Category Archives: primary schools

An Encouraging Message

Early yesterday morning I opened my email to find an encouraging message from James Maina, the Head Teacher (Principal) at Bishop Donovan Secondary School in Lanet Umoja, outside of Nakuru, Kenya. Today I want to share that message with our readers.

The Current Climate

The current climate in Kenya is similar to that of other developing nations. The government has responded to the coronavirus in much the same way that governments have all around the world. Schools were closed in mid-March, and non-essential businesses were shuttered not long afterward. People are told to adhere to the rules of the lockdown or risk receiving a beating from local police forces. Street vendors who rely on customers purchasing fruits and vegetables have been forcibly made to stop selling produce. Open markets have also been closed, leaving millions without access to food for themselves and their families. In a country of over 50 million people, there have been 216 cases of COVID-19, with 9 deaths and 41 recoveries to date.

Bags of Food

Everyone’s Child has been doing all we can to provide food to orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya during this global pandemic. The response from our donors has been tremendous. Over the past several weeks people have sent donations and prayers for those who are struggling to find food as a result of all the shutdowns. Last week we learned that the administrators in each of the five schools where we support students had made plans to work with their local governments to distribute food to these children.

An Encouraging Message: students lining up to receive food at Bishop Donovan Secondary School
Orphaned students lining up to receive food at Bishop Donovan Secondary School

An Encouraging Message

As I stated above, I received an encouraging message in my inbox yesterday. Here is a snapshot of what it said:

“Greetings Sister Ruth. We are grateful to God that we have continued receiving his Grace and Mercy despite the havoc that has been caused by Covid-19 across the world.
We are delighted to report to you that today 13/04/2020 (Easter Monday) at 2.00 pm we have managed to distribute foodstuff to our orphans, courtesy of Everyone’s Child.

The students were very happy for the hand of Mercy and really blessed you and Everyone’s Child at large.”

Yours sincerely,
James Maina Ng’ang’a

An Encouraging Message: Sebastian Maina pouring maize into a child's bag
Head Teacher Sebastian Maina pouring maize into a child’s bag at Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School

The last sentence in Mr. Maina’s letter touch something deep inside of me. I’ve gotten to know many of these students over the years. Stories of their hardships have made an indelible mark on my conscience, reminding me to be grateful for what I have and to do whatever I can to alleviate their suffering. I am so thankful to see that our plans in this latest endeavor have proven effective!

Additional Schools

William Aludo, EC’s Kenyan Program Coordinator, has continued to send me photos this week. These newest ones are pictures of students at the Nakuru Teacher’s and Kitere Primary Schools receiving bags of food. Needless to say, seeing these makes my heart soar!

a girl holding a red bag full of food
Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School student holding two bags full of food
students from Kitere Primary School receiving food bags
Orphaned and vulnerable students from Kitere Primary School in Rongo receiving bags of food

Your Part

Everyone’s Child has been serving the needs of orphans and vulnerable children since 2010. We are able to do this primarily because of the tremendous support we receive from people like you who want to help. While education is our primary vision, we have always recognized the importance of good nutrition as a critical component for learning.

These students need our assistance, now more than ever. If you would like to contribute to our efforts, please click here to make a secure online donation. By doing your part, these children will continue to receive what they need to get them through this crisis.

An encouraging message - two students receiving food at Nakuru Teacher's Primary School
Two students receiving food at Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School

As always, asante sana (deep thanks) for your encouragement and support. It means everything.

Blessings,

Ruth

The Situation in Kenya

The Situation in Kenya

This past week I learned about the situation in Kenya from William Aludo, EC’s Program Coordinator. He gave a sobering account of schools being closed, people being out of work, and markets being shut down. At this writing there have been 122 cases of COVID-19 in Kenya.

In Nakuru, William learned that while some people have vegetables in their gardens, many still rely on their local markets.  The situation is becoming dire for many families.

Kampi Ya Moto

Normally, schools in Kenya are closed during the months of April, August and December.  However, Everyone’s Child has always continued to feed students at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto even when school isn’t in session as food insecurity is a major issue in that region.  

Last week William spoke with Mrs. Chesire, the Head Teacher (Principal) at that school to see if it would be possible to continue feeding the students there during this epidemic.  She told him that the government was not allowing anyone to return to the school, so feeding the children would not be possible.  This was bad news, since these children rely on meals they receive from EC during the months that schools are closed.

The Situation in Kenya: children receiving bags of food in Kampi Ya Moto
Children receiving bags of food in Kampi Ya Moto

A Blessing

But then, a few days ago William sent me photos of children in Kampi Ya Moto receiving bags of food!   Mrs. Chesire and Sarah (the cook) had managed to hand out 81 bags of dried maize, beans, maize flour and porridge flour to students.  They plan to repeat this in two weeks as well.   Needless to say, it was such a blessing to know that these children wouldn’t go hungry.

Whatever is Necessary

Everyone’s Child is in a position to help students in need during this pandemic. The situation in Kenya has propelled us to act quickly to alleviate suffering of the children in our care. This past week, the EC Board of Directors gave William the go ahead to connect with school administrators in each of the five schools where we currently feed close to 600 children. Our goal is to do whatever is necessary to provide food to students in need. These administrators will be working with their local governments to ensure that provisions will be distributed to these children and their families.

The Situation in Kenya groups of Children practicing social distancing in Kampi Ya Moto
Children practicing social distancing in Kampi Ya Moto

Your Continued Support

We understand that the impact of the coronavirus will likely lead to a spike in the number of people needing help. As I stated above, EC’s goal is to do whatever is necessary to provide food to students in need. That is why I am reaching out to you today to ask for your continued financial and prayer support for our programs, and specifically for EC’s Orphan Feeding Program.

Change Brings Opportunity

So much has changed. But change also brings opportunity. We are looking for every way possible to continue helping the children enrolled in our programs, while keeping the door open for meeting an even greater need.

I want to thank those who have already reached out to see how they can help make a difference. If you are in a position to help financially, please click here to make a secure online donation. You can also send a check to Everyone’e Child P.O. Box 563, Linesville, PA 16424.

An Added Bonus

For those who can give financially, there is an added bonus to consider. On Friday, March 27th, the US Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A provision of that bill makes it possible for American taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions when filing with the IRS, to deduct from their AGI up to $300 in cash contributions to qualifying organizations. For those who do itemize, they will be able to deduct 100% of their donations in this tax year.

As always, asante sana (deep thanks),

Ruth

Report from Kenya

Dear friends and trusted supporters,

For the past several weeks, I have been following the news in order to provide our supporters with a report from Kenya. At this writing there have been seven cases of the virus discovered in their country. So far none of these cases have been reported in rural areas. As the link above points out, when and if this occurs, the results could be devastating for millions of people in Kenya.

I have been in touch with William Aludo, EC’s Kenyan Program Coordinator, who has confirmed that all schools and universities have closed and all students have been sent home. While this may be good news in terms slowing the spread of the coronavirus, it also presents a challenge for the students who rely on a daily meal through EC’s Orphan Feeding Program.

Everyone’s Child is currently working with our Kenyan colleagues to develop a plan to safely distribute food to children who will be negatively affected by the nationwide school shutdown. I will do my best to update you on their efforts as they unfold. Our goal is to ensure that the most vulnerable children will receive some form of nutrition on a regular basis. If you have questions or thoughts about this please feel free to contact me at everyoneschildren@gmail.com.

Above all, I solicit your prayers and continued assistance as we work through this global challenge. Your concern and support for Everyone’s Child is valued and welcome.

Blessings always,

Ruth

The Promise of an Education

For those of us living in the developed world, the promise of an education is something we own. We can bank on it. In fact, very few of us ever consider what it would be like not to have access to primary or secondary (high school) education.

The Promise of an education: young Kenyan girl on a swing
Faith on a swing

Opportunities to Learn

When I think about my years as an elementary school student, I remember jump rope games and skinned knees. I remember circling pictures in a row that matched pictures in the left column. Learning how to write my name in cursive was another milestone. My high school memories include learning about Argentina in a 9th grade Current Events class and the smell of formaldehyde in Biology. I remember parallelograms in Geometry and left hand turns in Driver’s Ed. There were so many opportunities to learn.

However, for many children and families living in Africa, the promise of an education is not guaranteed.

The Statistics

Last January, an article in the Africa Report stated: “[a]ccording to UNESCO, in sub-Saharan Africa one-fifth of children between six and 11 are out of school, one-third between 12 and 14, and 60% between 15 and 17. Though the reasons are various, ranging from conflict to corruption to lack of provision, poverty is now identified as an overwhelming factor.”

Today, free primary school education is legally guaranteed in 42 of 54 African nations*. Primary education was made free to all Kenyan students in 2003, and in 2017 the Kenyan government introduced free secondary education. A catalyst for free schooling in Kenya began with the dedication of organizations like EC who are committed to making education available to Kenyan children.

The Cost of an Education

For both primary and secondary school, Kenyan parents are still required to pay for school lunch programs and uniforms, a cost that puts a financial strain on many families. For children without parents, the promise of an education becomes even more elusive. Children who have been orphaned are usually taken care of by family members who often can’t afford additional costs. The hope they once had becomes uncertain, and their potential for a successful future is at risk.

The Promise of an education: Providing scholarships for students like this one sitting against a tire
Losing a parent causes many challenges for young students

Lunch programs typically cost $12 a month per student, and school uniforms cost about $60 annually. These amounts certainly seem affordable, especially for those who are used to paying high fees for children’s programs.  But for families who are subsisting on less than $25 per month, these costs can be prohibitive.  Sadly, Kenyan students who don’t have lunch money or a proper uniform are suspended from school. Furthermore, preschool in Kenya is not free, and many families wind up paying 20% of their annual income to cover this expense.

The Promise of An Education

In 2010, Everyone’s Child was established to provide an education for Kenyan children who had lost their parents. Since then, thousands of children have received an education, thanks to the generosity of donors who understand their plight. What this has done for them is immeasurable. It has given them a future full of hope.

Everyone's Child secondary sponsorship students
EC sponsored students from Bishop Donovan Secondary School

Today, over 600 orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya are supported by EC.  These students range between the ages of 3 and 18. All are either orphaned or belong to families that are unable to afford school fees.  

Ways of Contributing

The good news is that we have found a way to help these students. EC’s sponsorship program pays school fees for orphaned and vulnerable secondary students based on donations we receive. The Orphan Feeding Program is sustained by people committed to making sure that orphaned primary students receive a daily meal while they are in school.

Many EC donors choose to give on an ongoing or monthly basis. A continuing contribution makes it possible for many children to enjoy their education without the stress of being sent home for lack of lunch money or improper attire.

If you would like to become a monthly supporter of EC, please click on this link and select the second “Donate” option. One time donations are also welcome and a vital part of maintaining EC’s sponsorship program.

The promise of an education: orphaned preschoolers in Kenya
Orphaned preschoolers at Lanet Umoja Preschool

Looking Ahead

As I look ahead to the rest of 2020, I am anticipating a year of fulfilled dreams and expectations for children who have lost hope.  I am also looking forward to working alongside people who have a heart for children who want to be educated but lack the resources for that opportunity.

Thank you so much for joining us in this effort of giving every child the promise of an education.   

Blessings,

Ruth

What you do to the least of them, you do to me. Matthew 25:40

*At the writing of this blog, I was unable to find statistics comparing African countries that do and don’t provide free secondary education.

Everyone’s Child Now

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 to 600 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.

The Lord has something to say to us about feeding children at Miruya Primary School
Lunchtime at Miruya Primary School

EC’s Sponsorship Program supported 30 orphans in preschool and high school.  This summer three middle school students from Vermont raised over $2,000 to 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.

Everyone's Child Now secondary sponsorship students
EC sponsored students from Bishop Donovan Secondary School

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.

Everyone's Child Now in India: children receiving a new sweater in India
New sweaters for children in India

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. 

Everyone's Child students sitting at desks outside at Miruya Primary School
Miruya Primary School students sitting at their desks in the school yard

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.

Everyone's Child Now: primary students in Kampi ya Moto
Children at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi ya Moto, Kenya

Our Goal

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 563, Linesville, PA 16424. All contributions are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support.

The Lord has something to say: smiling children at Miruya Primary school
Kindergarteners and their teacher at Miruya Primary School

Asante Sana

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. 

Warmest wishes for a peaceful holiday season,

Ruth

Three ideas, Two months, and One student

If you’ve had a chance to read EC’s September blog, you may remember reading about the “value added moment,” when a student named Gordon said that he wanted to raise funds to help orphans go to school.  His enthusiasm was contagious – other students in the room that night said that they also wanted to find a way to raise funds for peers who struggle to pay their school fees. They had all been encouraged by the three girls at Harwood Union High School in Vermont who had raised funds for EC during their summer vacation.

value added mentorship students with Tracy & Ruth in Rongo
Mentorship campers with Tracy & Ruth in Rongo. Gordon is third from the left.

Three ideas, two months, and one student

William Aludo, EC’s Program Coordinator in Kenya, recently held a brainstorming session with these students, asking them to lay out their ideas for raising funds. They came up with what I call a “3,2,1 plan”. Their proposal involved three ideas, two months and one student. Their three ideas were to sell milk and hardboiled eggs, make and sell homemade potato chips (a.k.a. french fries), and open a barber shop. They challenged themselves with spending the next two months raising funds. Their goal is to raise enough money to send one orphaned secondary student to school in 2020.

Three ideas, two months, and one student: Three Kenyan girls prepare potatoes to make french fries
Elizabeth, Josephine and Judith prepping the potatoes

A lofty goal

This is a lofty goal for students who haven’t yet joined the work force, don’t receive a monthly allowance, or haven’t got a savings account to dip into. But I believe those blocks won’t deter them from reaching their objective. During the first weekend of November they began peeling and cooking potatoes, and by the day’s end had already begin to make sales! In an age where “peer to peer fundraising” is all the rage, these students are putting this concept to work!

Three ideas, two months, and one student. A Kenyan girl named Josephine puts french fries in a bag to sell
Josephine selling chips (french fries) to a customer

Their passion

During this season of giving and gratitude, my hope is that the passion these students have for helping their peers will encourage others to want to give. If you want to support an orphaned student next year, please click here to make a secure donation. Your gift will help a child go to school, and will also encourage these students who are trying to make a difference!

Asante sana! (Great thanks!)