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.

indiegogo welcome to family-2

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!

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

Inspiration from Anne Frank

anne frank

 

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Monday Motivation from Anne Frank, a child wise beyond her years. Even though her life was tragically short, her writings have inspired generations. May we all take her advice to heart this week and not let another moment go by before we start making positive changes and serving others. 

Changing Lives One LED Lightbulb at a Time

By: Jacqueline Herrera, Co-founder and Director

 

A while back, I wrote about how excited we were about our partnership with Engineers without Borders, an organization comprised of professional engineers who provide low cost or pro bono services to organizations doing development in the field.
Since we take on some really diverse, and often fascinating projects (aquaponics farms, greenhouses, water purification, etc.), I knew that we would immensely benefit from having an expert weigh in and give us feedback.

Photo: EWB Australia

Photo: EWB Australia

When you are dealing with different vendors across the world, jumping through language barriers, time zones, foreign currencies, and cultural practices, developing a project can get super complicated, super fast. One day we have to know everything about the life cycle of Tilapia, and the next day calculate how fast we can get six greenhouses to provide a daily serving of fruits and vegetables to over 200 children at a partner home. And let’s not even get started on calculating the energy use of a partner home in watts, and dividing that by the hours per day and multiplying it by the cost of kw/h…I lost myself there too!
This is where EWB comes in – we have a dedicated engineer who is able to provide us feedback and guidance on everything from the most trusted vendors in the field, to making sure we are considering all aspects of a project before we sign any contracts, to even helping us decide whether the project should exist at all.

Soweto Slums

Soweto Slums

Our latest foray in development was a solar panel installation at the Good Samaritan Children’s Home, located in the Soweto slums of Nairobi.  The home provides refuge to over 70 children, most whom are babies that were abandoned in the slums. With nowhere else to go, and not enough support from the government’s social services department, the home is crucial to these infants’ survival. Babies are expensive – as I learned recently when I became a mother to my 11-month old daughter – so we brainstormed a way to eliminate some costs for the home so that they would not be under financial strain and could divert what funding they have to hire a social worker, who could facilitate the adoption of some of the infants. Energy was a big cost in the home, so we immediately thought a solar panel installation would work. The home had a large open roof and we began the process of researching solar panel vendors and partners in Nairobi. The cost was upwards of $8,000, which seemed about the right price range. We then asked our engineer to look over the proposal and give us the OK or make suggestions. Instead, he told us something very different, and very exciting.

Our energy use calculations

Our energy use calculations

After looking at the energy use of the home, (which was done by compiling a table of all light bulbs, all appliances, their wattage, hours used per day, etc.), he realized that we could actually almost eliminate the energy cost of the home by simply switching to LED light bulbs – something that would cost about $500 USD. Replacing the bulbs will reduce an estimated 90% of the current energy bills, and save us over $7500 for a project that simply was not necessary.
Solar energy is important and it has its time and place, but the systems are also expensive, complex, and can be high maintenance, which is why we have moved ahead with replacing over 40 bulbs at the home, rewiring the electrical system to support this change, and providing backup bulbs for replacement. Now comes the monitoring part, which we’ll do for one year – monitoring the cost saved and how the home is able to use the funding saved to fund more important aspects of their mission – such as providing love, care, nutrition, and even reunification with families to their children.

With one of the infants at the Good Samaritan Home

With one of the infants at the Good Samaritan Home

We remain grateful and fascinated by all that we learn through our projects, and all the time and guidance that our pro-bono volunteers and partners are willing to give, to make the world a better place for all. Whether you are giving your time, your money, or your knowledge, there is so much you can do to be a part of our mission. Learn more here. And I highly recommend you replace your lightbulbs to LED!

Making A Difference One Veggie At A Time

Take a look at some of the fresh, healthy veggies produce being grown at Fiwagoh Home in Kenya through our greenhouse project. We installed 6 greenhouses, which grow various vegetables, including the ones we’re harvesting this month: lettuce, tomatoes, kale, spinach and cabbage. These veggies are used to supplement the diets of the children, while the surplus produce is sold for profit. Those profits keep the project going and also will hire additional caretakers for the home, making it a sustainable and necessary project that provides nutritious food and emotional support to the children of Fiwagoh. 

A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” -Dr. Seuss

No matter a person’s age or circumstances in life, every individual matters and deserves to have their basic needs met. Join us in our mission to support communities in empowering their vulnerable children through education, nutrition and reunification with their families. Show that #EveryChild matters today: goo.gl/B6UOlz