How is already mid November?! 2023 has danced right on by, as years do.
I find myself reflecting (as I do) and wondering if Everyone’s Child has made a difference this year. Have we? Thinking back on all we have accomplished, the answer is a resounding yes. Yes, we have. And it is all because of you.
EC is the conduit for these accomplishments – but YOU, my friend, are the difference.
Young girls and boys in Kenya and India have eaten a hot school lunch every day this year because of you.
Orphaned secondary school students have received an education this year; their old, tattered uniforms and outgrown shoes replaced with those that are crisp and new.
Young ones across the world have felt loved and seen and supported, all because of you.
As we near the end of 2023, we are hoping to raise $40,000 through our Annual Appeal, which will allow EC to continue to grow and impact the lives of children in Kenya and India in 2024.
If you have the means to do so, please consider donating to our cause. We accept donations via PayPal, credit card, personal checks, and Venmo. For more information, please check out the donation page on our website. To donate via Venmo, please scan the QR code below.
Have you heard the news? Miruya Primary School (MPS) in Rongo, Kenya has seen some big changes – and there’s more to come!
Brick by Brick Fundraiser
Thanks to our incredible donors, EC completed our Brick by Brick fundraiser at the end of August, successfully raising the remaining $5,000 needed to build a new classroom at MPS. Building should start within the next few months and we can’t wait to update you about the progress!
So, what else has been happening at MPS? In partnership with the school’s Board of Management, local contractors, and local parents, four of the current classrooms at MPS were painted, tiled, and had glass panes put in the windows. This was truly a collaborative effort by all parties – the windows were even installed pro bono by the contractors who helped tile the classrooms because they believed in the mission of EC and wanted the students at MPS to have safe and dry classrooms. How incredible is that?
The Importance of Partnership
One of EC’s main focuses is to work at the grassroots level in partnership with the local community. Without the knowledge and endorsement of local people, our projects would not exist. It is through constant collaboration and a shared caring for the welfare of the students that we get the job done.
And just like that – in the blink of an eye – my “Kenya girls” have graduated high school.
If you’ve followed EC’s blogs and announcements over the years, you’ve likely heard about Erin Elwell and Arianna ‘Ari’ Clark. I met them when I visited their eighth grade English class to introduce a pen pal letter writing program between Harwood students and students in Kenya. Both jumped at the chance to partner with me on other EC endeavors, which led to the creation of a club called Harwood Students Making Change (HSMC).
Harwood Students Making Change
HSMC, over the last few years, has implemented three fundraisers and raised nearly $15,000 to assist orphaned high school students in Kenya. The girls implemented a crowdsourcing fundraiser in 2019, followed by an online raffle in 2020. In 2022, HSMC led a Walk for Water fundraiser to raise funds for a well at Miruya Primary School. Because of the leadership demonstrated by these young ladies, there are students across Kenya who have been able to continue their high school education and Kenyan students who have been inspired to support their own peers.
It was incredible to attend Ari and Erin’s high school graduation a few weeks ago and watch them walk across the stage. To celebrate their years of involvement and impact, the EC Board of Directors voted to make them Ambassadors of Everyone’s Child, a title and certificate I had the honor of presenting to each of them after they graduated.
While my “Kenya girls” have graduated from Harwood Union High School, I have no doubt that they will continue to make a difference in the lives of others during their college experiences.
Erin and Ari are prime examples of what a lot of heart and never-ending motivation can accomplish. They have been such an inspiration to me over the years. And do you know the craziest part?
This morning’s “spring forward” has me reflecting on a few months ago, when EC’s Executive Director, Ruth and I flew seven hours forward to the land that holds our hearts.
Two other travelers joined us on our journey: Jennifer Solomon, who was returning to the country and people she also loves, and René Idowu, who was visiting Kenya for the first time. After a three-year hiatus, we finally made it back to Kenya. And Kenya greeted us with open arms.
To Rongo We Go
Day one found us tossed into the hubbub of Nairobi. Honking horns and busy footsteps on their way to work guided us as we drove out of the city, past the swirling dust devils in the Great Rift Valley, and toward the red-dirt roads of Rongo in western Kenya.
After a brief twilight stop at Kitere Primary School to glimpse their flourishing student-grown gardens, we journeyed to William Aludo’s house where homemade chapati and much needed ‘catch up’ after so many years were waiting for us. The next morning we returned to William’s house to deposit approximately 75 pounds worth of college-lined notebooks and black-inked pens as supplies for the camps William leads for orphaned secondary school students during their school breaks. (These supplies were donated by students at Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, VT!)
Miruya Primary School
Following a mug of chai, we traveled to Miruya Primary School in the hills of Migori County. We were welcomed by throngs of students who gathered to see us even though our visit happened during their school break. After touring the school and assessing the needs there, the headmaster and some of the local partners treated us to a lunch of local goods – sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and juicy mango – as a thank you for visiting the school. One of the local parents also gifted us with a goat, which is an honor in Kenya.
I named the goat Wilbur, and since he didn’t fit in our vehicle he has now become the chief lawn mower at Miruya Primary School.
From Rongo we made the seven-hour trek east to Nakuru where we met with EC-sponsored students at Bishop Donovan Secondary School in Lanet. Our team encouraged the students to continue their studies and keep persevering.
Living Faith International
Our last day in Kenya brought us back to Nairobi where we visited Living Faith International, a nonprofit organization which sponsors orphaned students so that they may continue their studies. This visit stood out for me as I was reunited with Martin Hallelujah, a 16-year-old EC-sponsored student whom we met during our 2019 trip to Kenya. As one of Living Faith’s newly sponsored students, Martin’s happiness could not be contained. He proudly showed me around the grounds and thanked us for everything EC has been able to do for him over the years. He asked me to say hello and send his thanks to all of you as well, dear readers and supporters.
Although this was a short trip, we returned home with inspiration and a renewed devotion for the mission of Everyone’s Child: to help orphaned children and vulnerable communities in Kenya.
As always, Kenya gifted us with welcome, warmth, and a wonderful sense of a home away from home. EC’s work is anything but finished, so stick with us, there’s more to come.
Greetings from my Thanksgiving table to yours. I hope this note finds you warm and surrounded by those who bring you joy.
<< Looking back
This time of year is the season for reflection; for looking back on the past year to reflect on the experiences that have led to growth and progress. Here at EC, we have so much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the children whose lives we have been able to touch – and whose hearts have stolen ours. We are thankful for our many incredible supporters and donors who believe in EC’s mission to help the children of the world.
Looking forward >>
As we look back on this year, we also look forward to the coming year.
As we near the end of 2022, we are hoping to raise $35,000 through our Annual Appeal, which will allow EC to continue to grow and impact the lives of children in Kenya and India in 2023. It is through the donations of supporters that EC is able to do what we do. This holiday season, please consider giving to our Annual Appeal. Because of compassionate contributors just like you, we have already raised over one-third of the funds. Can you help us reach our goal?
If you have the means to do so, please consider donating to our cause. We accept donations via PayPal, credit card, and personal checks. For more information, please check out the donation page on our website. Additionally, EC is now able to accept donations via Venmo!
P.S. We’re excited to announce that after a three-year hiatus, EC’s Executive Director, Ruth Young, and I will be flying to Kenya in January 2023! We plan to meet with EC Kenya’s Board of Directors and several EC sponsored students. Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming trip!
The war in Ukraine has sparked a worldwide call to action. Thousands of people have answered the call.
Andrii Morohov is one of those people.
Armed with the lifelong mantra that children must always come first, Kharkiv-native Andrii founded the NGO Blagovist 2013 (meaning Good News in English) in 2013 to aid and support orphans as well as children from low-income families in and around the city of Kharkiv. Now, Andrii has focused his nonprofit’s efforts on helping children who have been impacted by the chaos of war. From children hiding in subway stations from bombs to young families who have had to leave everything behind and flee, Blagovist 2013 has been providing humanitarian aid and essentials to as many people as they can, including everything from diapers, clothing, and basic food items to sketchbooks, pencils and paint for children.
As Everyone’s Child continues to fundraise for Ukraine, we have been in awe of the work Andrii’s NGO has done and continues to do for the children of Ukraine. It is for this reason that we have selected his NGO as the beneficiary for all of the funds raised through EC’sCaring for the Children of Ukraine fundraiser.
With these funds, Blagovist 2013 will be able to support the following communities: 1) the children and families of the recently liberated Vilkhivsky community who have spent months living under occupation in basements; and 2) a large group of internally displaced people with young children who now live in the Valkovsky community in the Kharkiv region.
There is exciting news to share! Everyone’s Child has a new opportunity for the year ahead. But first, here is an update on what our supporters have accomplished in 2019.
Kenya: School Lunches and Sponsorships
The Orphan Feeding Program offered daily meals to600 orphaned children at five different primary schools in Kenya. Everyone’s Child now partners with several Kenyan school administrations to bear the cost of this project, a major first step in developing self-sustaining programs. Our average monthly cost for this program is $1,200, totaling over $14,000 annually.
EC’s Sponsorship Program supported 30 orphans in preschool and high school. This summer three middle school students from Vermont raised over $2,000to help orphaned high school students with their school fees. Our goal for this coming year is to sponsor at least 10 preschoolers and 30 secondary students, for an annual cost of $6,000.
Sweaters for India
In northern rural India earlier this year, temperatures dipped into the low 60’s. EC supporters provided sweaters to over 200 needy children living in Orissa, offering relief during the cold snap. In southern India, donations helped to pay school fees for five impoverished orphans. The total cost of both efforts was $2,500.
Opportunity in Western Kenya
This past September I traveled to Kenya to visit with students, teachers and administrators at each of the schools where Everyone’s Child provides support. One of the schools we visited was the Miruya Primary School, located in a poor rural area in western Kenya.
The needs there are numerous, including the continued provision of daily meals, a security fence, leveling the schoolyard, and a new classroom. Enrollment is expected to increase in the coming years, so additional classrooms will also need to be built. Thankfully this summer’s Matching Challenge raised $10,000 to build a classroom! The cost of the remaining projects there could well exceed $20,000.
EC’s Board of Directors and I are very excited about the new opportunity that lies ahead for us to help the children at this school, with an eye toward building a successful partnership and eventual self-sustainability.
Everyone’s Child Now
Everyone’s Child now reaches over 800 orphaned and vulnerable children globally, providing education, meals, potable water, clothing and connections to those in need. None of this would be possible without your prayers, involvement and financial contributions.
Our goal for this year’s Annual Appeal is to raise $32,500, enabling us to sustain and grow our current programs.
During this season of giving, I am writing to ask you to please work alongside us as we encourage the orphans and vulnerable children who are counting on us for their education and their future.
Donations can be made online by clicking here or by sending a check to EC’s new mailing address: P.O. Box 522, Linesville, PA 16424. All contributions are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support.
In the words of one of EC’s sponsored students, “No matter where you come from, someone somewhere is thinking of you.” On behalf of these students, our deepest thanks to everyone who is thinking of these children. With your help we will continue changing a generation through education.
I believe that one of the best gifts we can leave our children is to teach them the “art of giving”, something that many of our supporters do every time they give.
The Art of Giving
During my years as an early childhood educator I looked for opportunities to teach children how to give. Like many preschool and elementary teachers of today, I tried to instill the concept of “otherness” in them – helping them to see how their actions affected others in their immediate world. I also introduced them to other cultures and places around the globe, letting them know about some of the challenges facing children in developing nations. There were positive impacts when parents and families supported these ideas and discussed them at home.
I saw the effects of this home-school connection before I left teaching in 2015 to become a full-time executive director of Everyone’s Child. Several years ago, Emily and Erica Dow, two sisters who had been my students decided to do a fundraiser for EC in their home. They asked me to come and talk about EC to whoever might show up, then invited their entire family and spent the day baking cookies and cakes for the event. It was a small gathering, maybe 8 – 10 people in all, but their enthusiasm was so infectious that they raised more than anyone had expected them to that evening. More important than the funds raised though was the fact that these girls were involved in learning the art of giving, a concept I knew their parents both strongly supported. Their mom even came to Kenya on an EC School Tour seven years later!
Many of the children I taught have stayed in touch with me over the years, and I’ve even had the privilege of traveling to Kenya with former students. Earlier this week I received a letter with a donation from two brothers who were prior preschool students of mine. The younger one—now a 3rd grader—wrote the letter. I checked with their mom, who told me it was fine to share their note and their photos online, so I’ve attached these below:
(And now for) The Translation
Dear Sr. Routh (sic) Michael and I, (Connor) are donating $57.27 to you and your orfanige (sic). This is some of Michael and mines leftover money that we each bought something with. We wanted to ask you if you had any technoligy (sic) needs. Please write back.
Sincerely, Connor and Michael
Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed and so proud of them for this unsolicited gift. I was also once more convinced that a child’s heart knows how to give.
The Heart of Giving
A giving heart begins in the home. These boys belong to a family that serves in our military, so they are familiar with the meaning of sacrifice and helping others. I would say it shows, and in spades!
It’s Better to Give
During my childhood, my mom was forever tossing out wise sayings, one of her favorites being “It’s better to give than to receive”. She was right, of course, and for our family of seven that was an important concept to grasp. As a child it took me a while to learn that I always felt more alive when I gave. Today I am so grateful to those who taught me that as the giver, I wind up receiving the greater gift.
I know that those who support EC understand the art of giving, something for which I am deeply grateful. I want to thank each of you for your constant support, and for sharing with those who are following in your footsteps the importance of learning how to give. If you would like to join forces with those who contribute to Everyone’s Child on an annual, monthly or one-time basis, please click here to make a secure donation. I promise you that the benefits you will reap from having a giving heart will far surpass the challenges you face each day.
We have seen some great beginnings for EC in 2019! Our 2018 Annual Appeal more than doubled from last year’s appeal, making us wonder what could be in store for the months ahead. It didn’t take long to find out. Early in January we received a request from Pastor Kishor Senepati, one of our contacts in northern India. He and his wife Mary were asking for help with the children of Orissa, where we provided funds for a well last year.
Although it is in northern India, Orissa is a tropical region, lying just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Temperatures in that region typically range between 80 – 110 degrees F, so even 60 F feels cold. This past month, nighttime temperatures in Orissa have been as low as 40 F, which is much colder than usual. We were told that the children in the village didn’t own any warm clothing, and they were beginning to get sick. Thanks to our generous supporters, in mid January we were able to wire funds for over 200 sweaters for these children. EC also teamed up with Juniper’s Fare Catering of Waterbury, VT to provide funds for a meal. Having something warm to wear is a good reason to celebrate!
A Change of Heart
Witnessing a change of heart is a reason to celebrate also. Two weeks after wiring the funds we discovered that the money had not yet been received in India. This meant that the children still didn’t have their much needed sweaters. Pastor Kishor told me that shop owners don’t usually let their goods out on credit. I believe in the power of prayer, and immediately began to pray for a change in this shopkeeper’s heart. A day later, I received a text telling me that this man had agreed to allow the sweaters to be purchased on credit! Now my prayer is that he and his business will be greatly blessed.
Making Life Easier
In the coming year EC will continue to feed and provide education for orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya. We are also excited to be branching out into new areas. It is a blessing to make life easier for vulnerable children, no matter where they live.
To our faithful donors, we want to thank you for these great beginnings. Your partnership makes this work possible. If you would like to begin this new year by joining us in our efforts, please click here to make a secure donation today. Or feel free to contact us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!
Everyone’s Child has some exciting developments to report! First, very early on Saturday morning, September 8th, I was honored to join (via Skype) a meeting of the first official EC Kenya Board of Directors. Men and women from different tribes and different parts of Kenya participated in this historic meeting. Their group is made up of a school principal, a school counselor, a nutritionist, an accountant, teachers, an urban planner, and other highly qualified professionals. However, their best common qualification is that they are all committed to making a difference in the lives of Kenyan children who have the greatest needs.
The meeting took place at William Aludo‘s home in Rongo, which is in western Kenya. Four Board members are from Rongo, and three Board members live in Nakuru, a six hour trip from eastern Kenya. I was grateful for a good connection and clear reception, despite the sudden rainfall that drowned out the conversation for a while. EC USA is looking forward to working with this stellar group of people!
The second of these exciting developments is that Kateri’s Kitchen is 99 % of the way finished! Many of you contributed to get this project off the ground. The chimney and a cookstove are the final pieces that need to be put in place before the building is officially declared open for use. Altogether we need an additional $300 to finish the job. The cost of a cookstove (a.k.a. “jiko”) is $50.00. The cost to build the chimney is $250.00. Please click here if you would like to help see this project through to the end. Once it is finished, Kateri’s plaque will go up. But best of all, the children will be fed from a sound building, showing them that there are people who care and want the best for them.
As always, Asante Sana (thank you very much) for supporting Everyone’s Child. Your efforts truly are helping to change a generation through education.