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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
l The children of the Ashirvad Home, whose education and nutrition is being improved from the chicken farm.
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.
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.
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 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 children living at the LAMP home in India.
We are proud to announce a new solar light project in India. The project begins by reinforcing the roof of the children’s home and then by installing solar lights, 3 of which will be outdoors and 3 will be indoors. This home does not currently have electricity, so these lights will be a real life-changer for the 36 children living there. By having indoor lighting, the children will be able to do their homework in the evenings and the outside lights will make the grounds a more secure and safe place to live. To learn more about this project and to invest in the solar light installation, please click here.
Greenhouses are something you may not think much about… especially when it comes to promoting social justice. But, in many parts of the world where food and finances are scarce, greenhouses can provide a sustainble food source, as well as income generating opportunities. These small glass buildings are designed to optimize plant growth and grant communities access to fresh produce throughout the year. We’ve created several greenhouse projects in Kenya, which have been successful in providing vegetables and generating funding for children, and we’re currently setting up another one.
Here’s our greenhouses being installed in Kenya.
Nearing harvest time with the tomatoes grown at the greenhouse.
In Nakuru, we installed six greenhouses, which grow lettuce, cabbage, onions, kale, spinach, green peppers, and red beets. By growing their own fresh produce, this children’s home has been able to save thousands of dollars that was normally spent on food costs. Some of that money has been reinvested into the project, through the implementation of a drip line system. The drip lines save water waste, as well as cost and time from the gardeners. Through selling the extra vegetables in the market, they’ve also been able to purchase cooking charcoal for the meals of the over 200 children who live at the home.
The plants are flourishing at our greenhouse.
We also setup a greenhouse project in Nairobi, which has been producing thousands of pounds of vegetables. Among the varieties of produce grown are lettuce, tomatoes, kale and spinach, all of which go first to the 57 children who live at the home benefitting from the greenhouse. After that, the surplus produce is sold in the markets and the profits then cover their educational costs. In Kenya older children have to pay school fees to continue their studies… and with this greenhouse, these kids can!
A teacher at the home educating the children in Nairobi.
Here’s a cool story about the merging of technology with social justice. Now satellites are being used to expose human rights violations. This is really important because lots of places where these violations are occurring don’t allow outsiders. But, now with this new technology we can have a better idea of what’s happening in the world and how we can help. Read more: goo.gl/x957Fx
As an organization working with vulnerable children around the world, one of the major obstacles we encounter is the lack of reliable data on children in many countries. When dealing with children living in orphanages or outside the home, information is sparse, and yet so vital to making meaningful change. Accurate information is needed to best serve the needs of these vulnerable children, and there is now a movement urging the UN to make sure these children are included in the statistical map. Read the open letter from JK Rowling’s foundation Lumos and support fixing the data gap on vulnerable children: http://goo.gl/OEB5CB