IT’S ONLY SHOES, BUT THEY KEEP KIDS HEALTHY, HAPPY AND IN SCHOOL
Today I bring you an example of Kris Wetch’s busy life keeping the children and teens at the Good Samaritan Children’s Home in shoes. Not only do feet grow, and shoes wear out, but there are what Kris calls those “mischievous ones” who steal shoes from their fellow students, and those absent minded ones who lose a shoe here and there. Any parent out there can attest to these problems.
In January of this year Kris bought 48 pairs of shoes at 2000k each (approximately $1056 US dollars). Eighteen pairs of these went to the new first year high school students. Thirty were distributed to the teens in the second and fourth year who needed replacements. Sports shoes are required at the high school level, making it necessary for 18 new pairs for the first year students.
For health and safety, the Kenyan schools demand that students come to class in good shoes. Kris purchased 104 pairs of shoes in August, costing 84,000k, or $924 in US dollars. You can see that your donations to Globalgiving’s Project 7377 is filling a real need—keeping the 260 children at the orphanage in school walking, running, dancing and playing so they grow strong in body, mind and spirit.
FAIL FORWARD WITH FABRICS
Fabrics is our middle name. Well, sort of. We are Fabulous African Fabrics, founded in 1999 to make and sell items made from imported African textiles, raising funds for widows and orphans in Kenya. We were crafters and artists enthusiastic about African textiles and how we could make beautiful items out of them. Proceeds went to a Kenyan Orphanage, The Good Samaritan Children’s Home. By 2010 the passion for fabrics was ripping our foundation apart.
Selling at art markets, bazaars, and craft fairs was no longer viable. After the Twin Towers came down, exotic textiles became suspect. Crowds looked, but no one bought. Enter the recession when fancy linens, jewelry and clothing were luxuries for the cash-strapped middle class. Textile prices rose. How many times did we hear “Your work is beautiful,” as people hurried past our booth, afraid to stop where they might feel the temptation to buy?
Our work was so closely tied to the street fairs--our interest in surface design, and the crowds of people whom we met and talked to about our mission--it was hard to give up. Earnings fell and fell until 2013 when our sales broke even with our costs. I learned from reading Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits (Bray) that no fundraiser should cost more than 7% of the profits. That was it. This summer we called it quits. FAF still sells hats and silk scarves when contacted, and participates in a large craft fair in Spokane each year; but our long days at the craft fair and sewing machine are done. No matter how much you love an idea, it pays to be flexible.
In 2010 we joined GlobalGiving, filling the hole in our budget. We enjoy exchanges with other non-profits and NGO’s on line, and being a part of a worldwide group through membership in GlobalGiving UK. The boys and girls of the Good Samaritan Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya remain in good hands.
Over the past fifteen years, FAF has sent $103,000 to Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya, and the Good Samaritan Children’s Home. In 2010 the FAF Board voted to concentrate on supporting the orphanage because we saw the greatest need with these children. Kris Wetah of the Good Samaritan Home has written, “Through your support, GSCH has managed to make a positive impact in the lives of thousands of orphans and vulnerable children in the Mathare Slums and beyond. Together we have achieved.”
Nineteen thousand dollars of the $103,000 has been raised through your generous donations to the orphanage since we became a part of Global Giving four years ago. Fifteen thousand dollars of that has gone to high school tution. You have sent 150 teens to high school. Picture a crowd of healthy kids waving and yelling “Thank you!”
Kris asks us not to sit still, the need goes on. Consider these teens who have recently be accepted into the orphanage: Benson, age 17 whose grades have gone up since joining the home, or Denis age 14, who has been raised by his aged grandmother who does not know where the parents have gone, or Francis who was brought in by her mother who is “completely unable to support any aspect of her wellbeing.” You have contributed to a quality home that saves lives and continues to open its arms to deserving children. May our partnership continue to grow and flourish.