Covenant Children, Inc. in KenyaClick here for an introduction to St. Paul's and Margaret Mbote, the woman who founded and runs the program.
The majority of the children at St. Paul's were brought there from Rongai, the nearby town. In Rongai, there are no schools, healthcare is non-existent, food consists of the findings in garbage dumps, and parents are absent - either dead of AIDS, in jail or simply "moved on." The result of this neglect is a town filled with street children, either begging for scraps, sitting or standing vacantly in the side streets. St. Paul's looks after upwards of 60 of these children, but there are hundreds more for which there's currently just no room at the orphanage. We've begun an outreach and rescue program for these kids so they can survive until we can arrange for a better future for them, either at St. Paul's as its facilities expand or elsewhere.
To do this, we have a modest feeding and healthcare program that enters the community to deliver food and, where possible, healthcare. One of the board members of St. Paul's is a physician and, with donated medical supplies, he joins us in this outreach. Until we can expand St. Paul's, there is little more we can do to help with this heartbreaking situation. Your contributions to this effort increase the number of children we can reach with food and healthcare so that they can survive until they can be rescued and placed in a safe and supportive environment.
Our St. Paul's initiative has been very rewarding. At this point all school age children are attending local schools (which requires books, school uniforms and a diet sufficient to support them through a school day and study program) and receiving regular healthcare. There are numerous stories of children who have been rescued from Rongai and are now thriving: here are two:
When we visited St. Paul's in 2008, baby Samuel had just been delivered there the day before. He had been discarded at birth and thrown in a trash heap where the police found him and brought him to St. Paul's. When Ardith (a former critical care nurse) saw him she immediately recognized that he needed urgent medical attention and we brought him to the local clinic where an examination revealed he had been strangled at birth before he was discarded. Quick medical attention, paid for by Covenant Children, Inc.� , resulted in a complete recovery. We learned on our 2009 visit in March that he has since been adopted by a loving family and is thriving.
Baby Samuel, one day old:
Baby Sarah was found by the river by Maasai women in 2008, discarded at birth. When the women found her, she was covered in red ants and screaming. Margaret brought her back to health, but she has never been able to walk (click here to see a video of Sarah). When we visited this year, we were able to have this bright, adorable old girl (now 18 months old) diagnosed and treated and, at last report, she is beginning to walk and a complete recovery is promised.
Since the orphanage needs capital improvements (like expanded, permanent dormitories, a kitchen, some arable land for farming), any additional money will be channeled there. There are three other orphanages in the area near St. Paul's, each with its own special needs. It is our goal to acquire enough land to consolidate the three orphanages under the St. Paul's roof, which will allow for an onsite clinic and primary school, initially serving upwards of 350 children. Our present capital improvement goal for building permanent dormitories, expanding the number of children the orphanage can accommodate, acquiring needed land and fencing to protect the children and the property is estimated at $125,000. Click on the link below to St. Paul's to donate to capital improvements.
In northern Kenya, toward the Somali border, native Kenyans Paul and Jennifer Okello are responsible for a pre-school in the small town of Archer's Post. They are simply incredible people. With virtually no funding, they endeavor to run the pre-school for over 100 local children. Archer's Post is one of the areas subjected to the massive tribal violence that's been in the news since the elections last year, but this school welcomes children from all the local tribes and integrates them and their families, a critical step towards the reconciliation necessary to end the violence.
The children show up joyfully for school every day, sharing the one - that's correct, one - schoolbook but creating a learning atmosphere under the guidance of Jennifer and Paul. The classrooms (there are three, although one is falling down and unsafe) have hand made posters of math exercises, the alphabet, wild and domestic animals, and generally everything a US classroom would have, although, as the accompanying photos show, very minimal.
At the end of the day (around 2:00 p.m.), the children are fed as nourishing a meal as the Okellos' limited resources permit (usually the only meal of the day for most of them) and are sent home at day's end.
These two people, and the local community members who volunteer with them, deserve our help. They work tirelessly, with virtually no outside support, to bring education and community to an area crushed by violence, tribalism and famine. Covenant Children plans tentatively to bring a group to Archer's Post next year to renovate the school facilities and, in the meantime, is working to obtain a reliable supply of food, clean water (there is presently only a single faucet in the yard), textbooks, school supplies and uniforms for the children.
Feeding pre- schoolers at Archer's Post:
Class at Archer's Post:
Iseloa, Kenya Somali Refugee Initiative
In Kenya's north, populated primarily by nomadic and tribal people, children, especially girls, truly are the very least important. Poverty, ignorance, witchcraft and polygamy are all factors contributing to the horrors faced by thousands of homeless children.
Barely surviving and living in one of Kenya's most unstable communities, the children of Iseola are destitute beyond the point of hope.
Somali refugees crowd into this already impoverished town adding to the religious and tribal tensions that constantly simmer and regularly boil over.
The Nomadic Pioneers of Hope was founded by four Somali refugees with a burning need to rescue the street children they see every day. Campaign for Change� will help them build a feeding center, sleeping quarters and, eventually, a school. Because street children have no address, they are ineligible for the public education offered by the Kenyan government, so Pioneers of Hope must step in to break the cycle of ignorance and poverty.