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

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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.

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.