Tag Archives: kenya

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

The Dandora Community Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya, supports a huge group of students both as a school and a boarding home, which makes it more difficult for the school to adjust to big changes.

Although a lot is changing at the Centre, one thing that remains consistent is the invaluable support our sponsored children receive from their sponsors.

There are currently 650 children in attendance at the Centre, including about 490 in Primary School education (middle school), and about 160 in Secondary education (high school) programs. Nearly all the primary school students board at the school, returning home to their families during school holidays.

Adjusting to new requirements

“All of the students at the school who are boarding at the school — they receive daily meals, a safe and clean place to live, and benefit from afterschool tutoring and onsite medical care,” explained our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“Unfortunately, the Centre is quickly running out of space for the number of children in the classrooms. The Centre needs additional classrooms, updated restrooms, and general repairs to the buildings.”

“Making the issue more dire, the Kenyan government has requested that all schools replace the asbestos sheet roof, which was commonly used in building schools in the past. The Centre is working on the changes as quickly as possible, despite it being an expense they did not budget for,” said Luis.

“Additionally, the Dandora Centre is required to offer technical training to Secondary School students per government requirement. Although this change in curriculum is very beneficial to the students, it requires a lot of adapting and changing for the Centre with limited resources.”

Our volunteer coordinator, James, works closely with all of our sponsored children to ensure they are being cared for.

“The biggest challenge is the need for space. The school was built in a relatively small area, and originally, only a Primary School. The adjustments they have to make require additional infrastructure where the technical training program can be implemented. No funding resources are being given by the local government to implement these new training programs, so each school has to find their own funding,” said Luis.

The reliability of sponsorship

Although a lot is changing at the Centre, one thing that remains consistent is the invaluable support our sponsored children receive from their sponsors.

“Sponsorship support is utilized at the Dandora Centre to help the children without resources to pay school fees and buy textbooks so that they can attend the school. The alternative is to attend public schools which is disastrous, as public schools have worse conditions. Public schools in Nairobi are overcrowded, and the learning is minimal,” explained Luis.

“Also, sponsored and unsponsored children are also assisted by our International Feeding Program, where the children who don’t board at the school are provided with a meal every school day. This is of great support to their parents, as they cannot afford to purchase school lunches for their children every day.”

“Children Incorporated also provides mosquito nets once a year for children and their families, as the net helps to protect them from mosquito-transmitted illnesses like malaria, chikungunya, dengue and other illnesses affecting these overcrowded areas. Over the last couple of years, we have also provided a pair of shoes for every child on the program,” said Luis.

“Our sponsorship program and our special funds have a tremendous impact on children at the Dandora Center. It is truly life-changing for them to receive the consistent support they need to stay in school and succeed.”

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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

We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors and donors who have supported our COVID-19 relief efforts over the last few months. Recently, we heard from our volunteer coordinator, James, at our affiliated project, the Dandora Community Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, as to how donations are helping children in our program and their families:

Recently, we heard from our volunteer coordinator, James, at our affiliated project, the Dandora Community Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, as to how donations are helping children in our program and their families.

“I am glad to write to you to inform you that with the feeding funds that were sent to us this month, we were able to buy food items [for] the children that we then packaged for their parents to take home. We [were] able to fill the food bags with maize, flour, cooking oil, rice, beans and bar soaps, and detergent.”

About Kenya

Located in the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa, Kenya is known for its fertile highlands, grassy savannahs, wildlife, and its namesake peak, Mt. Kenya. Its economy relies heavily upon agriculture and tourism. Kenya is also a cradle of civilization, rich in cultural heritage and diversity. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty, resources, and culture, however, belie the poverty in which most of its residents live. Tragically, poverty and weak government institutions permit frequent violations of human rights. Kenya is plagued by a severe shortage of healthcare workers, which contributes to lower life expectancies, high infant mortality rates, and widespread preventable disease.

Our projects in Kenya

Dandora Community Centre
Nairobi, Kenya

A mother receives a bag of donated food and hygiene items to be taken home during COVID-19.

Established in the Dandora public housing projects and operated by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, the Dandora Community Centre’s mission is to serve the nearly 7,000 residents of this overcrowded slum neighborhood. The community center’s dedicated staff instills moral and spiritual values through a well-rounded education while providing for such basic needs as nutritious food and medical care.

St. John’s Community Center
Nairobi, Kenya

The St. John’s Community Center was established in the late 1950s following a violent period known as the Mau Mau Uprising. The center’s mission is to provide long-term social services to the needy – regardless of age, tribal affiliation, or faith. By providing for the children’s immediate needs as well as investing in their future through education, St. John’s Community Center offers these deserving children the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and rise above the difficult socio-economic circumstances they face.

Materi Girls’ School
Tharaka, Meru, Kenya

Tharaka is a village located some 100 miles north of Nairobi. Isolated and impoverished, Tharaka is one of the least-developed villages in the area. Life for its impoverished residents is a constant challenge. In this agricultural region, drought, famine, and malnutrition are everyday realities. For this reason, the Materi Girls’ School is incredibly valuable to the community. Established in 1973, the school’s mission is to provide a well-rounded education to the needy girls of this area – regardless of clan, tribe, or religion. Sponsored by the Catholic Bishop of Kenya and approved by the Kenyan Ministry of Education, the Materi School is highly sought-after for its high academic standards and distinguished reputation.

We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors and donors who have supported our COVID-19 relief efforts over the last few months.

Msamaria Mwema
Nairobi, Kenya

Located just beyond Nairobi’s outskirts and operating as part of the local St. Nicholas Community Development Centre, Msamaria Mwema was founded by the Mothers’ Union of the Anglican Church of Kenya in 1986 as a rescue and rehabilitation center for needy children of the community. The center strives to empower orphans, vulnerable children, and impoverished women through education, vocational training, and the provision of basic needs, like shelter and nutrition. Since the center’s inception, hundreds of children have benefited from the spiritual, emotional, and physical care offered at Msamaria Mwema.

Maria Immaculata Children’s Education Center
Kiamumbi, Nairobi, Kenya

In Kiamumbi – one of Nairobi’s outlying neighborhoods – children live in squalid slum conditions and are often orphaned, neglected, and abused. For this reason, Maria Immaculata Children’s Education Center serves as a beacon of hope. Founded in 1997 by the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, this combined school and children’s home helps the area’s neediest children grow into healthy, productive members of society. Its mission is to instill moral and spiritual values through care, encouragement, education, and community intervention. In partnership with Children Incorporated’s sponsorship program, Maria Immaculata Children’s Education Center helps these deserving children realize their full potential.

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In countries where Children Incorporated works, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and India, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue, so that they will be healthy enough to attend school.

Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year – most of whom are children in Africa.

What is a mosquito net?

 A mosquito net is a mesh curtain that is draped over a bed or a sleeping area to offer protection against bites and stings from mosquitos, flies, and other pest insects, and the diseases they carry. Examples of such preventable insect-borne diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika virus and West Nile virus. Research has shown mosquito nets to be an extremely effective method of malaria prevention, averting approximately 663 million cases of malaria over the period 2000–2015.

To be effective, the mesh of the mosquito’s net must be fine enough to prevent insects from entering while still allowing visibility and ventilation. Mosquito netting can be hung over beds from the ceiling or a frame, built into tents, or installed in windows and doors. When hung over beds, however, rectangular nets provide more room for sleeping without the danger of the netting contacting skin, and allowing mosquitos to bite through the netting.

To further protect against mosquito bites, many nets, including those that Children Incorporated provides to children in our program, are pretreated with an appropriate insecticide or insect repellent. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been proven to reduce illness, severe complications, and death due to malaria.

Facts about Mosquito-borne illnesses:

– Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year – most of whom are children in Africa.

– Malaria and dengue can result in death, unless detected and treated promptly.

– The most effective means of preventing malaria is to sleep under a mosquito net.

 

$10 provides a mosquito net for one child.

What we do

Each year, we purchase thousands of nets which we distribute to our sponsored and unsponsored children and their families, thanks to donations to our Mosquito Net Fund.

How to help

It is simple and very inexpensive to provide a child and his or her family members with life-saving mosquito nets. For as little as $10, you can purchase a mosquito net that will protect an impoverished child from mosquito-borne illnesses.

How can I donate to the Mosquito Net Fund?

You can contribute to our Mosquito Net Fund 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 donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Mosquito Net Fund.

MOSQUITO NET FUND

 

Our sponsors and donors often hear from our staff and coordinators about the work we are doing around the world through our On the Road Series. But not as frequently do you hear from our sponsored children directly — especially those that live outside of the United States.

We want to share special stories with our supporters from the children in our program around the world — and how their sponsors are making a huge difference in their lives.

We want to share special stories with our supporters from the children in our sponsorship program around the world — and how their sponsors are making a huge difference in their lives.

Michael’s* Story: The Tecpan School in Guatemala

“My name is Michael, and I am in the second grade in school. I love math and literature as I have good teachers. I live in Tecpan, Guatemala, a town located in the highlands of Guatemala, where mostly Mayan people live. In my house I live with my mother and siblings and other family relatives, totaling 13 people, as we support each other as a family.”

We love hearing from our sponsored children about how their sponsors impact their lives.

“The house is a small shack located on a farm. My grandfather is the watchman and was given this place to live. The house is made of wood and mud bricks. It has dirt floors and a roof made from metal sheets.”

“My father died some years back, and we only have my mother to care for us. I feel lucky that my siblings and I have our grandfather to let us stay with them at the watchman house.”

My siblings and I never attended school until we met the sisters at Tecpan School. They help our mother to register us at school and share the importance of education for all of us. My mother works as a day laundress and makes the equivalent of about 3-3.50 dollars a day when she works.”

“My brother also helps by selling newspapers on the streets of Tecpan. I really want to learn and go to school, so I was excited to hear about the Children Incorporated program. I know that with the help of a sponsor, I will be able to attend school and change my life.”

Monica: Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines

“I know that with the help of a sponsor, I will be able to attend school and change my life.”

– Michael from Guatemala

 “I live in a small rural and agricultural town in the Philippines with my parents, four brothers and a baby sister. We have a small, two-room house made with cinder blocks and metal sheet roofing. It is all we can afford.  All 7 family members share this home. My mother does not work, and my father is the main supporter of our home. He is a tricycle driver and earns about 100 to 150 pesos per day (about $3 US dollars).”

“We all help on the upkeep of our house, so I help with the cleaning and with the care of my little sister. I am in the fifth grade and love math. Children Incorporated support is a great help for my family because my parents cannot afford to send me to school, but because of my sponsor I get my school supplies, shoes, clothing and other school needs and fees.”

“We also get so much needed extra food a few times a year when I don’t need anything for school. I am so glad I have the support of the Children Incorporated program. It is my motivation to continue with my education.”

Lana: Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines

Sponsorship support is a great help to families because parents often cannot afford to send their children to school.

“I am Lana. I am in the eighth grade in school, and I like to learn English. I live in a small rural agricultural town in the Philippines. My family includes my parents, three brothers and four sisters. We all live in a small house made with cinder block walls, cement floors and metal sheet roofing. My father is a small day farmer, and my mother takes care of all my siblings and me.”

“We all help around the house, so I have to help my mother with cleaning and sweeping while I am not at school.  We also help with the care of the younger siblings. The Children Incorporated program is helping with supporting my education, while the feeding program that I participate in at the center is easing my parents’ burden for my food. I get my uniforms, school supplies and any school fee covered with my sponsor’s help. I am so glad I was selected to participate with the Children Incorporated program.”

James: Msamaria Mwema in Kenya

“My name is James, and I am in the seventh grade in school. I like to go to school. I am an orphan — I lost my mother some time ago, and I never met my father. I don’t have any siblings that I know of, and I live at the boarding home at Msamaria Mwema in Kenya.”

“I love to play soccer with my friends, and I also love rice and beans stew. I help with anything I can at home so that I can safely stay here until I finish my education. I am glad I participate with the Children Incorporated program so that I have the chance to continue my education to the end.”

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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How do I sponsor a child internationally?

You can sponsor a child internationally 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 an international child that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

It is quite rare that our international volunteer coordinators have the opportunity to visit the Children Incorporated headquarters in North Chesterfield, Virginia — but when they do, it is such a treat for the staff. An exceptional guest dropped by recently — our Volunteer Coordinator and the Manager of St. John’s Community Center in Nairobi, Kenya: Mr. Njuguna. The stories that he recounted about the community center, the people it serves, and the multi-faceted work that it carries out daily were a testament to the practical and holistic approach that St. John’s employs in ensuring that its attendees are truly afforded a chance at a better life – a chance to break free from the piecemeal landscape of the slums.

Nairobi’s most destitute and crime-ridden neighborhood is the slums of Pumwani – and St. John’s Community Center serves its inhabitants, who live in absolutely deplorable conditions.

Nairobi’s most destitute and crime-ridden neighborhood is the slums of Pumwani — and St. John’s Community Center serves its inhabitants, who live in absolutely deplorable conditions. The community center serves children of all ages, as well as the community as a whole. It is comprised of a series of buildings that include a primary school, a childcare clinic, a counseling clinic, a library, administrative offices, and a church.

Mr. Njuguna began his presentation for the Children Incorporated staff with the context of the Mau Mau Uprising, which plagued the better part of the 1950s in Kenya. Also known as the “Kenya Emergency,” the revolt was the result of African resistance to colonialism — and it ultimately yielded Kenya’s independence from British colonization. This was the turning point that set the bloodstained tone for the country’s arduous ongoing struggle towards recovery — a healing that served as the mission of St. John’s Community Center, established to address the immediate needs and concerns of some of Kenya’s most destitute and hopeless at a time when promise was obscured by utter desperation.

No life left unchanged

Mr. Njuguna further explained that about sixty percent of the city of Nairobi’s official population lives in slums. He made reference to an “official” population, because a significant portion of the community is unaccounted for as a result of births occurring in the slums themselves rather than in hospitals, where babies are always registered upon birth. Many of the infants born in slums are never registered with the government due to a lack of resources and knowledge about the complicated process. Unregistered residents, to further complicate things, are unable to obtain employment, which renders them unable to support themselves — much less provide adequate care for their children. This is but one component of the extensive catalog of critical issues that St. John’s Community Center is currently addressing.

Mr. Njuguna spoke with Children Incorporated’s staff about the St. John’s Community Center in Nairobi, Kenya on a recent visit to the office.

With the help of several partnering organizations, St. John’s Community Center boasts one primary focus to which all aspects of its work leads: instilling self-esteem and self-worth in those in attendance so that they may rise above hopelessness. Not only does the community center address poverty, child abuse and neglect, unemployment, and civil ignorance, but it also houses programs for the economic empowerment of women, group meetings in which parents and guardians may share tips and concerns — and youth programs in which all Children Incorporated kids participate. St. John’s even trains its teachers in counseling so that they are better-equipped to address the emotional needs of the community.

Perhaps one of the most essential ways in which Children Incorporated sponsors and donors contribute to the center is through our Mosquito Net Fund, which provides children enrolled in our program with an integral tool in combatting mosquito-borne illnesses, which are prevalent in Kenya. Mr. Njuguna explained during his presentation at our headquarters that these mosquito nets also serve our kids and their families in a less tangible way: because mosquito nets are considered a luxury in the community, those that receive them experience a confidence that only ownership can bring.

St. John’s Community Center strives to address any and all concerns that arise for the community, optimizing the utilization of on-hand resources all the while. When an urgent need for a sanitary bathhouse in a nearby slum presented itself, the community center sought and acquired funding for the construction of one. A question soon arose: Who will maintain the bathhouse? St. John’s implemented a program through which it employs its older youth so that they may learn about responsibility on the job while also earning money to contribute to their households.

When student tardiness became a legitimate worry at St. John’s Community Center, possible resources were investigated for the provision of morning meals in order to ensure a more timely arrival for students. The community center partnered with an organization that provides support for morning porridge, and tardiness has been eliminated almost completely.

A holistic approach in which Children Incorporated plays a meaningful role

The list of programs and interventions realized by St. John’s Community Center goes on: HIV/AIDS prevention programs; life education and pregnancy prevention programs for young girls; skills training programs in handicrafts, and carpentry for adolescents; and civic duties and human rights education for all. Children Incorporated has helped to fund the construction of new classrooms in which these courses are administered, and your contributions help to finance vocational and apprenticeship training.

Children Incorporated’s presence at St. John’s Community Center, in effect, promotes a high retention rate for students.

Our sponsors help to ensure that kids receive the school supplies they need to do their very best; and malaria prevention medications are dispensed to them so that they may be healthy enough to attend classes. Funds from our donors and sponsors currently help to provide lunch to 187 students in attendance at St. John’s Community Center, which has drastically reduced absenteeism among all age groups. No longer hungry during the day, these youth do not need to beg in the streets during the school — or steal — just to get some food in their bellies. Nourished and full, these kids are afforded the chance to concentrate in an environment where they feel safe and protected, so that they may participate, learn, and perform well.

Of utmost importance, Mr. Njuguna explained, the sponsored kids at St. John’s Community Center know that they’re not at risk of the embarrassment of overdue school fees. Children who attend other schools often learn about overdue fees upon arriving, and they are turned away. Sometimes they even find out in front of their peers, which can be humiliating. With school fees paid by sponsorship funds, parents and guardians are able to provide the children in their care with other basic needs, like food; a great burden is lifted. If it weren’t for the payment of school fees, after all, many kids would not have the opportunity to obtain an education – and therefore never have the chance to break the cycle of poverty.

Children Incorporated’s presence at St. John’s Community Center, in effect, promotes a high retention rate for students. Knowing that they will receive primary and secondary support to nourish both their bodies and minds during the school week, children are motivated to attend the community center. Through this integrated nurturing, hope becomes tangible, and feeling it motivates kids to seize the opportunities that are presented to them today in order to have the best tomorrow possible.

A common passion

Mr. Njuguna’s work is heartfelt; while growing up, he himself witnessed the routine struggles of his impoverished parents. As a result, his drive is to incite change – not only in his own life, but also for those in his community. Our mission at Children Incorporated is also to foment change, because we passionately believe that children everywhere deserve education, hope, and opportunity. Contributions encourage change, because our work – and Mr. Njuguna’s work – would not be possible without our donors and sponsors.

Gratitude reverberated in each word that Mr. Njuguna spoke the day that he visited – with each program and benefit that he eagerly described in his presentation. That gratitude is for our supporters; it is for the ones who make our work and his a reality – the ones who are ultimately responsible for the promise that shines brightly in a dark corner of the Pumwani slums in Nairobi.

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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

written by Children Incorporated

Together, we provide children with the hope, opportunity, and education that will allow them to grow and contribute to their own communities. Thanks to past and current supporters around the globe, we work with 250 affiliated sites in 20 countries, To date, over 300,000 children have been provided opportunities for growth and education and experienced the support and encouragement our programs provide.

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