In 1998, a work team from Stouffville, Ontario, travelled to Igoma, Tanzania, to start construction of the village’s first medical clinic. Five years later, a second team returned to complete the clinic and stock it with medicine, medical equipment and more. A local board of directors for the new Urafiki Health Clinic was appointed and a doctor was hired. In September 2003, the clinic opened its doors to the people of Igoma.
During this time, Stouffville resident Peter Neufeld made a presentation to the Stouffville Town Council proposing that the town adopt Igoma as a partner community. The idea was that Stouffville would find ways to support and build connections with the village of Igoma. The council approved the project unanimously, and in September 2003, the Stouffville Igoma Partnership (SIP) was founded.
Through this unique grassroots partnership, Canadian volunteers have had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Igoma and learn about East Africa and its culture, customs, language and people. Volunteers from Igoma have also been sponsored to come to Canada to learn about life here and speak to students, clubs and likeminded organizations.
Since 2003, SIP has undertaken a number of projects in Igoma, all of which were paid for with money received through fundraising and donations. We achieved a key milestone in 2019 by completing a minor surgery operating theatre at the Urafiki Health Clinic that will be fully operational by the end of the year.