Newsletter Christmas 2017
Jambo, friends of Kenya Care!
We are nearing the end of the year and 2018 is upon us. Time for a retrospective flashback on a good and eventful year for Kenya Care. A big thank you for your support, because without it we would not have been able to attain what we have achieved! Asante sana, thank you very much.
Our Self Help Groups
The Wema and the Ebenezer groups completed their program with Kenya Care in 2016 after 5 years and moved on independently. We visited them last September to see how they are doing. It is very satisfying to see that they participate in the community so much stronger and know how to apply in their day-to-day lives the knowledge they acquired. Although their program has been closed we have invited them to participate in the workshops relating to empowerment and leadership that we organized for all the groups. The groups appreciated very much the continued support.
Start Jerito Group
In January, the Jerito group completed their initial lessons period with an awesome “certificates day”. This group, put together by Kibibi (herself HIV positive and earlier member of our Ebenezer group) is already now our most successful group. In a short period of time the HIV/Aids stigma was reduced enormously in this group. They have created a fantastic play about HIV/Aids issues. They performed this play already several times in the local community, among other for the Rotary Club. Besides that, the group members put a lot of effort into their income generating activities, and they are trying to create as a group a small fund to enable them to start something collectively if possible in the future. A great endeavor
This group has been active now for more than a year and is doing reasonably well. They have suffered a problem with their leaders, who were absent rather often and were primarily focused on self-interest. Thanks to additional coaching and accompaniment, it seems that the group is now moving in the right direction.
Great Hope Group
Mid this year another group was started, named Great Hope. This group was also put together by a member of an earlier Kenya Care group, Mrs Mwanahamisi. She succeeded in forming a group of mostly younger mothers and a few fathers. This group has more members who can read and write. Recently they completed the first lessons program and have just begun with applications for micro loans, so that they can begin to provide for their own upkeep
This earlier quite successful group had to put a difficult year behind them. In their last year with Kenya Care their chairlady Zakia Suleiman passed away rather suddenly. Zakia was a real leader, who knew well how to stimulate a women group and to maintain unity among them. She is very much missed. She helped us by regularly giving workshops for other groups about leadership and stigma. After a short period of set back the group has recovered and has their resilience back. This group has collectively a shamba (vegetable garden), where each rainy season they grow mais and sometimes also some vegetables.
Support for more children
With the start of two new Self Help groups we have supported many more children this year.
No less than 88 children could go to primary school, thanks to your support.
We are happy that because of the cooperation with the Maendeleo for Brighter Futures foundation nine children could move on to secondary education. This way we can offer them and their families a chance for a better future.
The challenges in 2017
Many people and animals became victim of the great drought at the beginning of 2017. Followed by an abnormally heavy rainy season, with in the month of May alone as much rain as in The Netherlands in a whole year. Many floods and nasty sicknesses as a result. In retrospect, the wettest period since 1998.
Both Ietje and Thea were in Kenya during this period and could observe themselves the ravages all this rain caused. They could not reach many places by car as roads and pathways were washed away and bridges collapsed.
Our women also suffered a lot during this period: of many their mud-and-twigs huts were ruined, and no money could be made, many women and children got sick.
As if that were not enough, around the same time the nurses of public hospitals were on strike for more than 3 months. As a consequence, medical care was only available from the much more expensive private hospitals and clinics. At Kenya Care, we suffered also a lot from this, and we had to give emergency assistance several times. Luckily that was possible as we had a small reserve fund. Unfortunately, that amount has now diminished considerably….
In general, we see that the quality of our program has improved enormously and that our staff has become more professional in leading, counseling and supporting the groups and individual women. Festus, Caroline and Alice have been with Kenya Care for years and every year we try to educate them further and we see them grow in their job.
Plans for 2018
Besides the accompaniment of our groups, we want to focus in 2018 on the following projects:
Better for people and environment.
Most families in rural Kenya do their cooking still on a 3-stone wood fire or simple stove with wood or charcoal, mostly inside the home. This is expensive, the smoke is bad for health and it is bad for the environment.
After the successful introduction of solar lights for our Kenya Care families in 2016, we now want to commit ourselves for an innovative cook stove. This technically advanced charcoal stove is very fuel efficient, produces little or no smoke, which means much lower use cost and better health wise. In short, better for man and environment. These improved jiko’s (cook stoves) will cost us 35 euros a piece.
Your financial contribution for the purchase of these life-improvers would be more than welcome!
One of the biggest problem issues are the medical expenses for the families. In case of sickness, often all the savings and even the “working capital” of the micro businesses are totally absorbed by the medical cost of seeing a physician, hospitalization and medicines. Meaning that the women have to start from scratch again. Very demotivating. The Kenyan government has meanwhile commenced with the setup of a kind of medical cost insurance. However, most Kenya Care women still cannot afford the premium for this insurance. We hope that we can lend them a hand, to make the insurance accessible for them.
You could help us with this as well.
Finally, we will give much attention to further training and accompaniment of our self-help groups. But outreaches to the local communities is also high on our priority list, as relevant information and reducing stigma are still very much needed to prevent more HIV/Aids infections.
In name of our staff in Kenya, and all Kenya Care mothers and fathers and their children, we thank you from our heart and hope you will continue to support us in the years to come, so that we can keep on doing this fantastic work.
We wish you all very enjoyable holidays and a healthy and prosperous 2018.
Ietje van Hintum