||CARETAKERS SCHOOL – KOROGOCHO SLUMS
We arrived at Caretakers to a school full of children lined up to share songs, dances and poems. The surrounding area has grown immensely and it was more difficult to find the 2 story cement building which stood out alone in the community 3 years ago.
We were appalled to find out that the Kenyan government has told Feed the children to stop all feeding programs to the schools in the community. It is through Feed the Children that SOCKS has donated money towards the lunch program at Caretakers. Apparently schools were told that the Kenyan government would take over the program to feed students lunch. Half of the schools in the community had their feeding programs stopped last year and have yet to see any plan or food delivered. The lunch program at the schools feed hundreds of students and often children save portions of their food to take home for the rest of the family. For many this is the only meal of the day.
SOCKS is working to organize infrastructure and finances in order to get food to Caretakers to provide a lunch for the children. We are hoping to keep the lunch program going at Caretakers and perhaps find others to contribute to feed these children.
||JOYLAND SCHOOL FOR THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED – KISUMU
Joyland School serves both primary and senior students. SOCKS continues to supply feminine hygiene products to the girls. We were very pleased to spend more time with the rest of the school population on this visit.
The headmaster gave us an update on the solar panels which were serving the senior school very well all thanks to SOCKS donations. With the many power outages, students are now always with light and a surprising amount of money is being saved on electrical bills.
The primary students gathered and we were able to give each child a rare treat of milk and biscuits. Even with their physical limitations, the children attacked the snacks with gusto.
The seniors presented their award winning choir. We also tried to level the field by presenting the boys with their own personal shirts. The boys have seen us come to give ‘gifts’ to the girls over the years and we wanted to do something special for them as well. We asked their preferences and a t-shirt was the popular request.
Although the challenges are many for students and teachers alike, the smiles and enthusiasm are ever present at Joyland.
A well named school and a wonder to behold.
||MISSION IN ACTION – NAKURU
Since visiting 3 years ago, for unknown reasons, young women in Nakuru have been abandoning their babies in unprecedented numbers.
We arrived at Mission in Action to find month old baby Noel in hospital. He had been discovered in a pit latrine. After 3 weeks, he was finally healing and was ultimately brought home to MIA. 2 more babies were taken in and 1 baby was reunited with a grandmother who had been found. All of this happened just in the 10 days we were visiting.
When a baby is found, Ivan (founder, manager and daddy) at MIA is the first call the police make. Although great efforts are made to find family, rarely is this successful. The baby who has been taken in then becomes a new sister or brother to the rest of the children. By the time we left Kenya, 18 babies were being cared for by their new family at MIA.
The alarming increase in abandoned babies spurred Ivan to create ‘One Tribe Mama’ which works to empower young women by training them to sew and learn business practices. The women have built strength, confidence and independence in order to care for their own children.
All of this is happening as the smooth routine continues to serve about 80 more children at Mission in Action. They all have their chores including seemingly endless studying and are fed, clothed, educated, cared for and safely housed.
What an amazing place and incredible people.