Tag Archives: child

A Garden for Learning and Nutrition

Located more than 200 miles outside of Addis Ababa, Kids Hope Ethiopia supports children in our program in the rural town of Kersa.

“Kids Hope is an impressive project — and one in which our sponsorship should be proud to support.”

The Kids Hope Center itself has two locations within Kersa. One site has an agricultural area and a dining hall. The other location has a few sports fields and a salon/classroom, classes, meetings, and trainings.

“Kids Hope supports children who attend the Center’s afterschool and return home each day, while also serving children from further away, who board with local families and then return home on the weekends. The children are enrolled in local public schools, and they are provided with all school supplies, materials, clothes, and food. The Center provides a great opportunity for education, whereas otherwise, there is no option to go to school in the small surrounding villages,” explained our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

Gardening for multiple purposes

“A few years ago, Children Incorporated supported Kids Hope’s efforts to start a vegetable garden with their agricultural area. This vegetable garden has been great for educational purposes for the children, while also offering them nutritional food.”

“All the vegetables produced there are used in the Center’s kitchen. The children are provided with meals every day while attending nearby schools, and then after school, when they are at the Center for tutoring and computer training,” said Luis.

“This center is providing crucial resources for children’s development in this remote area — Kids Hope is an impressive project — and one in which our sponsorship should be proud to support.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Ethiopia?

You can sponsor a child in Ethiopia in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Ethiopia that is available for sponsorship.

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Seeking Ways to Alleviate Child Hunger Around the World

I love grocery stores!  I admit it. I really do.  I find a lot of joy in shopping for food.

Your contribution to our Feeding Programs make our work possible, and it is through your generosity that we are able to fill empty bellies and offer nutrition where there otherwise may be none.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of trips to the grocery store or food markets with family members. When I was really small, I spent Saturdays with my Aunt Louise and Grandmother Pierce while my parents worked. Every Saturday morning, my aunt would shop for groceries, and she always took me with her. At first, I sat in the basket as she shopped, but as I grew older, I graduated to pushing the shopping cart!  I thought I was hot stuff, let me tell you!  I clearly recall pushing that buggy down the aisles of our local A&P. I recall the smell of the freshly ground coffee near the front of the store, as well as the wonderful aroma of cakes and pies just out of the oven in the bakery.

Our Feeding Programs provide food for hundreds of children each year.

In my immediate family, my father did the vast majority of food shopping, and he loved grocery stores probably as much or more than anyone I have ever met.  There were six or seven food stores in our small town, and Daddy made the rounds from one to another, looking for bargains and stocking up on deals.  Sometimes when my dad was stressed or just needed an out from the responsibilities of daily life, he would say to my mom “Peg, I think I’ll just go to Winn Dixie and look around,” and off he’d go.  Sometimes I went with him, and Daddy loved pointing out the bargains –  BOGO items (buy one, get one free) and things marked down for clearance.

My folks were not wealthy. They were hard-working folks who sometimes struggled to pay their bills, but we always, always had food to eat, and my childhood memories are of wonderful meals and abundance. Both of my parents were excellent cooks, and I can still taste some of the special dishes they made — my mom’s lemon pie and fresh coconut cake, and Daddy’s fried chicken and chili con carne immediately come to mind. So many memories are of the taste and smell of food, and for me, of course, those magical trips to the grocery store.

It is hard for me to imagine being constantly hungry, but I am painfully aware that there are millions upon millions of people who go without proper food and nutrition on a daily basis. In the United States, 1 in 6 children face food insecurity, and globally, there are over 800,000,000 people who do not know where they will get their next meal. Over 3,000,000 children die each year from hunger and malnutrition. The numbers are astounding, and they are shocking. Sadly, they are reality.

Over 3,000,000 children die each year from hunger and malnutrition. The numbers are astounding, and they are shocking. Sadly, they are reality.

Children Incorporated is working to alleviate some of the suffering that comes from food insecurity. Our international and United States child feeding programs offer nutritious food to thousands of children on a regular basis.  As needs arise in the field – whether in a remote Kenyan village or a rural school in Eastern Kentucky – Children Incorporated responds to the calls we receive and provides life-sustaining nourishment to children and families. In Central and Latin America, this may be in the form of bagged rice and beans to feed a family for a month, or in the United States, food distribution through weekend and holiday backpack feeding programs. By whatever means, we are always seeking ways to reach more and more children and to alleviate their hunger.

Your contribution to our Feeding Programs make our work possible, and it is through your generosity that we are able to fill empty bellies and offer nutrition where there otherwise may be none.

Please, consider donating to our Feeding Programs today.

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Fighting Tropical Diseases in Kenya

Our Mosquito Net Fund is one of the most effective ways our sponsors and donors can offer help to keep children healthy and protect them against mosquito-borne diseases. For roughly $10 apiece, we can provide essential mosquito nets to children in our program living in Africa and India.

Each year, we give approximately 1800 mosquito nets to our sponsored children, such as those at our affiliated project, the Materi Girls’ School, in Tharaka, Kenya.

Each year, we give approximately 1800 mosquito nets to our sponsored children, such as those at our affiliated project, the Materi Girls’ School, in Tharaka, Kenya.

A school in high demand

Located 170 miles north of Nairobi, the Materi Girls’ School was created to educate children from the poor, rural agricultural area between Tharaka county and Meru County. Although situated in a remote area, the school draws students from all over the country due to its reputation as a reputable educational establishment.

“The Materi School integrates a demanding curriculum for secondary (high school) students that allows them to qualify to attend almost any university in Kenya, a rare accomplishment,” explained Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

The large school serves girls within a very rural and impoverished part of Kenya.

“The secondary school education that students receive here is very advanced for Kenya. Many of the girls take computer science classes in addition to their general studies. They also participate in theater, music, and speech classes.”

Because the school is located in such a remote part of Kenya, the students all board there, returning home during school holidays.

Protecting the well-being of the whole community

“The girls are provided with nutritious meals every day and housing. A medical dispensary monitors their health and offers advice on treatment of any tropical illness affecting the children, staff, and part of the community,” said Luis.

“Mosquito nets and medication are readily available to attack the diseases, such as malaria, for all children and staff at Materi School — our sponsored children receive mosquito nets as well as school supplies, uniforms, tuition support, and hygiene items thanks to their sponsors.”

“The medical prevention program has been so successful that the Materi School implemented the same plan with the community living within a one-kilometer radius. Then it was expanded to 5 kilometers, thus ensuring a great area surrounding the school was protected against illness,” said Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in Kenya?

You can sponsor a child in Kenya in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Kenya that is available for sponsorship.

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Helping Children from a Hidden Community

Kenya is a country with a large population — estimated at 53 million — in which overcrowding of major cities has become a huge issue. Due to a lack of job opportunities in more rural areas of the country, Kenyans are migrating into cities where they hope for employment — but instead, find a lack of adequate housing and essential services like education and healthcare.

For decades, Children Incorporated has offered support to children and their families in both rural and urban areas of Kenya in an effort to fill gaps where the government is not providing for its citizens.

For decades, Children Incorporated has offered support to children and their families in both rural and urban areas of Kenya in an effort to fill gaps where the government is not providing for its citizens.

“All of the five Children Incorporated affiliated projects in Kenya have an educational component to support the children, either as a day school or as a children’s home/school, and all have a school in the premises, directly providing the so much needed knowledge to survive,” explains our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“The families of the majority of our children live under these difficult circumstances; they live in shacks with little or no water, sanitation, electricity. They need all the help they can get — hardly any of these needs are provided from the local government, mostly due to lack of tax revenue or because of misuse of funds due to government corruption.”

“People Kenya suffers from exposure to several tropical diseases, like malaria and dengue, that are preventable, but the lack of medical care in the country makes these illnesses more problematic for families. The lack of sanitation also creates heavy contamination, resulting in intestinal illness, as well as other health issues for this population,” said Luis.

Families with little or nothing at all

“One of our affiliated projects in Kenya, The Msamaria Mwema Centre,  is located in a more affluent area of Nairobi, yet the Centre serves impoverished children that are “hidden” from the community,” said Luis.

Administrators at the Msamaria Mwema Centre work hard to offer many services to students and their families.

“The parents of our sponsored children are employed in meager paying jobs by wealthier citizens that live in nearby neighborhoods. They work as house cleaners, drivers, and yard workers. They make very little money and are absent from their homes for long periods of time, and their children often do not receive the care they need.”

“The only housing available to these low-wage workers is hidden off the main roads and shacks. Thankfully, the Msamaria Mwema Centre has a small boarding home so children can live full-time at the Centre and attend school. The school on the premise offers kindergarten, primary and middle school education,” said Luis.

Help from administrators and sponsors

“The school is currently being run by a non-profit organization specializing in education, providing a better environment and educational programs to the children. In the past few years, the administrators have seen a lot of progress in the children. Their grades and test scores are up, and they really feel that considering the circumstances, the children are receiving the best education possible.”

“Additionally, our sponsorship program provides the children with mosquito nets every year to protect them against mosquito-borne illnesses, pays for their uniforms and books, and ensures the children are receiving shoes, school supplies, and meals every day.”

“Lastly, because of the cost of running the Centre, administrators have instilled a few income-generating activities such as a water purification plant that produces bottled water for sale and potable water for the children to drink. They also have their cows so they can provide milk for the children.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Kenya?

You can sponsor a child in Kenya in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Kenya that is available for sponsorship.

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A Focus on Children’s Health and Well-Being

Near one of the largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya, is our affiliated project, the St. John’s Community Centre. Serving roughly 450 school-age children, the Centre not only supports them in their education but assists them, and their families, in their overall development — especially when it comes to their health.

“The goal is for these programs is to help support the development of the entire community — not just the students who attend the school.”

“As a primary and secondary school, Children Incorporated supports a large number of these students — nearly half of them are enrolled in our sponsorship program,” explained our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“The Centre focuses on preparing children for their futures after graduation by offering them practical training and instruction. The students learn basic curriculum as well as skills that will help them acquire jobs if they are not able to go on to higher education due to cost restrictions.”

Helping children with more than just education

“Additionally, the administrators at St. John’s are very concerned for the health and well-being of the children as well as their families,” said Luis.

St. John’s serves a large number of children near one of the largest slums in Nairobi.

“Through their on-site medical center, they provide assistance to HIV positive parents and children, as well as programs focused on early motherhood, dropout prevention, small business entrepreneurship, and youth empowerment. The goal is for these programs is to help support the development of the entire community — not just the students who attend the school.”

“Unfortunately, without resources from the government, operating these programs is very difficult, but St. John has partnered with numerous non-profit organizations, local and international, such as Children Incorporated, to accomplish their goals,” said Luis.

Our special funds at work

“For example, we provide nearly 2000 mosquito nets to all Children Incorporated affiliated projects in Kenya every year, including to families at St. John’s, thanks to our Mosquito Net Fund. This is important, as it assists in the prevention of malaria, dengue, and other mosquito-borne illnesses, which are  prevalent among this population.”

“We have also been able to provide one pair of new shoes to each child at the beginning of the school year over the last few years, thanks to donations to our Shoes and Socks Fund. We also provide school lunches for over 200 children every day thanks to our International Feeding Program so that the children get proper nourishment. Through their monthly contributions, our sponsors ensure that students have books, school supplies, uniforms and their school tuition payments are made. Thanks to their sponsors, the school’s attendance is better, and students in our program are receiving higher grades than those without sponsors,” said Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in Kenya?

You can sponsor a child in Kenya in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Kenya that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Five Questions with Shelley Callahan, Director of Development with Children Incorporated

The following is an interview conducted in June 2021 with the Phil VA which also can be found here.

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Did you ever have to worry about going to school on an empty stomach, without a backpack of supplies or shoes?

Shelley Callahan, Director of Development at Children Incorporated, explains how many children living in poverty in Richmond, in other parts of the U.S. and around the world face these situations every single day and how it affects their well-being and potential for success.

Children Incorporated offers a wide variety of resources to children from basic needs like food and clothing to emergency relief services when their family has faced natural disasters.

We recently had the chance to catch up with Callahan to learn more about Children Incorporated and how it serves our local community.

What is Children Incorporated’s core mission?

It’s to provide children with education, hope and opportunity. Really, the core of what we do is provide children with basic needs, things like school supplies, tuition payments, shoes, clothing and food.

Shelley Callahan is the Director of Development with Children Incorporated.

We’re an international organization, so we’re in 21 countries and eight states in the U.S. We’re also in Richmond and Richmond Public Schools. We work with eight elementary and middle schools here in Richmond.

WHAT problem or issue does Children Incorporated address in our community?

What we’re really addressing when we’re looking at issues children are facing in Richmond, are families where parents are unemployed or underemployed, where their jobs just don’t pay well enough for them to be able to provide well for their kids, where the school system maybe isn’t able to keep up with what children might need like school supplies. In the U.S., we don’t have issues with tuition, but we do have big issues with children being able to afford things like field trips or graduation caps and gowns and anything that is a part of a child’s learning experience that they might be missing out on. Those are some of the gaps that we fill.

What do you think most people don’t realize or understand about these issues?

I don’t think people realize how exhausting it is for children to live in poverty. What a toll it takes on them, only eating one meal a day, and that meal being the one that the public school provides for them. They’re malnourished, and they’re going without proper clothes or bedding, and they sleep on the floor of their homes.

With poverty, people don’t understand the crumbling issue of one thing always leading to another. The poverty that parents face is trickled down to their children and is something that is distracting them from being able to be a parent that’s present. It could be having three jobs, and they’re still in poverty. It could be having a disability. It could be being absent due to drug or alcohol abuse. It could be being absent due to being in jail. It’s all these different factors.

In reality, people in poverty are not available for their children, and it’s not because they don’t love them or care about them. Parents try really hard to care for their children, but sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to focus on everything that a child needs to be supported.

What kind of work do volunteers do to help Children Incorporated?

The volunteers that we work with on a regular basis are our project coordinators around the world. They’re the ones that run our program on a volunteer basis because they see the benefit of it where they’re making sure that the children are getting those resources that they need, and they have that personal connection with the child to know what they need.

The poverty that parents face is trickled down to their children and is something that is distracting them from being able to be a parent that’s present.

As an organization, we don’t have open volunteer opportunities due to our privacy and protection policies because the kids are in public schools.

We do have volunteers that do some really great things such as knit hats and scarves for kids in the winter that we can then send to our project coordinators or deliver. We have volunteers that made masks to send to kids at some of our programs where COVID-19, especially in the U.S. in the Navajo nations, hit very hard.

We also have volunteers that are willing to be ambassadors for our organization, so there’s volunteers that love to tell more people about what we do and love to make sure that they’re continuously sharing information about us on social media or sharing our posts on social media to bring more people to Children Incorporated’s pages.

If $100,000 fell from the Sky tomorrow, how would you spend it?

The sponsorship program, where we support children on a monthly basis for $30 a month. We would love it for people to be long-term committed to it. That’s how it’s designed so that you would stay with a child for a number of years to support them through school.

I would designate immediately half of the $100,000 to it. A certain number of children would be sponsored for five to eight years, and to say we can guarantee that this number of children with this amount of money will absolutely be receiving basic needs for this number of years. It would be completely life changing for them and their family.

Our U.S. feeding program is a big deal. I would definitely look at supporting that. If you’re talking about keeping it in Richmond, we do a lot of work for kids that our volunteer coordinators find are in need. We fill book bags full of food for children to take them home on the weekends. It’s a huge deal. It’s sometimes the only reason these kids eat at home on the weekends.

Another fund that I really like that is U.S. and Richmond-focused is called our Hope In Action fund. It’s our emergency services fund. We get requests for everything you could ever imagine. If a family in Kentucky, their home floods and they lose everything, we buy them beds and linens for the kids and cleaning materials.

If you’re interested in learning more about Children Incorporated, visit its website or follow it on Facebook and Instagram. You can donate directly here.

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