A new day was dawning over the Nairobi, Kenyan suburb of Dandora in East Africa. Above the usual sounds of life awakening to the morning sun came an infant’s desperate cry.
Dandora is home to Nairobi’s sprawling 30-acre dumpsite, one of the largest in the world. Many of Dandora’s 300,000 residents survive by scavenging the dumpsite for items to sell or trade. Life in this underserved urban slum is hard and the situation for mothers and children is dire. According to the World Bank, Kenya’s maternal mortality rate is 488 deaths for every 100,000 live births.
On that fateful day in March of 2017, a miracle happened. Someone passing by the dumpsite heard the newborn’s frantic cries and found the baby stuffed in a paper bag, having been left to die among the heaps of rotting garbage. The stranger immediately took the baby to a new maternity clinic that had opened its door to the public that very day. With its state-of-the-art equipment, the staff was able to save the baby’s life.
They gave him the name Moses.
Moses would likely not have lived to see another day without a medical facility nearby to save him. The residents of Dandora had been desperately voicing their need for safe, clean, affordable, professional, and compassionate maternity services in their neighborhood for years; they just needed someone to take up their cause and help make it happen.
For the people of Dandora, that person was Santa Monica resident Jill Tabit. Jill had been to Dandora on a couple of mission trips with her church to support their sister church relationship with The Dandora Holy Cross Parish. The trips were a transformative experience for Jill. During her second trip to Dandora in 2012, she made the decision to dedicate her time and effort to bring essential healthcare to the people of Dandora, people who had become her dear friends.
Realizing the enormity of the task that lay ahead, Jill started New DAWN Africa. With support from Notre Dame University and the Dandora Parish, she got to work to raise funds for the project.
“Many, many pieces contributed to building the larger picture and each piece was vital to creating the whole. My piece of the puzzle involved matching the resources I knew existed in the U.S. with the need in Dandora. Many people I knew at home wanted to help make a difference, but didn’t know how…”
Having partnered with MATTER to procure the necessary equipment and supplies, the first shipment arrived for the 50-bed, 2 story hospital in June of 2015. Over the following year and a half, four shipments of life-saving resources arrived, carrying everything from beds and exam tables to gauze and bandages. In March 2017, Brother Andre Medical Centre opened its doors and welcomed its first tiny patient.Baby Moses and thousands of other patients are living testimonies to the impact the hospital is having on the community of Dandora as a beacon of health, hope and dignity.
“BAMC is fortunate to have enthusiasts who are committed to ensuring that the community here gets the best healthcare possible at a cost that is not beyond their ability to pay. We continue to welcome all who have made this dream a reality.” Joy Ndege, Brother Andre Medical Centre staff member and Dandora resident
Jill learned a lot during her journey to bring quality healthcare to Dandora. One of the biggest lessons was the importance of collaboration.
“The one thing I can say for certain – no one accomplishes anything significant alone. Anyone, no matter how big or small their resource pool, can make a meaningful impact when they join together with likeminded people in pursuit of a common vision. And let God’s grace fill in the gaps.”
You can make a meaningful impact by joining with others to help MATTER increase access to health in some of the most desperate places on earth.
By the end of 2018, we’re hoping to raise $50,000 to impact 50,000 people, people like Baby Moses and the deserving residents of Dandora. Every $1 donated gives the gift of health and hope to someone who needs it most. Please join us! Learn more here.