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...
Aug 20, 2014

The challenge of creating a sustainable school lunch program

children lined up for lunch of maize and beans
children lined up for lunch of maize and beans

Without question, providing a school lunch to a Kenyan student is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep the young boys and girls served by the Global Interfaith Partnership doing well in school. For only $25 per school year, we are able to provide a nutritious noon meal for a student who otherwise might not eat much all day.  Children's health improves; their school attendance improves; their academic performance improves. Teachers tell us that students who used to struggle to come to school each day are now attending regularly and performing at the top of their class.  It is a remarkable thing!

Even as we feed over 3000 children in 18 primary schools daily, we know that there are still many hungry children in other area schools who do not benefit from our program.  From the beginning, we have sought ways to encourage the schools to support a lunch program independently.  Raising the necessary funds is almost impossible for schools with very limited resources in such a rural area, and serving very impoverished children. 

Recently we built cow sheds in 3 of the primary schools, and a group of Indiana elementary students raised the money needed for 3 pregnant heifer.  Our hope is that these cows will provide both the milk needed for cooking, as well as some income to support lunch program supplies like maize and beans.  In addition, we want the students to learn about managing livestock, skills they can take home to their individual families.  We are already seeing the benefits to these three schools, and hope this is the first step in helping them to have sustainable school lunch programs.

Through your support we have seen the impact the school lunch program has had upon the children.  Our goal is to help a few of our partner schools be able to support the lunch independently so we can assist other schools in the area.  We thank you for your generous response to the needs of these hungry, but very motivated, boys and girls!

the new cow sheds
the new cow sheds
cow with her new calf
cow with her new calf

Links:

Aug 8, 2014

Meet Everlyn, a non-traditional student

Everlyn
Everlyn

Many of the students supported by the Global Interfaith Partnership are unable to complete their primary and secondary education in the traditional 12 years.  Their schooling is disrupted by family illnesses and deaths, the many challenges of extreme poverty, and, for many girls, cultural pressures to drop out of school after 8th grade, usually to marry young and have children. 

It is rare for a student to return to school after dropping out.  However, hear Everlyn's remarkable story:

"My name is Everlyn.  My father died in 2002 leaving my mother as a single parent to nine children.

"When I was 14 and had completed 8th grade I got married and had two children, Gregory and Donald.  My husband died in 2008 while he was still very young, so, like my mom, I was left alone to raise my children. 

"My boys were enrolled in the [Global Interfaith Partnership] school lunch program in 2009.  At that time a member of the staff approached me and proposed that in addition to supporting my children [Global Interfaith Partnership] would support me if I went back to school.

"I jumped at the opportunity!

i am currently in my final year of high school and an active participant in the journalism club and the Christian Union Club in addition to fulfilling my duties as a mother.  Sometimes students tease me because I am much older than them and because I am in the same grade as my younger brother, but I know that God has made a way for me to continue my education.

"My dream is to become a high school physics teacher when I complete school, and I am so thankful for the new beginning and second opportunity I have been given."

Everlyn now is in her final year of high school, and will take the national exam in November.  Your financial support has made Everlyn's dream possible, and we are confident some day she will become a teacher.  We thank you for your generosity!

Links:

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!

Links:

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