Global Interfaith Partnership

The Global Interfaith Partnership (GIP) is an innovative model of interfaith and cross-cultural cooperation in which congregations from diverse faith traditions in Indianapolis are working with a similar coalition of congregations in rural western Kenya. The cornerstone of our work is the recognition that all people of faith, regardless of their particular faith perspective or cultural tradition, share a commitment to mercy and social justice. Building upon that shared commitment, the two coalitions are responding to the multiple needs of Maseno Division's most at-risk children. Over half the households in this rural area near Lake Victoria (Maseno Division of Nyanza Province) are in extr...
Jul 29, 2014

Caroline excels in spite of her obstacles!

Caroline as a high school senior
Caroline as a high school senior

Caroline's parents died when she was young.  She and her younger siblings moved in with their grandmother, but the grandmother's own frail health meant Caroline had a lot of responsibility taking care of the family.  In spite of these challenges, Caroline was the top performing student of her class throughout primary school. With tuition support from the Umoja Project, she was able to go to high school, and again she excelled.  However, in her third year, she disappeared from school one day.  After weeks of trying to trace her, the Umoja Project staff found her staying with a distant relative with her newborn son.  She was ashamed of the circumstances that led to her pregnancy and assumed she would not be able to complete her schooling.

To Caroline's surprise, Umoja Project staff and school teachers worked together to make sure Caroline could resume her education.  A relative provides care for baby Charles while Caroline studies.  Back in school, Caroline quickly resumed her position at the top of her class, and has held onto it ever since. Caroline is currently in her last year of high school and is expected to perform exceedingly well, perhaps even setting a school record for her score on the national exam she will take in November!

Caroline is a soft spoken leader who presents herself with confidence. Her big, warm smile is accompanied by dimples. She says she loves her dimples, which is a small glimpse into the self-acceptance and courage of this young woman.

GET UP is critical for girls like, giving them confidence and the opportunity to see beyond challenges they currently face. Teachers, guardians and former Umoja students lead sessions on a variety of topics such as coping with emotions, legal rights and reproductive health. The attention given to the girls and the unique struggles they face gives a message to Caroline and her friends that they matter. Knowing they matter inspires them to speak up in class, to value themselves and to dream. 

Your support for young girls like Caroline equips them with the information and the confidence needed to overcome challenges they face due to their vulnerability.  We thank you for your support!

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May 22, 2014

Words of thanks from the students

Lunch time at Mawembe Kodero Primary School
Lunch time at Mawembe Kodero Primary School

While it is difficult to quantify the total impact of our school lunch program, we know the effects have been dramatic. Schools report a rise in attendance – in fact, hungry students travel long distances to attend the schools with whom we partner in order to have the one nutritious meal a day. Over time, students who eat the lunch are doing better in their studies, such that our students are now at the top of their classes academically. Over 120 of those students have now gone so far as to complete high school, and we are thrilled that 23 of our students have been admitted to university with government scholarships. These are accomplishments these young people never even dared to dream during their early childhood days when hunger threatened them to drop out of primary school.

Please take a moment to read a few words from the students themselves:

From Judith: “I would like to thank you very much, because you’ve saved many orphans who were in trouble about their lives. I would like to thank you more and more for the school lunch program. The reason I am saying that is some orphans live with their grandmothers and sometimes that grandmother doesn’t have any work and cannot give us food. Even if you go home for lunch you only get maize and water. I thank you for encouraging us to work hard to achieve something in our life. God bless you.”

From Winans: “I would like to thank you for providing us with lunch that has made the orphans who cannot afford food to have an easier time. And, in fact, one lunch has been as sweet as honey and I wish that the moment we have started taking it, it should not end. May you keep the pot boiling because I believe that there is a drop of greatness in every man. So if you go on helping us, we will really appreciate it.”

From a young girl named Bella: “When we heard the news about Umoja Project helping me, we were surprised and very, very happy. It was God’s answer to our prayers. I benefited from Umoja through sanitary towels and the school lunch program. I was able to eat more regularly. I want to make good use of the opportunity Umoja has given to me. Last term I was in position 3 out of 67. I hope to perform even better as I get ahead. I count myself blessed. Thank you.”

Your support makes a world of difference in the lives of these young students! 

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May 22, 2014

Why send girls to boarding school?

Ojolla Girls Secondary School students
Ojolla Girls Secondary School students

Often we are asked why we give the girl students the option of attending boarding school since it is more costly than a traditional day school.  We asked one of our former students, Judith, for her thoughts about why boarding school is important for girls:

"Day school entails so many risks which affect the lives of scholars. It’s with perseverance, hope, determination, together with luck that students manage to go through day school and come out successful. The challenges affect both boys and girls but the most affected ones are girls. Girl child performance has been reported to be poor in day school compared to boys as a result of the many challenges a girl encounters, which she doesn’t have control over.

As a girl who went through day school the thought of always being insecure was always on my mind. There were times when rape cases would be a major issue and this would be at dawn when girls would be going to school or late in the evening when they would be from school. But that was not the only fear. There were times when attacks would erupt and girls would be attacked and kidnapped on their way to or from school. This was not only a threat to girls but to boys who had to provide security for the girls.

Sexual harassment is the major issue when it comes to day schoolers. The different kinds of people a girl meets every day form home or from school always have the thought of taking advantage of the innocent hearts and making them drop out of school, the reason being that they have left the girls pregnant and therefore the girls can’t continue learning. This is a great worry to both teachers and guardians because it affects even bright girls and affects their future. Owing to the fact that the girls are always vulnerable, the men lure the girls with things that they know the girls need urgently ad once trapped, a girl has no otherwise but to do as the man requires in return for what she has been receiving from him.

In the case of child headed households, the thought of being insecure at home and the thought of not having food affects their concentration in school and in the end they perform poorly. It is them who have to look for food for their siblings and this has to be done within a short time before it’s dark, because the students leave school very late and in most cases they end up sleeping hungry.

A lot of time is wasted by a girl in day school as a result of walking to and from school and household chores and when the time for studying comes a girl is always too tired to study. Sometimes there is a no kerosene for their lamps and they end up not even doing their homework. The best place for girls is boarding schools, which enables them to do well in their studies, and reduces their chances of dropping out of school!"

Students can't do well in school when they are worried about their health and safety.  We thank you for your support which allows us to provide a safe and secure environment in which our students can learn!

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