Expanding Opportunities

Expanding Opportunities' mission is to increase self-sufficiency and cultural awareness through educational and charitable projects for people nationally and internationally. It is a broad mission designed to be clear enough to guide and flexible enough to respond to a variety of human need.
Oct 7, 2014

FAIL FORWARD:New Life for the Girl's Rescue Center

The Rescue Center and Site of the Academy
The Rescue Center and Site of the Academy

FAIL FORWARD:

Several years ago, Expanding Opportunities was seeking the best way to assist the girl child. We sought the input of successful Kenyan women. FGM, female genital mutilation, early forced marriage and girl child education topped the list.   Along with community members, it was decided that a rescue center was needed to ensure a safe place for girls to be while they were educated. Research, meetings, agreements and a location in a supportive community, and our new project to assist Pastoralist Girls was begun. We conducted a successful community education day, rescued girls and continued to add sponsored pastoralist girls but the funding journey for the rescue center was long, tiresome and unfruitful for quite a while. After a few years we were awarded a grant to build the center! The Community Based Organization signed the agreement and the work began. Many things had changed and people had moved forward in other directions. It wasn’t long before we discovered that the CBO would be unable to hold their part of the agreement so the construction plans were rapidly scaled down. A bit fearful to admit the changes in the agreement, they continued to hope we would change. The agreement stated they were to operate the Center after construction. They hoped we would operate the center. In the end the Center was built, not to completion but to a stage it could be occupied. Expanding Opportunities placed a woman in the center and one rescued girl and left it for the CBO to operate. They were unable to operate the center so the project, though still funding rescued girls, was not making proper use of the Center.

Expanding Opportunities learned a great deal from this stalled project. We continued to work in the community and kept lines of communication open.  Slowly all the members of the CBO understood what had happened and understood that we were still committed to the community and the girl child.

When a church asked that we build a school in memory of a parishioner, we explored three rural areas. The community where the Rescue Center is located pressed to be selected. Because of our ongoing relationship and their eagerness to have us, their community was selected.

We have both learned a great deal:

1. Agreements need to be clearly discussed with ALL individuals in a group to assure total understanding in as many language groups as represented.

2. Keep the lines of communication open always. State and restate what you can and cannot do clearly and often.

3. Misunderstandings are bound to come. Working across and through different languages, cultures, needs and dreams makes a rocky path. Keep your organizations’ mission in the forefront.

3. Don’t Give Up. Change, mold, reform but don’t give up!

 We dissolved the MOU for the rescue center, obtained legal possession of the land and Expanding Opportunities is building the school on the site of the rescue center and will incorporate Girl Child Rescue into the school program.

As they say in Kenya – “We must persevere.”

Links:

Sep 22, 2014

IS IT WORTH IT?

John
John's marks

Is it worth it? You decide –here is one example -

 John Kimotho Gachau came to Expanding Opportunities’ children’s home, JWHS, in the year 2004. His single mother had died in 1997 and he was living with his grandmother. She was not able to educate John or provide for his basic needs. He was passed to other relatives occasionally but they too were unable to assist him. His step-grandfather approached us for help.

 John joined JWHS in 2004 and attended public school in Class Five. He performed well both in the Home and in school. When he reached high school, we enrolled him in ROHI High School.

 Expanding Opportunities does not usually assist children past High School except for a short course to obtain vocational skills. But John had a sponsor who wanted to take him to college. She first paid for him to reenroll in ROHI to try to obtain a B+ and therefore be eligible for a bursary, (scholarship). He received a B plain on both KCSE examinations. She then enrolled him in a short course and began to seek a college for him. She assisted him to enroll in JKUAT in 2014, then she herself had a financial crisis and is no longer able to assist John.

 Struggling for funding and grateful for all that is done for him; Expanding Opportunities and John are moving slowly forward. In his first year,he has received all A’s and Bs in his courses. He is positive, grateful and ready to continue to work hard, do well, get a good job and give back to other needy kids.  

 YES IT IS WORTH IT.

John
John

Links:

Aug 4, 2014

The Senior Counselor Speaks

Coal burning
Coal burning

Maine has many forests, lakes and streams, and many Summer Camps.  Camp Forest is a unique camp.  Not only is our programming a full immersion experience in the forest, but also integrates wilderness education, interpersonal relationships and psycho-emotional healing in all the activities. Camp Forest also has the mission to offer this camp experience to low income children. Through the assistance of donors, finances have not been a barrier to camp attendance. 

Children of parents limited by physical ailments, opiate addictions, or family tragedy are not uncommon. These children are not often given an opportunity to heal, or experience how the natural world can help them.  Holding a frog in her hand and seeing its life, learning to hike and be strong to overcome physical restrictions, spending time playing and being happy brings the opportunities to confidently face life. 

 Camp Forest has provided a bit of stability for children who are forced to sleep in the vehicle with their single mother, or those with unstable home lives. Occasionally these children would run off and cry to a tree for a while, then return ready to face the world.

We have watched children who have problems with school, gain interest and a passion for learning at Camp Forest. We have watched children who would not listen, grow into amazing, attentive students. 

 Our low camper to staff ratio, un -walled free learning style, coyote teaching techniques, respect for all life, and peer mentoring is designed to find a child’s own inner passion for learning. We have successfully blended these children with high functioning children from healthy and skilled families.

  If you want to help us make a difference in a child’s life, Step up and Do it.  

 Thank you.  

 Sincerely,

Adam Stone, Senior Counselor

(lightly edited)

Using your senses
Using your senses
Challenge your fears
Challenge your fears
Concentrating on work
Concentrating on work
Identifying plants
Identifying plants
Shelter
Shelter

Links:

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