Zambia, UK and the USA. The TTP works under their supervision and is
therefore obliged to have all their financial controls and reporting
in place, ensuring possible donors their funds are adequately used
for the planned projects under the TTP.
The Touch Therapy Community Based Rehabilitation was established for children only, but may later be expanded to include older people and people with chronic health conditions, providing a direct link to the Kakumbi Rural Health Centre and the further away Kamoto Hospital. Providing children and people with disabilities the access to rehabilitation services which contribute to their overall well-being, inclusion and participation. And that right here in their rural Chiefdom. Thank you for your interest!
Qualified therapist Nathalie who owns the award winning Bush-Spa in South Luangwa is actively involved and she and her entire team of qualified therapists are eager, donate some funds, their time, expertise and hands-on experience with their community members thru this program. Other local community members take part as well and donate their time to the program and even a qualified Social Worker joined the team to assist in counselling of the parents.
The Touch Therapy volunteer personnel are at the core of the CBR
and are a resource for disabled children and people, their families
and community members. Currently there are 8 volunteer personnel
members plus the addition of a counsellor from the Kakumbi Rural
Health Centre and a qualified Social Worker assisting in monthly
sessions to form self-help groups between parents.
All but one member are local Zambian community members.
When the time comes to be recruiting more Touch Therapy CBR personnel, they aim to select them again from the local community, if possible, as this will ensure they have good knowledge of the local culture and language and better access to community members. The TTP is strongly committed to recruiting people with disabilities or family members of disabled people. This will show a commitment to their principles and contributes to their empowerment. In all cases, people shall be recruited on the basis of their knowledge, skills and ability. However, all Touch Therapy personnel need ongoing training to ensure they are able to facilitate access to rehabilitation services and provide appropriate services at community level.
The Touch Therapy team requires a good understanding of their role as rehabilitation personnel. For that reason training sessions are provided, but study material does cost money and time. Periodically, the team could use the assistance of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, mobility trainers and more to further learn on how we can be of benefit to people with different impairments in rural areas.
There are arrangements with the physiotherapist of Kamoto to
visit the team, but Touch Therapy is looking into attracting
international volunteers on short term basis. They can assist with
further implementing the program into the community and teach new
skills working closely together with the program manager.
Do you have relevant qualifications, experience in Africa and feel you might be able to contribute a bit of your time and recourses to come to rural Zambia? Please do get in touch for more information, Touch Therapy would love to hear from you. Contact Nathalie
Currently there is a lack of marketing recourses, Touch Therapy just does not have a person who has the time to market their efforts via Social Media, Internet or other media, and is able to make a professional flyer to hand out to interested parties. Currently there is no stand alone website or any other information made public.
So are you always interested in new media, a legend on facebook, twitter and can write catchy texts? Are you familiar with Crowd Funding and feel you can assist the children? Would you be interested in helping Touch Therapy by donating a bit of your online time to the good cause? Then do please write to Nathalie
Maybe you don't have enough time to keep assisting Touch Therapy with social media, but are you a graphic designer and willing to assist with a once-off (maybe two if you truly enjoy) marketing project at your own time? Website, flyers, brochures, fund raising materials or any other ideas are most certainly welcome. You guessed right... contact Nathalie
Cost can be a major limiting factor for new programs, and so it is for the Touch Therapy CBR. So it is important to think carefully about the amount of money that is needed to keep the program sustainable and secure for the future. TTP currently uses existing funds and materials of the initiator of the program; however the need for expansion is already urgent
The budget describes the amount of money to implement further activities over a specified period of time. A budget is important for transparent financial management, planning, fundraising, program implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
Of utmost importance is the extension of the Therapy Centre. Current facilities and premises are limited and that is why an urgent expansion of volunteer efforts is needed. Touch Therapy needs help to raise funds, give the program publicity, build a new Therapy Centre and hopefully help bring in the equipment needed.
Renting a small premises right in the heart of our community in close proximity of the Kakumbi Rural Health Centre has already seen a 300% increase in the children and families attending the program. The Touch Therapy Program is slowly breaking down some of the barriers to health-care services some people with disabilities face. It surely has been a busy few weeks and months and they see new intakes of children on a weekly basis, but also see obstacles in operations.
With some donations of Friends of Touch Theray we managed to upgrade our current building.... and are we happy with that !!!!
Please read the full story of the upgrade with help of many
friends and community members. Again thank you all for your support
Your donation would be highly appreciated, be it to sponsor a local community member to cycle distances for out-reach care, or a bag or two of cement for the new to build Therapy Centre, or to assist in purchasing wheelchairs, or a substantial donation towards the new to build Community Centre! Please!
All donations made are monitored thru Project Luangwa. You can visit their web-site to see how you can donate (but please remember to mention Touch Therapy with your donation) or get in touch with Nathalie for an extensive proposal and wish list for the Touch Therapy Program. Or just to receive further information about the program and budget.