Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meeting the Challenge

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, however, the photo below is worth $5,000! Not long after extending EC’s First Annual Matching Challenge, our fabulous donors came through – meeting the challenge that EC’s Board of Directors presented us with last month! This means that soon there will be a new classroom for students at the Miruya Primary School!

Matching the Challenge for EC
EC’s First Annual Matching Challenge goal has been reached!

Overcrowding

As any elementary school teacher knows, an overflowing classroom means that students and teachers lose the opportunity to connect. In an online article titled “Classroom Overcrowding: It’s Not Just a Numbers Game”, Laura Preble explores the effects of overcrowding in schools. Her research points out that “…overcrowding is seen as the root cause for failed schools as well as teacher dissatisfaction.”

My sense is that happy students are usually found in classrooms where there are happy teachers. We all knows what it feels like to be overwhelmed. There is a tipping point when too many children in one space can cause even the most patient, seasoned teacher to feel inundated. When this happens, children, staff and families suffer.

The Plan

The plan is to build a new classroom at Miruya Primary School where overcrowding has become an issue for students and teachers alike. William Aludo, EC’s Kenyan Program Coordinator, recently shared photos of children at the school with me. It’s easy to see that the classrooms are filled beyond capacity, but not for long! Plans for building a new classroom there are underway. Prayerfully the children will be comfortably sitting in their new space by January 2020.

Matching the Challenge - an overcrowded classroom at Miruya Primary School
An overcrowded classroom at Miruya Primary School

Thank You!

A HUGE Thank You is in order for everyone who contributed, meeting the challenge to get us to $10,000 – the cost of building a new classroom in rural Kenya.

If you still want to give, it’s not too late! Please visit our website to make a secure online donation anytime, or see how and where to send us a check. And as always, asante sana (thank you very much) for your awesome support!

Many blessings always,

Ruth

PS

I’m super excited to announce that next month I’ll be meeting these students and their teachers when I visit Rongo! I’ll be posting my monthly blog from the beautiful country of Kenya, so stay tuned!

EC’s Matching challenge

This month’s blog presents a matching challenge to our readers. EC’s Board of Directors is launching a 30-day Matching Challenge for the purpose of building a much needed classroom at the Miruya Primary School (pronounced Me-ru-ya) in Rongo, Kenya.

matching challenge for the Miruya Primary School
Miruya Primary School

No Teachers, Books or Learning

When William Aludo, EC’s Kenyan Program Coordinator discovered the school three years ago, he found 25 children sitting on a dirt floor, playing games to pass the time. There were no teachers, desks or books. Classrooms were unfinished. Worst of all, no learning was taking place. The government had started building the school but had run out of funds, so parents and guardians scrambled to hire untrained caregivers to stay with their children each day. Payment was iffy, so there were times that these helpers didn’t even show up.

Matching Challenge Children playing outside with their teacher at Miruya Primary School in Kenya
A circle game with students and a caregiver at Miruya Primary School

A Thriving School

Today the school is thriving. With the help of a generous grant from CBN’s Orphan’s Promise, teachers have been hired, a kitchen has been built, and the laughter and singing of 129 children can be heard inside and outside the walls of this humble compound. Many of these students are orphaned, most live in poverty. The exciting news is that all of them are learning!

challenge of being in class without a uniform - children fitting in with their classmates
Standard 2 students at Miruya Primary School

The Need

From 25 to 129 students, it’s clear that the school is growing, and more classrooms are needed. Start to finish, each classroom will cost $10,000 to build. Our goal is to begin building a classroom by the end of 2019. This new classroom will cut down on overcrowding and will open the doorway to greater opportunities for learning.

Teacher manuals for Miruya Primary School

The Challenge

In response to this need, between July 7th – August 5th, the first $5,000 in new donations will be matched by personal contributions from EC’s Board of Directors. If you are in a position to help build this classroom, please click this link to make a secure online donation. Or send your check/money order to Everyone’s Child, P.O. Box 563, Linesville, PA 16424.

one happy kid!

As always ~ Asante sana!! Thank you for your support!!

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye can often be difficult, and this past week has been no exception.

Passing on

Early in the morning of June 8th, our dear friend and former EC Board member Sr. Kateri (Dyan) Walker passed from this life into an eternity with her beloved Lord.

Serving

Sr. Kateri served on the EC Board from our beginnings in 2009 until September 2015 and was a champion of the Orphan Feeding Program, bringing it to where it is today – feeding over 500 children per day at five primary schools, two preschools and several secondary schools in eastern and western Kenya.

saying goodbye to the one who started a feeding program for these orphaned children
orphaned children lining up for their daily meal

Praying

Sr. Kateri dedicated her life to prayer and was EC’s designated prayer warrior.  Her love and prayers for children in general, but especially for the orphans in Kenya has had a tremendous impact on all of our programs over the years.

Kateri’s Kitchen

Last June we were blessed to dedicate the new kitchen at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto to her honor, naming it “Kateri’s Kitchen”.   The July 2018 blog describes her life and the influence she has had on the children we serve.  Shortly before she passed, she learned that we will be dedicating a new kitchen at the Miruya Primary School in Kenya to her name as well.  As part of her legacy, Everyone’s Child will continue to dedicate to her memory future kitchens that provide meals for orphans.

saying goodbye to Sr. Kateri
Sr. Kateri with her plaque

Saying Goodbye

As I wrote above, even in the best circumstances, saying goodbye is difficult.  Sr. Kateri will be greatly missed by those who knew her, loved her, and had the privilege of serving with her.  A memorial service will be held for her at her church in Moretown, VT this Friday.
More information can be found in her obituary: https://www.perkinsparker.com/obituary/dyan-walker.
Kwaheri Kateri, we will miss you.
Blessings,
Ruth

A Handwritten Letter

When was the last time any of us received a handwritten letter?    Nowadays people almost never take the time to write a letter or note.  It’s so much easier to send a quick text or email.

The Activity

This past month William Aludo held a mentorship camp for students from his hometown of Rongo in western Kenya.  One of their activities was to compose a handwritten letter to send to students at Harwood Union Middle School in Duxbury, VT, rebooting our Messages of Mercy Writing Program between students in the USA and Kenya.

A Handwritten Letter: April 2019 Mentorship Camp (William Aludo in the middle)
April 2019 Mentorship Camp (William Aludo in the middle)

The students who wrote these letters come from varied backgrounds, but they hold a few things in common.

All of them speak at least three languages: English, Kiswahili and their native tongue.  They enjoy football (soccer), basketball, politics, acting and singing.  Several of these students have lost if not both, then at least one parent, and almost all of them have faced the challenge of coming up with sufficient funds for school. Each one of them have dreams and ambitions far exceeding those I had at age 14 or 15.  Some have large families that include cousins who have lost their parents and have nowhere else to go.  Many say they want to help others who are in need by building health centers, feeding the hungry and helping people who have less than themselves.

Joyce - another Mentorship camper who sent a handwritten letter
Joyce – a Mentorship camper who sent a letter.  She enjoys acting, playing basketball & singing.

William scanned their letters and photos to me, and this week Tracy Guion, EC’s new Messages of Mercy coordinator brought the letters and photos to students at Harwood to introduce them to friends on the other side of the world.  William even wrote one to Ms. Jacki McCarty, the classroom teacher!

Tracy Guion a handwritten letter Messages of Mercy coordinator
Tracy Guion – Messages of Mercy Coordinator

The Update

Tracy called to give me a quick update after the presentation was over.  She said she had put all the scanned letters from Kenya into envelopes and printed photos of the students who wrote them.  When the Harwood students began to open their letters, the anticipation in the room went from excitement to engagement.

a handwritten letter - two Harwood Union middle schoolers reading letters from their pen pals in Kenya
Harwood Union middle schoolers reading letters from their pen pals in Kenya

One of the letters opened was from a 14 year old boy named Martin, the youngest in a family of five. Both of his parents are gone.  His hobby is fixing electrical equipment and he says that he wants to become “one of the greatest electrical engineers in the world”.  He can speak and understand three languages and is learning a fourth. Martin knows that his career choice needs creativity and perseverance.

Martin - one of the students who sent a handwritten letter
Martin – one of the students who sent a handwritten letter

Martin's handwritten letter page 1
Page 1 of Martin’s letter

Martin's handwritten letter page 2
Martin’s letter page 2

The Impact

Tracy walked around the room, asking students what they learned about their pen pals.  She heard comments like: “Wow, this is beautiful handwriting!”; and “She loves novels, I already love this girl”; to “He speaks three languages!”; and “She loves to sing and dance, which are my my favorite things too”.   By the time she left the students had already started to write their replies.

students at Harwood Union Middle School reading their handwritten letters from Kenya
students at Harwood Union Middle School reading their letters from Kenya

Tracy spent a year teaching in Thailand, so true to her profession, she has given them until this Friday to respond, and hopefully sometime next week we will be able to scan their replies to Kenya.
I’m pretty excited to get this program off the ground again.  I’m also very glad to have found someone who loves to see connections happen!

a handwritten letter - Lavender Achieng - a Mentorship camp student who wrote a letter to a student at Harwood
Lavender Achieng – a Mentorship camp student who wrote a letter to a student at Harwood

Tracy contacted me again at the end of this week to tell me that the Ms. McCarty at Harwood Union held parent conferences this week.  All of the parents were supportive and grateful that their children could participate in this work, and kept thanking her over and over for the opportunity.      

reading a handwritten letter
reading a handwritten letter

If you would like your young adult to write a letter to a student in Kenya, click here and let us know and we’ll help you get connected.  Friendships like this can last a lifetime.
Blessings,
Ruth

 

 

 

Providing Scholarships

Supporters of Everyone’s Child

have been providing scholarships in Kenya for orphaned high school students since 2012.  On average, 14 students per year have had an opportunity to receive an education through EC’s Student Scholarship Program.

Common Denominator

These students come from a variety of backgrounds, but the common denominator for all of them is that they have lost either one or both parents.  The reasons for their losses vary.  “According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2016, the top leading causes of death were pneumonia, followed by malaria, cancer, HIV/AIDS, anemia, heart disease and lastly tuberculosis in that order…”  Road accidents are another more sudden and unanticipated cause of death in Kenya.

Providing scholarships for children who have lost one or both parents, such as this lone child by a post
Children who lose a parent face many challenges

No matter how it happens, the impact is universally the same for everyone coping with the loss of a parent.  For adults, there is often great sorrow, confusion and a feeling of powerlessness.  Children who lose one or both parents experience those same feelings. They are also forced to confront challenges that they are usually unprepared to face, mostly dealing with basic survival and completing their education.

The Cost of Education

In Kenya, most orphans are placed in the care of family members who often lack the resources to help them complete their education.  Orphaned children are frequently sent home from school if they are unable to pay school fees or fulfill uniform requirements.  However, in 2018, the Kenyan government made it possible for students to attend high school free of charge.  This unprecedented move made it more affordable for children to complete their education.  Nevertheless, there are some fees that the government does not pay.

Currently Kenyan students pay $108 per year out of pocket to attend secondary school.   For many of us this cost would not be considered an issue.  But $36 per term is prohibitive for these orphaned children and their adoptive families.  The cost of their required uniform is between $50 – $75, another expense that they are typically unable to pay.

EC is providing scholarships for students like this young boy who struggles with school fees and uniform costs
This young boy struggles with school fees and uniform costs

Providing Scholarships

Five students recently submitted scholarship applications to EC for the 2019 school year.  Their stories are heart rending.  I’ve shared some of their requests below so our readers can see the situations they face:

Joseph – 17; no parents

My school fee is paid by my brother with a lot of challenges because he has no job. My parents passed in 2003. The challenges that I face are all about school fees and some of school uniforms.

Carolyne – 15; no parents

I am an orphan living with my grandmother and my younger sister. My grandmother is unable to pay both my school fees and for my younger sister. She does not have a suitable job but just runs a small kiosk selling sukumu wiki (cooked kale). I kindly ask for a scholarship from Everyone’s Child, and if you accept God will bless you.

Michael – 14; mother living, father dead

My main aim for applying for a scholarship is as follows: my father passed on year 2005 in a road accident, leaving behind a widow and four siblings. Due to the situation my mother decided to stop renting home and we all shifted to our grandmother’s home. After a year my mum faced a hardship and disappeared and left us under our grandmother’s care. My grandmother is suffering and old. Food and school fees are a big problem to me. I am always in and out of school.

Where you come in

Everyone’s Child relies solely on donations from individuals to help support students like Michael, Carolyne and Joseph.  If you are in a position to contribute to their education, please click here to make a secure donation.  Feel free to email us at everyoneschildren@gmail.com for more information on how to provide orphaned students with scholarships.

providing scholarships: Tracy Braun from EC helping a student in Kenya
EC Director Tracy Braun helps a student in Kenya

As always, thank you for making life easier for these children who are relying on Everyone’s Child to help them with challenges that children should not have to face alone.

Blessings,

Ruth

Sources: Institute of Economic Affairs  http://www.ieakenya.or.ke

The Art of Giving

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.

the art of giving - Erica as a preschooler
Erica Dow 2005 – she and her sister Emily held an EC Fundraiser in their home

An Event

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!

EC School Tour
EC School Tour: Ruth Young, Nancy Chase, Joni Clemons, Pam Dow, Autumn Benjamin, Sara Baker and Lynn Mason

Helen & Jackie teach Autumn how to dance
Helen & Jackie teach  Autumn Benjamin (former preschooler) how to dance

A Letter

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:

the art of giving - a child's letter to ec
page 1 of Connor’s letter

the art of giving - page 2 of Connor's letter to ec
page 2 of Connor’s letter

(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

the art of giving - Connor & Michael school photo
Connor & 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.

Joining Forces

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.

Blessings,

Ruth

Challenges

Challenges

The loss of a loved one is one of the greatest challenges that people face.  No matter if we hail from Botswana or the Bronx, the angst of losing someone close to us can be overwhelming.  Kenyan women who lose their husbands find that these challenges are further compounded by the daily struggle of making sure their children are fed, clothed and safe.

Orphaned children have their own challenges to contend with, and their survival is often related to fitting in with their peers.

As is true with most schools in Africa, Kenyan parents are required to provide their children with a school uniform.  For single parents, this need often goes unmet as the cost is too much for their meager family budget.

challenges of having no uniform
a child in Lanet

This past year, Orphan’s Promise partnered with EC to provide orphaned students at the Miruya Primary School in western Kenya with brand new uniforms.  In this blog, William Aludo, EC’s Kenya Program Coordinator provides us with insight into the identity of an orphaned child. He also writes about the positive impact that something as simple as a school uniform can have for these children who don’t want to be any different than their classmates.

School Uniforms

Widows in Kenya face several challenges. One of the major challenges confronting them is the economic burden of providing for their orphaned children. Like all children, these orphans have need of food, shelter and clothing. Apart from “home clothing”, school-agers need a school uniform.

challenge of being in class without a uniform - children fitting in with their classmates
Standard 2 students at Miruya Primary School

At Miruya Primary School in western Kenya, the full uniform includes shoes, socks and a sweater. In this poor rural community, it is common to find orphaned children going to school in their home clothing. This has been the case for several orphans in this community. Because their widowed mothers and guardians cannot afford the school uniforms, they have to attend school barefooted and in their home clothing, which are often in tatters. During the rainy season when it’s very cold, these children have no sweaters to keep themselves warm.

Challenges of Children playing at the Miruya Primary School
Children playing at the Miruya Primary School – some with and others without uniforms

Standing Out

It is easy to spot orphaned children in a class or at school assemblies because they stand out. From observation, it is apparent that they are conscious of being the odd-ones out. Their appearance affects their self-esteem and willingness to socialize freely with the other children. Sometimes their demeanor seems to exhibit unintentional aloofness. This in turn affects their learning and participation in class.  There is a definite stigma attached to their status as orphans.  Everything about them says that they don’t belong.

Consequently, these orphaned students are found to register a high rate of absenteeism and often drop out of school. If an intervention is not found early enough, the eventual result is that they become members of the Miruya community who might not attain their full potential in life. This in turn, leads to a perpetuation of poverty in that community.

solved challenges of having a new uniform
Orphaned children at Miruya Primary School with new uniforms

Standing In

Today I thank God for the partnership between the Orphan’s Promise and Everyone’s Child. The funding that came from this partnership has provided full school uniforms for 25 orphans at Miruya Primary School. Vincent, Clinton, Felix, Sheryl and Bonvicar (shown above) were blessed to be the first five children to benefit from this kindness.  Now instead of standing out, these children stand in school with their classmates and are proud to be identified as school children. This solution is helping to keep them in school with beautiful smiles on their faces!

If you would like to contribute to our ongoing effort to put smiles on children’s faces, please visit Everyone’s Child to make a secure donation today.

Many blessings,

William Aludo

 

Jedidah’s Journey

Dear readers,

“Jedidah’s Journey” is the story of a young orphaned Kenyan girl whose hopes and dreams came to an abrupt end shortly after she graduated from high school.  It’s a tale of heartache and brokenness, but also one of hope and resilience.  It’s a story that has been told throughout history, and one that must be told again.

Earlier this year I sent her story in booklet form to EC’s supporters.  This month’s blog makes her story available to a wider audience.  Even if you already received this via snail mail, please don’t let that stop you from reading her amazing story again online.

Jedidah’s Journey

“Jedidah’s Journey” was garnered from a series of emails between Jedidah and me during the early part of 2018.  There were many questions and edits, followed by more questions and more edits.  In the end, however, I felt confident that her story was one that she would feel good about sharing with the world.

Jedidah of Jedidah's Journey with her grandmother
Jedidah with her grandmother in 2007

Responses and Reactions

An hour after emailing her my final draft, I received a text from Jedidah.  She wrote: “Waoh, waoh [wow wow] am lack of words i just could not hold my tears reading my story.”  Moments later she continued with this note: “…it touch my heart soo much. i just hope with my story there [will be] some kids there that will benefit from it. i know there [are] those who go through much more in life.  it will be my greatest achievement in life to know i am able to help them.”

Needless to say, I was humbled by her reaction, and found myself hoping that those who read her story would want to find a way to help young women who find themselves in similar circumstances.

I wasn’t disappointed.  In the weeks that followed the printing of “Jedidah’s Journey”, I received wonderful feedback from people whose hearts were touched by this narrative.  Many people took the time to thank me for publishing it.  Some even donated to our Mentorship Program in hopes of helping orphans who often find themselves feeling unwanted or unloved.  It was encouraging to hear from readers who wrote words such as these:

“I enjoyed reading Jedidah’s story. The challenges she faced were heartbreaking, and yet by the end of the booklet I felt moved and inspired by her words. There’s undeniable strength and hope in her story; her journey. Thank you for sharing it with me.”

Jedidah reading her story Jedidah's Journey
Jedidah reading her story in 2018

Read her Story, Help a child

While Jedidah’s story isn’t picture perfect, it illustrates the struggles that face so many of the children we serve. Instead of ignoring them; we need to be the hand that helps them up.

Everyone’s Child relies on your help, not just to get children to the finish line, but also to keep them on the track. we need to encourage them so that they, like Jedidah, will keep getting back up, even when life throws them down. With your support, we can reach many more orphaned and vulnerable students who need to learn how to make good decisions in their lives.

You can click on Jedidah’s Journey to read this story online.  And please click here to learn more about how you can make a difference in a child’s life.  You’ll never be sorry that you did.

As always, Asante Sana (thank you so much) for supporting what we do by serving the orphans and vulnerable children who are counting on us for their education and their future.

Blessings,

Ruth

Exciting Developments

Exciting Developments

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!

exciting developments of a new board of directors in Kenya
EC Kenya Board of Directors left to right: Director Dorcas Njorge of Nakuru, Director Joseph Rayudi of Rongo, Secretary Collins Awuor of Rongo, Director Josephine Kinuthia of Nakuru, Director Baraka Someh of Rongo, William Aludo, EC Program Coordinator of Rongo, Treasurer Josephine Omwanda of Rongo, and Chairman James Maina, principal at Bishop Donovan Secondary School in Nakuru

Kateri’s Kitchen

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.

exciting developments of Kateri's Kitchen - a stone building that is almost completed!
Kateri’s Kitchen as of early September 2018

As always, Asante Sana (thank you very much) for supporting Everyone’s Child.  Your efforts truly are helping to change a generation through education.

Blessings,

Ruth

“Maji”

Swahili for Water

“Maji” is Swahili for “water”.  Here in the USA we are rarely without it.  With it we steep our tea and brush our teeth, water the lawn and rinse off the dog,  brew our coffee and wash the car, launder our clothes and cook our dinner.  When we’re thirsty, we trust that a turn of the wrist will result in a drink of cool, clear water.

In many places in our world, “maji” does not magically appear.  Not clean water at any rate.   For years, the children at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto, Kenya – many of them orphaned – had the daily task of walking a hot and dusty two-mile trek to a muddy river to collect water that was then used for drinking and cooking.  The water was usually boiled before it was consumed, but the mere fact that the mortality rate in this area was 50% or higher leads me to believe that boiling alone didn’t remove the incidence of water borne illnesses.

Carrying maji or water from the river in Kampi Ya Moto< Kenya
Carrying water from the river in Kampi Ya Moto

Kampi Ya Moto

Kampi Ya Moto is an arid region of Kenya that literally translates to “Camp of Fire”.  Many of EC’s supporters have walked with the children to the river in this area on visits to their school.  In a word, it’s repulsive.  The water is brown, and the shore is filled with mud-pocked holes made by the hooves of the cows and other animals that shared this watering hole with members of the village.

maji means water - a dirty river with a cow and a child both getting water
Sharing the river in Kampi Ya Moto

Partnering

During the summer of 2013, Orphan’s Promise of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) partnered with Everyone’s Child to install a rain harvesting system for the school.  The impact has been nothing short of revolutionary.  Children and teachers no longer spend hours a day walking to and from the river to get water.  Mary Cheshire, the Head Teacher at the school has reported that overall the children’s health has markedly improved.  And their garden is amazing.

CBN Living Water Plaque in Kampi Ya Moto
CBN Living Water plaque in Kampi Ya Moto

Real Time

Not too long ago, on a beautiful sunny morning, I had just brewed my first cup of tea when my phone began to ding.  Simon Wanjala, one of EC’s Kenyan staff members, was sending me photos and videos from the school in Kampi Ya Moto.  It was mid-afternoon there.  The children had finished their lunch and were gathering outside to play football (soccer).  Some were bubbling with excitement at having their photo taken, others were more shy and reticent to be on camera, but all of them looked very healthy.

Getting maji or water from a tap
Getting water from the tap at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto

This was happening in real time, so I asked Simon to take pictures of the garden as well.  What I saw was astonishing.  The scraggly corn field I remembered from 2012 was replaced by a lush and abundantly green crop of corn that was beginning to reach the tops of the children’s heads.  But even better than seeing all this new growth was the joy that I saw in the faces of the children.  The daily struggle of getting water was removed, and they could just be children, learning and playing under the African sun.

a corn field in Africa
Kampi corn!

 

Maji

EC is incredibly thankful for this gift of maji (water) from Orphan’s Promise.  But our gratitude pales in comparison to the thankfulness of the children who use it every day of their lives.  From all of them we say ASANTE SANA to all those who contributed to this project.

Kenyan school children getting maji (water) from a faucet
Girls gathering around the faucet in their schoolyard

The mission of Everyone’s Child includes providing clean drinking water in each school we build.  Please click here to learn more about supporting the programs of Everyone’s Child.