If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room

By: Jacqueline Herrera, Co-founder and Director

Last week, I received an email that included the following:

“Looking at the number of batteries, 8 at 12 volt, they could have designed this as 8 strings at 12 volts, 4 strings at 24 volt or 2 strings at 48 volt.  The last would be best, as three strings is generally the limit for good performance and 2 is better.  The 16 solar panels at 120 watts to stay within the 120 amp limit of the two 60 amp rated charge controllers mean the system is most likely designed to be 24 or 48 volt system.”

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Source: Google Images

I stared at that paragraph and re-read it maybe around 8 times, trying to follow the numbers and volts and watts and see how they were actually related, but it was all Greek to me. One of the coolest parts of my job is the amazing knowledge I gain when researching and structuring our projects on the ground. One day I’m looking up the life cycle of a Tilapia, another day I’m researching virus and disease in tomatoes, and the next could be propagation of water born illnesses in unmaintained wells. Some of the stuff is random, but it’s all fascinating and challenging.

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Kitechild Co-Founder assessing the situation for a potential project in Bapatla, India

Books, Google, and research papers aren’t enough though. After we had a setback in one of our solar projects in Liberia, due to our lack of understanding the principles of such an installation when it came down to troubleshooting, I knew we needed to be more prepared for the next time. So I called in the big guns: Engineers Without Borders. You may have heard of a similar organization, the prestigious Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers. Engineers Without Borders works in the same way – expert, knowledgeable leaders in the engineering field volunteer their time and expertise to underdeveloped communities and small NGOs needing assistance with technical projects. With our new partnership, they have so far provided much needed insight on our issues in Liberia, and expert guidance on a new solar installation in Kenya.

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Source: Engineers Without Borders USA

There is a saying that states “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. At Kitechild, we are always learning about new ways to help communities care for their vulnerable children. The work itself is rewarding, but we can always learn more from others. It is amazing to see how other people are doing their part to do good in the world by sharing their knowledge, time, and expertise to others. Whether that is engineering, medicine, teaching, etc. you never know how your job could one day do so much to improve the lives of others. There is always something more to learn, and keeping that door open and welcoming the insight of others is a crucial savvy move for any company or organization. We are very excited about this partnership and look forward to it benefitting the outcomes of our projects. Check out www.ewb-usa.org for more information.

Kids Shouldn’t Have to Choose Between Eating and Learning

No child should ever have to choose between going to school and having enough to eat, but that is the unfortunate reality for many of our partner homes. They are under operating under the financial burden of caring for too many children and school takes the back seat to basic, pressing needs. Children have the right to have their basic needs met and the education to rise out of poverty! Our greenhouse project works to make sure that the kids at St. Catherine’s home will have their bodies and minds fed, by growing enough vegetables to supplement their diets and to have a surplus that is sold in markets so that school fees are covered. Even more amazing is that we have a matching donor who will match donations up to $10,000! So please join us and help this project happen! http://www.kitechild.org/projects/st-catherines-children-home-greenhouse/

No Child Should Have to Choose Between A Meal And An Education

If you had to choose between going to school, or getting enough to eat, the choice would be pretty obvious: food, as a basic human need in life, will always prevail as a one of the things we ‘must’ have in order to survive.

But we believe every child should have an opportunity to thrive in life, not just survive. Living day by day does not do any good for the human spirit and the collective good of the world. We want children, our future, to thrive – and one way to do this is to have them learn as much as possible about the world, to be educated and have their eyes opened by the endless possibilities that exist in the world.

 

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School should not be a privilege, but many vulnerable children live under precarious circumstances where their caregivers have to choose between having enough money to pay for food, or having enough money to send a child to school.

We believe education for every child should be a right, just the way in which clean water and quality nutrition should be a right. For many of our orphanage partners, under the financial strain of caring for many children, school becomes a secondary priority, because they have to make sure there is enough food on the table each night.

But what if there was both food on the table, and also backpacks lined up by the door? What if caregivers and the children themselves didn’t have to worry every month if their ‘sponsor’ was going to send enough money to help pay for their school?

Our greenhouse project at St. Catherine’s Children’s Home will do two amazing things – grow enough vegetables so that the kids have a more varied and nutritious diet at home, and have surplus produce that will be sold in local markets so that school fees can be paid.

 

 

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Photo-0009Daissy Joyce from school (1)

The project consists of refurbishing four greenhouses on the home’s property outside of nairobi, installing proper irrigation drips, fixing their well, as well as one year’s salary for a farm manager to oversee progress and production. We have been in close contact with St. Catherine’s since 2012, and have followed them as they have stayed committed to providing the best care for their children – we first met them at their location in the Kibera slum. They have managed to secure land on the outskirts of Nairobi, and are slowly to moving the children out of the slum and into a cleaner, more open, and safer environment.

Today, we are inviting you to join us in nourishing bodies and minds – because no child should have to choose between a meal or an education. The best news of all, is that we have a generous donor who will match all donations up to $5,000 – so whatever your donate today, will have double the impact. For more details on the project, and to make a donation, please view our project page on our site.

 

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All photos: St. Catherine’s Children’s Home

Written by: Jacqueline Herrera

Greenhouses in Kenya Are Creating Change for Children

The six greenhouses at the Fiwagoh Home in Nakuru, Kenya are a success! The home is currently saving over $10,000 in their annual food costs thanks to the fruits and veggies that are growing in the greenhouses. Those savings go directly to making life better for the kids at the home and pay for additional caretakers, which they need and deserve!