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.

life straw

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.

water fiwgoh

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!

wendesday-fiwagoh

Planting the Seeds of Education and Nutrition

fiwagoh inside

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!

Checking In With The Chickens of Change

chickens

Chickens at the farm at the Ashirvad Home.

Chickens bringing change to the lives of children? That’s exactly what’s happening in India. There have been exciting new developments at our chicken farm at the Ashirvad Home in Tuni, India. There are now over 100 full-grown chickens and 62 new baby chicks.
The farm has 60 chickens known as “country chickens,” and they are the ones that gave birth to the new baby chicks in the last 12 weeks. The other half of the adult chickens are known as Vanajara chickens. While the home lost some of them to a heatwave and nearby dogs, the remaining 51 Vanajara chickens will be laying eggs within the next month. Losing some chickens will probably always be an inevitable part of the chicken farm, but with enough to keep breeding, the project will remain sustainable and productive.

Kitechild funded the purchase of the chickens, the construction of the coop, labor for the farm and the cost of caring for the chickens, such as vaccinations.

Kitechild funded the purchase of the chickens, the construction of the coop, labor for the farm and the cost of caring for the chickens, such as vaccinations.

The home is now preparing to sell the country chickens in the marketplace, while keeping a portion of the birds to keep the breeding and the project going. They are expecting 250 rupees, or around $4, for each country hen and 500 rupees, or about $8, for each country rooster. The money generated in the marketplace will be used to get the children fresh fruits every other day starting in June.

shed

Chicken shed at the farm.

Last year, the farm constructed a shed that used palm leaves to keep the chickens cool in the summer heat. However, they found the leaves wore out quickly and will need to replace their roof. Instead of utilizing leaves, this time they are looking for a longer-term solution with a tarpaulin sheet, which is a heavy-duty waterproof cloth. This way they won’t have to keep changing out the leaves and they can better protect their shed and chickens.

Some of the children living at the Ashirvad Home.

Some of the children living at the Ashirvad Home.

This chicken farm takes place for the benefit of the 79 children living at the home. The income generated by selling the chickens is used to supplement their diets with fresh produce, which is an added nutritional benefit along with the fresh eggs now available to the children, as well. As we watch this project grow, the home will eventually be able to afford to purchase computers and hire a teacher for the children. It is really valuable for the children to learn computing skills for the Indian job market and will help secure their futures and break the cycle of poverty. To learn more about this project and the chickens of change please click here!

The children of the Ashirvad Home, whose education and nutrition is benefitted from the chicken farm.

l The children of the Ashirvad Home, whose education and nutrition is being improved from the chicken farm.

Solar Powered Solutions

Some of the 36 children benefitting from the solar project.

Some of the 36 children benefitting from the solar project.

The first thing most of us do in the mornings and the last thing we do at night is flip a switch. Yet, we very rarely put much thought into how much this modern convenience improves our lives. With the flip of a switch we can eat, read, walk to the bathroom at night and put to rest our fears if we hear a strange noise.  For 36 children in Rajamundry, India, this is something they’ll be able to have for the very first time. And some added bonuses? It will be through the sustainable energy of solar power, so it won’t negatively impact the environment. Additionally, since the home doesn’t have electricity, they can save the money they would be spending on having traditional electricity installed and on those monthly electrical bills. And those savings can get passed onto providing the children with the best care, access to nutrition and educational needs.

lamp home

The exterior of the children’s home.

This year, we were fortunate enough to visit India and the LAMP home for the second time, where these kids live. One thing we realized is that the home was in need of some repairs, which they could not afford. One of the things they needed was to have their roof reinforced. The good news is that the roof construction is now complete, thanks to a private donor working with Kitechild. The roof is now strong enough to support the solar lighting installation, which means that the children will now have a better roof to live under, as well as electricity.

Construction is underway at the LAMP home.

Construction is underway at the LAMP home.

The lighting installation consists of a total of six lights- three indoor and three outdoor lights. The indoor lights ensure that the kids will be able to do schoolwork during the evenings, which will improve their learning and potential performance in school. We all know how important education is to future opportunities, and the indoor lights can be a stepping stone to helping these children break the cycle of poverty. The outdoor lights are also really important, as they will keep the home safe and secure after the sun sets. The home is located in the northeast jungle of Andra Pradesh, near Rajahmundry. The area around the home has snakes and other potential hazards, so the safety of the children will improve with the outdoor lights and will help to eliminate injuries by improving visibility.

One of the children living at the LAMP home.

One of the children living at the home.

Here’s a little background on this home, as there are often misconceptions and misinformation about children’s homes. 36 children reside at the home, 20 of whom are true orphans, in the sense that they have no parents to care for them. The other sixteen are children whose families are living with extreme poverty, which makes it difficult for them to provide for their children. Through the home, the children have three meals everyday, are able to attend school and are under the care of long-term caretakers, who live with them at the LAMP home. The families of these children visit them whenever they are able. We’re hoping through this solar light project that these children will be one step closer to rising above poverty and will one do be able to provide for themselves and their families.

Some of the 36 children living at the LAMP home in India.

Some of the children living at the LAMP home in India.

Lighting Up Lives

led

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!

 

 

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  

Inspiration for Education

jac kennedy love of books

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” This Motivation Monday quote comes from former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Instilling the love of reading and school can open the world for any child, regardless of what circumstance they are currently in. Let’s dedicate this week to promoting education for all children!

 

Maintaining the Spirit of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was this past Tuesday, but one day is not nearly enough to honor the achievements of women around the globe. The IWD is not just a time to celebrate all that women have done, but to talk about the work that still remains for the world to reach gender equality.

Honoree Malala Yousafzai attends the 23rd Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards hosted by Glamour Magazine at Carnegie Hall on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Malala Yousafzai at the Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Nov. 11, 2013. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

One major component of achieving equality will be securing education rights for girls. 31 million girls should be in primary school and 32 million girls should be in secondary school, but are kept from receiving their education, according to the UN. But, more and more people are standing up for the right to an education. Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for boldly going to school. She has since gone on to speak up for the rights of education and became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. As more people follow in Malala’s footsteps, education will become a given right for girls, which will lead to healthier families, less violence and more economic stability. For us, this issue is very important because more educated women leads to less poverty and poverty is the number one reason why children live in orphanages. And as women gain education, marriages are delayed, which helps to eliminate unwanted pregnancies, which is also a contributing factor to children in orphanages.

In this Aug. 9 2011 photo, Gloria Steinem laughs during an interview with The Associated Press, in New York. Four decades after she helped found the women's movement, the feminist icon is in a reflective mode, writing a memoir and participating in an HBO documentary on her life. "Gloria: In Her Own Words" premieres Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, on HBO. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Gloria Steinem during an interview with the Associated Press on Aug. 9 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Thanks to women like Gloria Steinem, we have come a long way on the road of women’s rights. We have more opportunities than ever to become the women we want to be. However, there are still problems that need to be addressed in the workplace. Women are still left behind when it comes to pay equality, earning only 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. Furthermore, America is only one of three countries that does not have paid maternity leave laws (the other two being Papua New Guinea and Oman). As we near the 2016 presidential election, hopefully further legislation will be passed to protect and support women.

Indire Ghandi.

Indire Ghandi.

Violence against women is still an epidemic that needs our attention in order to be eradicated. 4.5 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation and nearly all (98%) are women and girls. Around the world, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to the UN. As Indira Ghandi’s quote points out, we cannot have a peaceful world while violence is still a reality for so many. The UN and other organizations are working on fixing this through educational initiatives and working with men and boys to bring an end to gender-based violence.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks after receiving the 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. The New Hampshire-based human rights organization awarded its highest honor to Clinton for her efforts to promote human rights for women and through Internet freedom. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton receiving the 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize  on Dec. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This year was the 105th International Women’s Day and looking back, there has been so much achieved in the name of social justice and civil rights in the past century. We currently have a woman in the democratic primaries and women now earn the majority of college degrees. Reflecting on how far we’ve come, I can only imagine what strides will continue to be made, as the world becomes more just and equal for all people. This year’s theme for IWD is “Pledge for Parity,” and that’s a pledge well-worth making.

 

Resources

http://fortune.com/2016/03/08/international-womens-day-trivia/?xid=soc_socialflow_twitter_FORTUNE

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-saloranta/building-a-planet-5050-by_b_9385690.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erica-diamond/international-womens-day-_32_b_9409482.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/08/africa/iwd-uganda-child-sex-worker/

http://www.one.org/us/

http://mashable.com/2014/03/08/quotes-international-womens-day/?crlt.pid=camp.sSKhte5VSQZh#_LjXHSpyxSqS

http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_70640.html

http://www.biography.com/people/malala-yousafzai-21362253#synopsis

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/whats-really-behind-the-gender-wage-gap/462363/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/paid-family-leave-obama-work

http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women

http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/prevention

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/11/women-are-dominating-men-at-college-blame-sexism/