Tag Archives: Kenya

Finding Solutions

At Everyone’s Child

we are all about seeing problems and finding solutions. When this organization began in 2009, we were presented with the problem of providing an education, healthy meals and clean drinking water to orphaned and at-risk school children in three different locations in Kenya. We found solutions in reaching out to friends, family members and even strangers to ask for help. Nine years later, thanks to the generosity of many supporters, hundreds of orphaned and at-risk children in Kenya have received meals, an education and potable water. We have also had the opportunity to build new classrooms and connect students in the USA with students in Kenya.

finding solutions for children who are now drinking clean water from a spigot in sub Saharan Africa.
Clean water for kids in Kampi Ya Moto

Last year, for the first time in the history of this small non-profit organization, we were able to go beyond the borders of Kenya into a new country. This past year saw EC opening a unique afterschool study program for 20 children in grades 1 – 8 in a rural community outside of Hyderabad, India.

a classroom full of boys learning
Learning after school – an important part of life in India

HIV/AIDS

Unfortunately, the problems we encounter don’t just go away. HIV/AIDS continues to rob children of their parents at an alarming rate each day. It is estimated that there are over 3 million orphans in Kenya, 47% of whom are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. It is also estimated that an orphan sibling heads 12 – 15% of Kenyan households. These children are just that, children. They are not equipped to face problems that adults face. Typically they become anti-social, and are also an easy target for child-traffickers.1  Needless to say, finding solutions for the problems these children are confronted can be very challenging.

child sitting with her head on her hands
A child waiting for an answer

More Problems

Family members will often take in nephews and nieces who have lost their parents, but in many cases, they are ill equipped to care for them. These families find their resources stretched and have to choose between feeding and clothing their own children or their orphaned relatives. The orphan frequently goes hungry.  Oftentimes they are given clothing that is either too small or too big to wear. While the Kenyan government now provides free primary and secondary education, uniforms are required in all schools. Orphaned children typically do not have access to an adequate uniform, as their families usually cannot afford to provide for all their needs.

a group of students in blue uniforms smiling for the camera
students at Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School in Kiti

Finding Solutions

Last year, through the generosity of our contributors, EC was able to supply daily meals to over 400 orphaned and at-risk children. We also provided scholarships to 21 high school students, and conducted a yearlong mentorship program for orphaned high school juniors and seniors. Additionally, our Program Coordinator discovered a school in a rural area in western Kenya where children were simply waiting for a teacher to show up. Those who gave to EC made it possible for a teacher to be hired, allowing these 112 primary school children to begin receiving an education.

Children playing outside with their teacher at Miruya Primary School in western Kenya
A circle game with students and their teacher at Miruya Primary School in western Kenya

One of our BEST Solutions

Our 2017 Annual Appeal has been very successful. Today we are just $2,500 shy of receiving the same amount we received in 2016 ($21,625.00). Our programs are decided by our budget, and our budget is determined by how much comes in each year.

We are extremely grateful to each person who contributed to the 2017 Annual Appeal.  As I wrote in each thank you note I sent out, your gifts provide real and immediate help to children we are serving today.

students sitting in a classroom in Kenya
Bishop Donovan secondary students

Our Resolution

In this New Year, our resolution is to continue supporting school children in Kenya and India. We also hope to reach more children in need in both these countries.

To those who have not yet given, it’s not too late. We welcome your participation in finding solutions to the problems faced by youth who are living in an uncertain world.  Please click here to learn how you can help.

To all of you, I wish you all a very happy, healthy beginning to 2018!

Reference: 1. https://lightuphope.org/the-plight-of-orphans-in-kenya/

Mentoring,Training and Confidence

The Job Interview

My first job interview was not very noteworthy.

Our neighbor across the street asked my mother whether I would be interested in babysitting for her two little boys.  The “interview” took all of two minutes and included questions like “Do you know how to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich?”, and “Are you comfortable changing a diaper?”.  I felt so important when they asked me to stay at their house all by myself, even though I was a mere twelve years of age.  (Of course my mom was within shouting range should anything go awry.)

Several years later I interviewed for my first teaching position.  This was more serious and required an actual résumé, as well as the right clothes for the occasion.  Plus I needed some practice on how to win the confidence of those conducting the interview.  “Confidence” was certainly key.  I was confident that I could do the job, but I was less confident that I could win the approval of the interviewer.  I remember feeling nervous, even anxious and unsure, and then finally elated when I was offered the job.

Mentoring and Training

That experience taught me how to conduct myself during an interview, but there was a lot of mentoring and training that led up to that event.  And privilege.  It’s important to note that I was privileged to know people who invested their time to tell me how to conduct myself in an interview.  What’s more, I was blessed to have a family who cared enough to teach me how to treat my fellow human being.  They taught me the importance of understanding and pursuing my passion in life.  They also showed me the importance of making a difference in the world.  All of this added up to my eventual success at landing a job I really wanted.

a Kenyan mama and her baby
Lizzie Joy and Florence

Mentoring +Training = Confidence

Today I am painfully aware that there are millions of children growing up in our world who don’t have access to this kind of mentoring.  They are everywhere, but the ones I am most conscious of are the high school students we serve in Kenya.  Most are orphaned, and all are at risk of not making it once they graduate.

Two years ago William Aludo pioneered the Mentorship Program that is available to the orphaned 11th and 12th grade students we support.  These children are about to step out and make their marks on the world.  The program explores questions that teenagers commonly face, such as “who am I?” and “what is my passion?”.  The goal is to give students confidence in themselves and in their abilities, and teach them that they can make a difference in the world.

students sitting in a classroom in Kenya
Bishop Donovan secondary students

Success

I believe that success begins with knowing who we are and ends with identifying and pursuing what we are good at doing.  A child who has a sense of who they are is better equipped to handle life’s challenges.  A confident child is also more likely to identify and pursue his or her vocation or career.  Children who grow up in a safe, loving environment have easy access to this kind of success.  But this success is more elusive for those who grow up in uncertainty or without the involvement of a caring family.

Kenyan child in a warm jacket
Dressing for success on a chilly day in Kenya!

Our Goal

This coming year we want to expand on the accomplishment of this unique mentorship program.  Our goal is to help more students gain confidence in themselves and achieve their full potential as active citizens in the future of Kenya.  Whether they want to be a farmer, a doctor, a driver or a teacher, we want to equip them to be the best at what they will do.  If you would like to join us in this endeavor, please click here to donate to Everyone’s Child.  Please give generously.  Your gift will make a long-term impact in the lives of children who with our help can make a difference in Kenya.

As always, thank you, and blessings to you and your families in this holiday season.

Ruth

 

everyone’s child: they belong to all of us

Dear friends

Dear friends,

Every year I begin our Annual Appeal with these words, and every year I have the pleasure of crossing off “friends” and personalizing each letter that goes out to our supporters.  The rest of the letter describes our programs and gives a short report of what has happened in the past 12 months.  I love being able to add a note at the bottom as it brings me that much closer to those who have helped EC to accomplish so much.

The Appeal

Three weeks ago I sent these appeals from coast to coast and even into Canada.  My hope is to once again reach out to the dear friends and supporters who have been so faithful to the children we serve overseas.

Children receiving their lunch in Kampi Ya Moto, Kenya
Children receiving their lunch in Kampi Ya Moto, Kenya

This Year

This past year in Kenya EC fed over 430 orphaned and at-risk children daily, educated 21 orphaned high school students, and led a monthly mentorship program for seven orphaned high school students.  Two state-of-the-art preschool classrooms were built and dedicated in April.  We also started a unique after school program for 20 at-risk primary school children in rural India.  Each of these children now have a chance to reach their potential in life.  And that is possible because our supporters have made it so.

a classroom full of boys learning
Learning after school – an important part of life in India

Our Goal

In the coming year our goal is to continue feeding, mentoring, and providing an education for as many orphaned and at-risk students as we can, in Kenya and now in India as well.  The children at the Miruya Primary School in Kenya needs school supplies including desks and schoolbooks.  They also need a well.  Altogether, our fundraising goal for this season is $50,000.00.

Your Part

Even if you did not receive a personal letter from me asking for your support, you can still help. Your gift of $30 will feed a student for one month.  $300 will provide a high school education for an orphaned child for one year.  $1,000 goes a long way toward digging a well for the Miruya Primary School.  And $2,000 will fund EC’s After School Program outside of Hyderabad, India.

All donations are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support.  Please click on this link  to make a secure online donation to Everyone’s Child.  You can also send a check or money order to Everyone’s Child, 19204 Cole Road, Conneautville, PA 16406.  And from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Your gift will make an immediate and real difference in the lives of these children.

John, Ruth and Synthia in Migori County, Kenya
John, Ruth and Synthia in Migori County, Kenya

Blessings,

Ruth

 

The Miruya Primary School Challenge

The School

This past June I wrote about the Miruya Primary School in western Kenya where children were in attendance, but there were no teachers.  Since then, William Aludo, EC’s Kenyan Program Coordinator, has told us about the hardships these children face on a regular basis.

As many as 112 children are on the rolls at this school, but their teachers only come once in a while and do more crowd control than any actual teaching.  The issue is that although the Kenyan government provided a school building for these children, soon afterward they placed a moratorium on registering new schools due to a lack of government funding. Therefore, there are no trained teachers at the school.  However, parents in this rural area continue to send their children to the school and have hired three untrained teachers who are paid infrequently and show up sporadically. The children technically have a school, but they aren’t receiving a quality education.  What’s more, they face a multitude of difficulties every time they go to school.

Outside wall of the Miruya Primary School
Outside the Miruya Primary School

The Challenges

Here are some of the hardships that children are confronted with at the Miruya Primary School:

  1. Lack of potable water – There is a need for clean drinking water. The nearest water source is a river that is two kilometers from the school.
  2. Lack of trained teachers – Ideally, the school should have at least five trained teachers. Instead, it has three untrained teachers handling 112 children in preschool through to grade 5.
  3. Inadequate classrooms – The school has only four classrooms, one of which is incomplete with an unfinished floor and un-plastered walls. Students in different grades have to share one room; which causes confusion and distraction when more than one teacher is teaching. The school needs four additional classrooms to accommodate the current number of preschool and primary students (grades 1 to 5).
  4. Inadequate desks – Some students sit on the floor due to a shortage of desks. William Aludo donated desks to the school, but more desks are needed.
  5. Lack of textbooks – The school does not have the requisite textbooks for covering the current curriculum set by the government. Ideally each pupil should have a textbook for each subject, although in many schools like this one, three or four students usually wind up sharing one textbook between them.
  6. Inadequate toilets – There is only one toilet at the school. The school should have separate toilets for girls, boys and teachers.  Two other latrines need to be built.
  7. Lack of adequate nutrition – There is no food provided for the children.  A daily, nutritional lunch program for the children is also needed.
The Miruya Primary School
Miruya Primary School

The Miruya Primary School Challenge

In a few weeks, EC’s annual appeal will be starting.  Many of you choose to contribute regularly throughout the year, while others choose to give generously once a year.  We are very thankful for both types of giving.   Your gifts help to fund student scholarships and lunch programs for orphaned and vulnerable primary and preschool children in Kenya, and a unique after school study program in India.  This year we are also hoping to raise funds to help the Miruya Primary School get on its’ feet.  We are aiming for $50,000 to get us well on our way to funding our current programs and addressing the challenges the children in Miruya face every day.

Please click here to learn how you can help us provide a quality, sustainable education for these children.  All donations are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support. With your help we truly can change a generation through education.

Children playing at the Miruya Primary School
Children playing at the Miruya Primary School

As always, Asante Sana (thank you) dear readers!

Crunch Time

It’s August, and the students all over Kenya are taking a break from their studies. They call it a “holiday”, which is apt, since it will be “crunch time” once they return to school. At that point there will be three more months of the school year to test their mettle.  For now they are relaxing, just as we are, and trying not to think about what lies ahead.

CRUNCH TIME

This November Standard 8 students (8th graders) all over Kenya will be sitting for the KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). This exam helps determine which high school students can attend.  The competition is high, and a lot of effort that goes into preparing for these tests. The goal is to end up with grades that are high enough to allow them into the secondary school of their choosing.

Enter “Crunch Time”.  Crunch time happens in late hours after school is over, when schools with electricity leave their lights on for students who have none at home, allowing them extra time to study. It also happens between 6:00 – 8:00 AM when students arrive early to get in a couple extra hours of study time before the school day begins.   Studying for the KCPE is serious business, because no one wants to fail this test.

Standard 8 students at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto
Standard 8 students at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto

EC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

There is no free public education for secondary students, so without a scholarship students have to pay school fees. As you may imagine, scholarships are usually awarded only to the brightest students, and typically orphaned children do not rank in that category.  While family members in Kenya frequently take on the responsibility of raising their orphaned nieces and nephews, oftentimes those families are unable to pay the school fees for anyone other than their own children.

In 2012, Everyone’s Child began the EC Scholarship Program, knowing that these students would not be able to go to high school without outside financial support.  Currently, Bishop Donovan Secondary School (BEDSS) in Lanet Umoja is the only high school in the Nakuru area that offers a full scholarship to orphans.

OUR GOAL

Since 2012, more than 40 orphaned teenagers have received a scholarship from EC, allowing them to work toward completing their high school education. This is no small thing, given that the majority of orphaned children in Kenya usually struggle just to make it through the 8th grade. The devastation of losing one’s own parents, coupled with the rejection of not being able to attend high school is often all that it takes for a child to lose hope. Our goal is to supply hope to these children, in the form of an education. Beyond that, the EC Mentorship Program, led by our Program Coordinator William Aludo, and his assistant Simon Wanjala offers life skills guidance for scholarship students who are getting ready to graduate.

Orphaned students at Lanet Umoja Primary School
Orphaned students at Lanet Umoja Primary School

THEIR GOAL

Incoming students need marks of 200 or more (out of 500) in order to be accepted into BEDSS.    I am praying for all of these 8th grade students to pass with flying colors, but am especially holding the orphans in Lanet Umoja up in prayer. With good marks they will have a shot at entering a high school that offers financial and emotional support as well as a solid education.

OUR GRATITUDE

The only way we’ve been able to do this is through the unflagging help of our supporters.  Without you the EC Scholarship Program would not be possible. We are incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped us get through our “crunch time” and reach out to students who otherwise might not have had a chance in life.  And in the long run, giving kids a chance to achieve their potential is what really matters. If you would like to make a difference in the life of a student, please click here to learn how to donate to Everyone’s Child.

Greetings from students at Nakuru Teacher's Primary School!!
Greetings from students at Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School!!

As always, from their heart to yours, Asante (Thank you) Sana (so much)!!

TO DO Lists – Preparation the American Way

TO DO Lists:

Packing lists – check.

Travel itinerary – check.

Meeting schedule – check.

Menu for the boys (& dog & fish) – check.

Dr. appointments – check.

“Honey-do” lists – check.

Preparation:

The lists are multiplying.  They tend to appear whenever I go somewhere – whether to the grocery store or across the world, and this time is no exception. I haven’t been to Kenya for some time, so in my excitement I’ve started the preparation process using the American way of thinking – by creating a list for every conceivable thing that needs to be done before, during and even after my trip.

For now my hastily scribbled notes are divided between things to take care of at home and things I hope to accomplish in Kenya, but as my date of departure draws closer the balance will shift.  So much has happened since my last visit, and since I’ll be in the country for less than two weeks there’s a lot of ground to cover.  I expect the Kenyan list to soon be the longest.

At the top of this Kenyan list is visiting with old friends, meeting our new Program Coordinator, and seeing the new preschool classrooms in Lanet for the first time.  Each of these items vies for first place.

Lanet Umoja Preschool 2016
Lanet Umoja Preschool

 

Dedication:

Not long after I arrive, one of the new classrooms will be dedicated to the memory of Heidi (Sr. Eurosia) Keyworth Albanese, who passed away suddenly a year ago this May.  Heidi spent much of her life caring for people of all ages in Vermont’s Mad River Valley.  She is most commonly remembered as a loving mother, a compassionate friend, a creative chef and an imaginative individual. As a member of a lay Franciscan community in Vermont, Heidi was also known as “Sr. Eurosia”. It was in that capacity that she taught French to children in the small Christian school I directed.  She was a friend to many children, and she used to tell me how much she loved the vision of Everyone’s Child. It’s fitting to be dedicating one of our new spaces for children in Kenya to her memory.

Heidi (Sr. Eurosia) Keyworth Albanese
Heidi (Sr. Eurosia) Keyworth Albanese

 

Congregation:

Another aim of this trip is for me to to meet William Aludo, EC’s Program Coordinator in Kenya.  William has been instrumental in carrying out EC’s programs in Kenya for the past year, including the development of a successful secondary school mentorship program that is in its second year of operation at Bishop Donovan Secondary School.  I’ll be traveling to his hometown of Rongo in Migori County, where William plans to introduce me to the students EC is now supporting, thanks to the generosity of many donors in the USA. I also hope to meet his friends and associates who are interested in learning more about EC’s programs in Kenya.

William Aludo
William Aludo – EC’s Kenyan Program Coordinator

I’m also looking forward to meeting and visiting with the orphaned secondary students we are supporting and mentoring this year.  We will be congregating at Bishop Donovan Secondary School where they will receive letters from American students, one more effort on our part to give these students a “leg up” in their journey to adulthood.

William Aludo with 2017 BEDSS Form II orphans
William Aludo with 2017 BEDSS Form II orphans

 

Organization:

There is never enough time to do everything that I like to do in Kenya. I’ll enter the country on “American time” with my lists in hand, but chances are by the time I leave I’ll be on “Kenyan time” – where a cup of tea with friends could turn into a daylong event. For now, I will organize by planning on meeting old friends, making new ones, and seeing the progress of Everyone’s Child in Kenya, something that I will never, ever grow tired of.

That progress is due in large part to the sustained and one-time gifts from people who want to give children a good start in life.

Heidi Keyworth Albanese was one such individual who cared about children in the core of her soul.  Next week her legacy will be remembered once again at a dedication ceremony in a classroom filled with eager faces and curious minds.  I am incredibly grateful to her family and friends who decided that gifts to Everyone’s Child would be a worthy way of memorializing her life.

If you would like to help make a difference in the life of a child, please consider contributing to our programs by clicking here.  Your donation goes toward the education and care of orphaned and vulnerable preschool, primary school and secondary schoolchildren in Kenya.

Appreciation:

All donations are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support. With your help we truly can change a generation through education.

With warmest wishes,

Ruth

Problem vs. Opportunity

The Problem

This year, for the first time in EC’s history we are stepping outside of Nakuru to offer support to secondary students in a different region of this beautiful country.   To say that we’re excited is an understatement.  Last year, William Aludo, EC’s Program Coordinator, or “boots on the ground” as we like to call him, identified several orphaned secondary students struggling to pay their annual school fees in his hometown of Rongo, Migori County.  Finding out that there are students who can’t afford to go to school in your hometown may seem like a problem, but to us it presents an opportunity.

The Opportunity

Synthia Achar and John Odhiambo are two such students.  Both are in Form 2 (sophomore year), and have one living parent.  Both have five siblings between the ages of 1 – 18 living at home, making the idea of saving $250 a year for school fees almost prohibitive.

Synthia Achar

Synthia Achar

Synthia’s mom is a peasant farmer; she has been paying some of her daughter’s fees in kind by taking maize to the school which is then converted into a cash equivalent.

John Odhiambo

John Odhimabo

John’s mother is unwell and unable to earn anything towards his education.  His grandmother has been leasing portions of her piece of land to help pay for some fees.

In both cases it hasn’t been enough.  Synthia and John still have outstanding fees from 2016 and are in danger of losing the chance to remain in school.  These are very real problems that present us with a very real opportunity to respond.

The Solution

Everyone’s Child was established to help disadvantaged children receive an education.  If they are unable to go to school, we raise funds to pay school fees, and provide them with a mentoring program to teach them life skills.  If they are excited to be in school but are fainting in class due to poor nutrition, we provide lunch.  If their only drinking water comes from a muddy river, we partner with organizations to bring in fresh, potable water for the school.  All of these components add up to a sustainable model for receiving an education.

None of this would be possible without the help of the generous people who give annually and monthly to Everyone’s Child.  It’s as simple as that.  Since 1997, people have been making a difference in the lives of hundreds of orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya through Everyone’s Child.  Plain and simple, we couldn’t do it without you.  If you want to learn how you can become a part of the solution, email us at everyoneschildren@gmail.com or visit www.everyoneschild.net.  

Thank you.

The Orphan’s Foot Soldier: Tiring but Worth it

Getting There

As the foot soldier for Everyone’s Child (EC) in Kenya, I always look forward to my monthly trips to Nakuru with joyful expectancy. The journey to Nakuru takes about six hours by public transportation (via matatus and bodaboda traveling on the back of a bicycle) from my home in Migori County. I normally change vehicles twice on the way. The trips are physically tiring, but the satisfaction from serving the orphans makes it all worthwhile.

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William Aludo on the way to Nakuru in a matatu

Serving There

EC is currently providing meals to a total of 350 orphaned students in three schools within Nakuru. The schools are Lanet Umoja Primary School, Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School and the Lord Ranjuera Primary School.

Unlike the first two schools, breakfast and lunch is served at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto throughout the year due to the desolation in this arid region of Kenya.  This meal program is more important than ever for these children as the drought this year has made food scarcity the number one issue in their lives. Here, food supplies get replenished on a monthly basis. My responsibilities include procuring the food supplies and arranging the logistics of getting the same to the school.  I also ensure that the lunch programs at Lanet Umoja Primary School and Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School are being conducted for the orphans in those schools, visiting the students and staff in those schools several times throughout the year as well.

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Picking up the food at Crater Flour Mills in Nakuru

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Eager helpers unloading the truck at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School  in Kampi Ya Moto

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Children receiving their breakfast in Kampi Ya Moto

Being There

At the Bishop Edward Donovan Secondary School (BEDSS) in Lanet Umoja, EC is currently sponsoring 15 orphaned students in Forms 2, 3, and 4 (sophomores, juniors and seniors). During my first visit this year, I made sure that the Term 1 school fees were paid for each of these children so they would be able to enjoy learning without the interruption of being sent home for lack of school fees. The six Form 2 students whose applications were approved for an EC scholarship this year are pictured below. Getting these students to Nakuru town to be measured for new school uniforms is part of my to-do list for next month’s trip.

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Form 2 orphans at Bishop Donovan Secondary School

Mentoring There

I’m excited to be starting the second year of EC’s Mentorship Program for the orphaned juniors and seniors at Bishop Donovan Secondary School. This program is aimed at assisting these students in making good life and career choices. We meet on a monthly basis, holding our second session early this February.

During that meeting, I invited Simon Wanjala to meet and encourage the students in the program. Simon is an alumnus of BEDSS and one of the first beneficiaries of the EC Scholarship program. He lost his parents when he was a young teenager and was left to raise his younger brothers while remaining in school himself.  Despite these challenges his teachers remarked that his attitude was always positive.  After graduating from BEDSS Simon found a job at a nearby primary school helping students who were struggling in class.  Simon understands loss very well and knows firsthand how difficult it is to be a child, an orphan, a student, and the sole bread winner in a family.  He talked about the hardship he experienced as a young adult, telling the students that he never lost his faith in God,  and sharing with them how he continues to experience God’s providence in his life.

Simon Wanjala

Simon Wanjala – former BEDSS student and beneficiary of the EC Student Scholarship Program

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Simon meeting with the BEDSS Mentorship Program students

Blessed There

I am coming up to my one-year anniversary as Program Coordinator for Everyone’s Child in Kenya.  My gratitude and appreciation goes to those who support EC financially, through prayers and otherwise in order to make my monthly trips to Nakuru possible. It is a blessing to be a foot soldier serving these orphaned students. I am always thrilled!

Keep blessed!

William Aludo

PS  If you would like to help the orphans that William sees every month, please consider giving to Everyone’s Child by clicking hereYour gift will be gratefully applied to either the Orphan’s Lunch Program or to the EC Student Scholarship Program and will have an immediate impact on the lives of the orphans we serve in Kenya.  As always, Asante Sana!!  (Thank you very much!!)

Grateful Today

Everybody needs to be grateful.  Gratitude is what fuels us, allows us to go forward, especially in challenging times.  Today I am grateful, and more than that really, because in reality I’m overwhelmed at the many people who have given to the 2016 EC annual appeal.  Today we are just $758 short of our goal of $20,000 for this year.  However, we are already $3,500 ahead of where we were last year, so I have great hope that we will meet our goal.

I used to recoil at messages like the one I just typed, thinking that they were written to guilt people into giving or worse yet, to brag about how well an organization was doing.  I am not interested in doing either of those things here.  Instead I am rejoicing at the generosity of those who have given and continue to give to Everyone’s Child.  I know firsthand that there are many worthy organizations to give to in our world, so anytime someone gives to EC I am grateful and hopeful that they will find as much joy and satisfaction in the giving as I do in being able to pass their donation on to those who will benefit from the gift.  The benefits from this support are measurable and many: they manifest in an orphan lunch program that feeds over 300 orphaned school children in three different primary schools each day; in a school sponsorship program, and in a successful mentoring program for orphaned high school students.

Who are those who benefit?  There are hundreds, but here are a few examples from children who have received something from EC and have written to us to express their gratitude:

“I want to appreciate you for the things that you have given us…I say thank you because we can’t survive without lunch. Learning would have been so difficult to us without eating lunch.”  Joyleen, Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School student

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“The mentorship program has helped me to create friendships with my fellow students…and to know how to choose a career and to know what steps to follow towards that career.  It has helped me to know my gifts and talents and even my personality.”  Anthony, Bishop Donovan Secondary School student

“The mentorship program made me realize my worth and value in this world. It encouraged us to do better in life and even in my studies. – Silvia, Bishop Donovan Secondary School student

 “…through our study about self-esteem I am now able to understand how important I am and I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Samuel, Bishop Donovan Secondary School student

2016 BEDSS EC Sponsored students
2016 BEDSS EC Sponsored students

Moving into 2017, we have become aware of seven more orphans at Bishop Donovan Secondary School in Lanet who are hoping to be sponsored this year.   Our goal is to be able to help them and the eight others we are currently supporting, as well as to continue feeding the 300+ students who rely on us for a daily meal.  The cost of this in 2017 will be $20,000.  We are so close to making this happen.  If you are in a position to help us reach this goal, please  Click here to make a secure online donation, or send your check or money order to Everyone’s Child, 19304 Cole Road, Conneautville, PA 16406.  A one-time contribution makes a difference, and so will your monthly support.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  I am grateful for your help, but not nearly as grateful as the children who benefit from the gift of an education received at your hands.

Many blessings,

Ruth

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My Deep Gladness

Frederick Buechner wrote “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.”  I couldn’t agree more.   To the point where I will probably adopt his saying and add it to my email signature in days to come,  because it strikes a chord in the recesses of my heart.

My deep gladness is most evident around this time of year, due in large part to EC’s Annual Appeal.  You might be inclined to say that I’m happy to be bringing in the funds that support our programs, specifically the lunch program for the orphans and the sponsorship program for the orphaned secondary students.  There is truth to that, but my overarching gladness comes with being able to connect with so many friends and family members whom I rarely see anymore.

Every November I send a letter out to EC supporters, telling them what has happened with the donations they sent throughout the year, and asking them to please consider contributing again so we can continue supporting the 300+ orphans who benefit from the daily school lunch program and the 10 – 15 secondary school students who we sponsor.  I also tell donors about my aspirations for the coming year.  This past November I shared the exciting news of the two new preschool buildings that our donors built in Lanet.  I also wrote about the hope we have of bringing our mentoring program for high school orphaned students into new areas of Kenya with the help of our new Program Coordinator, William Aludo.

The responses have been arriving in my mailbox and via Paypal since the second week of November, usually accompanied by a smiley face, hand-drawn hearts or “xoxo”.  Sometimes people have included a short note with their contribution telling me about their lives and families, and almost always they have something encouraging to say to keep us going.  This year I wanted to share a few of the responses I have received from people who have a heart for what we are doing for the orphans in Kenya.  I’ll use first names (or first letters) to maintain anonymity.

Adam: [My wife] and I would love to support Everyone’s Child!  A cause that will always be close to my heart.

Carole: Keep up your wonderful work!

Alison: You can count on me for a donation prior to year-end.  Thank you for explaining some of the costs as it gives me a better idea of how much I should donate.  I’m so proud of you for spear heading such a great cause.

Cynthia:  I’m planning to give a donation to your passion and am happy to help.  I admire you for dedicating yourself to helping these kids.  It must seem overwhelming at times but heartwarming to see the successes.

Ellie: Wonderful organization Ruth. I know your heart is with these children. My contribution will go out in the next week.

N: It is especially meaningful to me to help out your organization where I know the money goes directly to the kids!!!

Dancing angels

Elizabeth: Keep up the great work for the children.

Catherine: I know it’s not much, but hopefully every bit counts!  (Me: It definitely does!!)

Dave: So happy to support these children who can use our help.

Linda: Yes. I will donate now! Thank you Ruthie!!

Carrie 😉 : Done!

Martha: What great work you do!  Amen and thank you!  We will continue to support what you do, so count on us!

Some people donated in the memory of a loved one.  Here are two such cases:

One of my nieces: Aunt Ruthie, I am so proud to be your niece. The work your organization does is incredible! I opened your letter today and around the holiday season, donating in the name of others to such a wonderful program is a very special gift for everyone involved!

Connie: Heidi was a dynamic, caring person.  As  her friend you must really feel her loss.  Even those who didn’t know her well feel sad and depleted.  She is missed but she lives on in love – and in your work for others.

So there it is, an example of why I have such deep gladness in my heart.  In the past eight years I have found my purpose in the carving of this work, which has been nothing more than an opportunity to express my faith in God and in the seed that is sown in all of us to serve and care for those less fortunate than ourselves.

We are a little over halfway to our goal of $20,000.00 for this year’s Annual Appeal.  The funds we raise help us to continue our orphan lunch program and our secondary school sponsorship program.  Currently it costs $30 per month per student to fund the orphan lunch program which is feeding between 250-300 students a day in three separate locations.  The school sponsorship program costs between $250 – $400 per student per year, depending on the grade they are in.  Next year we expect to be supporting between 8 – 10 students in Nakuru, and hope to be sponsoring additional students in new areas of Kenya as well.  If you would like to donate to Everyone’s Child and help us reach our goal before the end of 2016, please click here.

I pray that you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.  I look forward to talking and serving with all of you again in 2017.

Mary, Joseph & Jesus!