Purifying Water and Changing Lives

wendesday fiwagoh

We’ve been working in Kenya for four years now, having constructed greenhouses, trained caretakers in first aid, set up chicken coops, and even gave clean water access to hundreds of children. One thing we’ve realized through working closely with our partner homes and their communities, is the importance of implementing projects that are income-generating. Why? Well, because most children’s homes are sorely underfunded and need sustainable ways to generate income, in order to continually to give the best care possible to children.

welcome to the family water

Enter our latest project: water purification. Through our water purification project, we’ll be able to hire more caretakers for children who desperately need them. We’ve teamed up with the Welcome to the Family Home, which is located in Nakuru, Kenya. It’s the home to 44 children, many of whom have suffered from sexual abuse or from living on the streets.

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So how does purifying water bring about change for these children? The home already has its own borehole, which has been tested for safety and quality already. So, with the purchase of a reverse osmosis water treatment plant, the water can then be bottled and sold. The home is situated in a middle-class community where there is a market for bottled water and there are also a lot of conferences that come through, also needing water. They’ll be selling the water in reusable containers, to keep the project eco-friendly, and the sales have a project income of $25,200 for the home. With this income, the home will be able to pay for 8 additional caregivers, which is especially important given the traumatic background that some of these children have lived through. And the home will also be able to hire a social worker, which will help these children be integrated back into the community. To be a part of this project and help initiate change, please click here.

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Kitechild’s co-founder, Jacqueline Herrera, will be going to Kenya in just a couple of weeks. She’ll be visiting the reverse osmosis plant, as well as checking-in with our projects, such as our greenhouses. So make sure to stay tuned to watch Jacqueline live in Kenya!

Traveling to Kenya: Creating and Checking In

In a few weeks, Kitechild’s co-founder, Jacqueline Herrera, will be going to Kenya! We’ve made a lot of progress since the last time we visited Kenya several years ago and now have future projects on the horizon. Here’s a look at some of the projects we’ll be visiting:

Welcome to the Family Home, where we’ll be running a water purification project.

Welcome to the Family Home, where we’ll be running a water purification project.

We are currently working on a water purification project at the Welcome to the Family Home. Jacqueline will be visiting the home, as well as meeting with the surrounding community to see how they will be involved in the project. This project involves setting up the home to purify the water from their borehole, through a reverse osmosis process. The water will then be bottled into reusable containers and sold to the middle-class community that surrounds the home. The 44 children living at the home will now have access to their own clean water and the income generated through selling the water will pay for additional long-term staff. As many of these children come from abusive or traumatic backgrounds, the hiring of caretakers and social workers will be very important to the proper care of these children. Check out the project here. And stay tuned from live updates from Jacqueline, including her visit to a reverse osmosis treatment plant to show us the ins and outs of this innovative process.

The greenhouses and crops at the Fiwagoh Home.

The greenhouses and crops at the Fiwagoh Home.

Jacqueline will also be checking in with our greenhouse projects, while in Kenya. We have two greenhouse projects already up and running, at the Fiwagoh and Watoto Wema Homes. She will also be visiting the St. Catherine’s Home, where we are currently fundraising for a similar greenhouse project. This greenhouse project benefits 43 children living at the home in Nairobi. The vegetables grown at the greenhouse will first go to the kids to supplement their diets. The excess will then be sold in the markets and the income generated will pay for the school fees of the older children and to hire a social worker, who will help reintegrate the children back into the community. Learn more about this project here and check out our live updates from the home in the coming weeks.

The children at the Good Samaritan Home, receiving the LED bulbs.

The children at the Good Samaritan Home, receiving the LED bulbs.

Another home that Jacqueline is looking forward to visiting and updating you on is the Good Samaritan Home, located in the Soweto slums of Nairobi. We recently switched out 44 traditional light bulbs at the home, for LED lights. With the money saved on electrical costs, the home has been able to hire an additional caretaker for the infants and children at the home. We’re really proud of the change these light bulbs have brought and are looking forward to their bright futures.

With all of our projects, we’ll be keeping you posted with live updates, live videos from the field and more photos! We’re looking forward to checking in with you from Kenya!

Making A Difference From A Distance

We often get inquiries from kind-hearted people, who are looking to give back to vulnerable children. Seeing their photos and reading their stories touch many readers and motivate them to act. Volunteering is an important part of making a difference and using your abilities to better the world.

Some of the boys at the Ashirvad Home in India.

Some of the boys living at the Ashirvad Home in India.

Being a social media ambassador is a powerful way to spread information about vulnerable children and to tell others about the mission of Kitechild. By sharing our posts and telling your friends and family about us, you can help give a voice to these children. Other ways to help include hosting local events to raise funding or awareness for vulnerable children. We’re currently working on setting up campus programs to provide opportunities for volunteering across the country.

Kitechild volunteers on campus.

Kitechild volunteers on campus.

As you may have noticed, we haven’t listed visiting an orphanage among our volunteer opportunities. While it is a well-intentioned endeavor, it often has unintended negative results on the children. These children have often gone through personal traumas and difficulties, particularly from living without their families. Most people who travel to an orphanage to volunteer usually only go for a short period of time, which leaves the children with additional broken relationships and hardships.

Some of the children living at the HHK Home in Honduras.

Some of the children living at the HHK Home in Honduras.

There are other reasons why we don’t support sending volunteers to foreign country, otherwise known as voluntourism. Often, the volunteers don’t speak the same language as the children, which makes it difficult to engage in meaningful conversation.  In addition, there are little to no regulations or background checks for foreign volunteers, which puts the children at risk for abuse.

Children living at the LAMP Home in India, where we currently have a solar lighting project.

Children living at the LAMP Home in India, where we currently have a solar lighting project.

Sometimes the best way to support a vulnerable child isn’t glamorous and won’t allow you the joy of playing and caring for the child in person. You can have a bigger impact on the lives of these children by supporting Kitechild, either through spreading the word or investing in a project. We currently have three active projects that need funding: a solar lighting project in India, a water purification project in Kenya and a greenhouse project in Kenya. These projects are sustainable and have meaningful impacts on the education, nutrition and quality of life of these children. Consider supporting one of our projects and joining us in transforming the lives of vulnerable children. 

In the Clear: The Value of Clean Water

Did you know that 783 million people do not have access to clean water? That figure, given from the UN, is a sad reality for many on our planet, but a problem that Kitechild is addressing and has already helped hundreds of children have access to life-sustaining water.

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Our clean water project in Kenya has provided clean water to over 200 children and the staff of the Fiwagoh Mission Home, located on the outskirts of Lake Naivasha. We installed 5 Lifestraw Community Filters at the home, which allowed them access to their own water. Since these children have had access to clean water, the number of waterborne illness has decreased and as a result, they have missed fewer days from school. Being able to succeed in the classroom is important for all children, but especially those in impoverished circumstances. Education is the key to more opportunities, to brighter futures and to empowerment.

fiwgoh clean water

The home can now save $2,400 USD per year, since they are no longer purchasing their own water supply. As a result, they have re-allocated these funds towards the salary of an additional caregiver. Our field liaison has kept us informed on the new caregiver, saying: “The savings from the process of purifying water through boiling or buying have been used to hire an extra caretaker called Beatrice Wanjiku. She previously worked on casual basis but now has been hired on permanent basis.” This is especially important for the home, as it is understaffed, and children thrive when given more adults, who can care and supervise them.

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Like all projects, there are challenges that come up that need to be addressed. In this case, the well at the home was contaminated, which the home was able to fix through the use of the water filters. We’ve known the struggles, and also success, of partnering with this home, as we also have a greenhouse project, which provides the children with fresh produce and helps funds their education. Water, food and schooling are important human rights every child should have access to, and thanks to Kitechild supporters, there are now hundreds who do!

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Planting the Seeds of Education and Nutrition

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Our greenhouse project in Kenya is expanding! The greenhouse workers are now planting even more produce, in addition to what they currently grow: tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, kale and onions. From those vegetables, they have generated nearly $6,000 by selling the produce they grow- income which has been reinvested into the farm, keeping it sustainable. They have installed irrigation drips, which is even more eco-friendy and creates more productivity for less cost. They’re also working on opening a grocery stand on the highway to bring in even more funds!

As the farm continues to progress, the funds the greenhouses generate pay for the education of the older children living at the Fiwagoh Home. In addition to being provided with fresh vegetables everyday, the older kids can also have their schooling fees covered. Let’s keep planting the seeds of nutrition and education!

Water Wednesday: New Project in Kenya

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We have an exciting new project we just launched: Water Purification in Kenya! This income-generating project is happening at the Welcome to the Family Home, where 44 children live. Through a reverse osmosis water treatment plant, the home will treat water from their own borehole, which has already been approved for quality and safety by the local Water and Sanitation Services. Since the home is situated within an upper-middle class community that has a high demand for purified water, there is a huge potential for income-generation, which will be used to pay the salaries of caretakers and a social worker. This is real change in action! To be a part of this project please click here.

 

Lighting Up Lives

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We recently replaced 44 light bulbs for LED lights in Kenya. This small change will have a big impact, as it will allow the home to save on their electric bill. What this means is that they can use more electricity for less money. So the 70 children that live there will now have lights during the evenings to do their school work. More lights and more chances to study- all while saving 90% on their electrical costs!

 

 

We Honor Earth Day Today and All Year Round

Today is Earth Day, a day to open up some very important conversations regarding the responsibilities and commitments we all have to take on, for the future of our planet. From solar panels to aquaponics, we are working to make sure that our projects not only help children, but help care for planet Earth.

aquaponics

In Honduras, we have an aquaponics project. Aquaponics is a sustainable food system, which uses traditional aquaculture (the raising of fish) in combination with hydroponics (raising plants in water). By raising tilapia in a symbiotic environment that also grows vegetables in the water, a complete sustainable ecosystem is formed… as the farm breeds tilapia while the veggies grow in the surrounding pond, and the pond then fertilizes the farm. And aquaponics uses only a fraction of the water that traditional farming uses! Learn more about how we feed 27 children fish and produce in a sustainable way.

led bulbs good samaritan

In Kenya, we recently replaced over 40 traditional light bulbs with LED bulbs. Did you know that by simply switching to LED bulbs, you can save over 90% of a current energy bill. LED bulbs also last 20 times longer than normal light bulbs, which means less waste and less pollution from the manufacturing, packaging and shipping of light bulbs. In addition to helping the environment, this project also saves money, on energy bills which goes towards the improving the quality of life for 70 children. Find out how these eco-friendly lightbulbs are changing lives.

watoto planting

Also in Kenya, we have two greenhouse projects and have another in the works. Greenhouses are a great way to grow plants all year round, without using electrical heat. By growing your own vegetables, you cut down on the pollution caused by transporting produce to supermarkets. Also, by not using harmful, polluting chemicals, we can keep feeding children without harming Mother Earth. Check out our latest greenhouse project.

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We will continue to create sustainable projects and to honor our mission of caring for the environment, while working to improve lives around the world. How are you going to go green today?

 

Bring Back Our Girls: 2 Years Later

Photo: Unicef Canada

Photo: Unicef Canada

Two years ago, the world witnessed the brutal abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Nigeria, who were simply studying for their classes, when their lives changed forever. While we still don’t know where many of those girls are today, at least 57 have successfully and daringly escaped. There is new hope that at least some of the girls are alive, from a video released by the terrorist group. None of the girls have been rescued and hundreds may still be in danger. The world came together to protest this gross injustice and we have to use that energy to keep moving forward in the fight for human rights.

Photo: (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo: (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s a heartfelt video from one of the mothers speaking to her missing daughter. It reminds us that we all love the same way and that we need to make this world a safe place for everyone.

 

We work to care for vulnerable children around the world, who are often living in orphanages. Never has this work been more needed, as we now have so many children displaced from their homes. It’s estimated that 30 million children have been displaced due to war and conflict, which hasn’t happened since the end of World War II. Like the girls kidnapped from Nigeria, many vulnerable children are robbed of their chance to go to school. Our mission is to elevate the quality of life and break the cycle of poverty for children, and an essential part of that is education. Education is the key that opens up a world of possibilities to children and can be the difference between staying or overcoming poverty.

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We’re currently fundraising for a project in Kenya, which involves the refurbishing of 4 greenhouses on the property of the St. Catherine’s Children’s Home. Those greenhouses will allow the home to grown fresh produce, which will then be given to the 43 children living there, as well as sold in the markets. The profits gained from selling the vegetables will help pay for the school fees for the older children. Since the home is in Kenya, higher education is not a free service for children. We’ve done similar greenhouse projects to cover educational costs at the Watoto Wema Home and the Fiwagoh Home, both located in Kenya. To help these children receive the education they deserve, please visit our project site.

 

Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/world/africa/nigeria-boko-haram.html?_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gordon-brown/bring-back-our-girls-anniversary-boko-haram_b_9692818.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/14/africa/nigeria-chibok-girls-reaction/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/r-evon-idahosa/mothers-of-girls-stolen-by-boko-haram_b_9695826.html

http://reliefweb.int/report/world/30-million-children-displaced

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boko-haram-chibok-schoolgirls-new-video_us_570f965fe4b0ffa5937e4768?utm_hp_ref=world&utm_hp_ref=world

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gordon-brown/bring-back-our-girls-anniversary-boko-haram_b_9692818.html?slideshow=true#gallery/351963/6