Despite experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades throughout much of Kenya, the AYA farm actually improved its harvest this year and was able to deliver a total of 220 90kg bags of corn to 20 AYA partners. This achievement came at a vital time as corn and food prices continued to rise. An accelerating inflation rate of over 16% more than doubled the price of corn to $50 for a 90kg bag. So, because of the help of generous AYA supporters, we were able to provide $11,000 in food to our partners!
However, you don’t have to understand a lot about economics or commodities to know that the current circumstances in East Africa can gravely affect the nutrition and well being of children. Most of you, have seen the horrific images of starving children that have recently been in the news. While the children served by AYA partners, are not literally starving, they are affected by high food prices and inflation. Many are malnourished, miss school when the school can’t afford to provide lunch, or become vulnerable to living on the streets as their families cannot afford to take care of them.
With the holiday season fast approaching, we ask you to consider making the AYA farm part of your holiday giving. We were thrilled to learn that 3 acres adjacent to our current farm are for sale and hope to raise the $15,000 needed by the end of the year. Not only can you give directly on our Global Giving page, but Global Giving provides the ability to create your own fundraising pages or registries so that friends and family can give in your honor http://www.globalgiving.org/givingtools/.
We truly appreciate your support!
“There is great famine and hunger that I have never seen before. We have found ourselves trying to feed other children that are not in our programme. It is something we cannot avoid; it is a matter of life or death. Children and adults are streaming to our home for food help, most of them too weak to turn away, especially children. The children in our home have been giving up their lunch to give to these hungry children. Please pray for our country. We are very much affected.” Pastor Patrick Kimawachi, Gospel Believers Children’s Home
By now, most of you have seen the heartbreaking stories of famine and starvation coming out of East Africa. The worst drought in decades is driving millions of people out of their home areas in search of food and killing tens of thousands of vulnerable children. Even for those not in the direct famine zone, the food shortages caused by the drought and influx of refugees is driving food prices up again. Food staples like corn and rice have doubled and almost tripled in some areas, while meat and fruit have become more of a luxury item for the millions living in poverty.
The escalating crisis makes us exceptionally grateful for the AYA farm. Despite the drought in the eastern part of Kenya, the western agricultural area where the farm is located has received rainfall. The amount of rain has been less than usual, but it has been adequate for the majority of the crops to grow. Unfortunately, many farms have not been as lucky, and AYA had to hire guards to keep people from stealing the corn.
One of our main concerns, is that not only will the drought continue, but the repercussions could be felt for quite sometime due to subsequent food shortages. We continue to seek support not only for expanding the farm, but to ensure we are prepared to produce the most corn possible. This includes $2000 to replace the tractor tires that are desperately worn.
Please consider a donation at any level. You can help ensure that vulnerable children receive the nourishment and hope they deserve.
As AYA’s expanded farm enters another successful growing season, food prices in Africa continue to rise, inspiring protests in Kenya. On April 20th, 2011 The Associated Press reported:
Food prices are rising across the globe, driven in part by the higher transport costs that accompany rising oil prices. The World Bank said last week that food prices are 36 percent higher today than a year ago, and are pushing people "deeper into poverty."
But no region has been hit harder by rising food costs than Africa over the last three months. Wheat costs 87 percent more in Sudan. Rice is up 30 percent in Chad. Maize has risen at least 25 percent in Uganda, Somalia, Mozambique and Kenya.
While the AYA farm will be affected by the rising cost of fuel and other inputs, it will no doubt continue to serve as a blessing to the children of AYA partner programs. Schools will be able to continue feeding programs to ensure that children are nourished and able to focus on learning. Orphanages can feel secure in the fact that children can continue to have three meals a day and not have to face long nights with hungry bellies. HIV-positive children will be able to take their medication with the food needed to ensure the drugs can be digested properly.
For all of these opportunities, AYA is enormously grateful to our supporters for making the AYA farm possible. Your generosity has given children hope and comfort in difficult times.
At the end of 2010, AYA was thrilled to have harvested over 200 90kg bags of corn, quadrupling our harvest from 2009. Donations allowed us to purchase a tractor which greatly assisted in our efficiency in preparing the land in time for the rains. However, the good news doesn't stop there. We have been able to purchase an additional 7 acres which will more than double the size of our farm and allow us to feed even more children. None of this would not have been possible without the generosity of our supporters!
To truly understand the impact the farm is making in the lives of desperately needy children, it is helpful to look at Pauline's story. Like so many of the children receiving meals from the AYA farm, the farm's benefits for Pauline extend far beyond providing nutrition. Pauline was born into extreme poverty in the Nairobi slum of Korogocho. Her mother could not afford to take care of her and left her in the care of her grandmother. Her grandmother was HIV-positive and as her health deteriorated, Pauline became her primary caretaker. At nine years old, Pauline fetched water, made breakfast for herself and her grandmother, and administered her grandmother's medication before going to school each morning. When she returned in the evenings she to go to the market and make dinner before doing her homework by light from a lantern. Her grandmother died when Pauline was 10 and her mother passed away not long after. Pauline was taken in by other relatives living in a crowded tin shack in the slum.
Despite her challenges, Pauline remained one of the top-scoring students in her class. However, once she began secondary school she could no longer afford the fees and had to drop out of school. Luckily, Pastor Fred Afwai knew of Pauline's story and potential, and agreed to take her into Hands with Hope Safehouse and set her up with a scholarship to St. Matthew's Secondary School (both, are AYA partners). Pastor Fred was able to help Pauline because receiving corn from the AYA farm has allowed the Hands with Hope Safehouse to have a reliable source of food (corn is the main in ingredient in the Kenyan staple called ugali) and more disposable income. Pauline now has a safe, stable home and the opportunity to finish her education.
Can you help AYA to reach more children like Pauline by making a donation to the AYA farm or helping us spread the word about this very valuable, life-changing project?
The year's second crop of corn has been harvested and is in the process of being dried and stored. After the corn dries it will be shelled and placed in 90kg bags for distribution to AYA partner orphanages and schools in Kenya. Pastor Fred Afwai is in charge of the farm and reports the yield for this season will be much better due to improved rains. We do not yet have an exact total until the corn is shelled and bagged.
The appreciation and positive feedback from AYA partners is encouraging. Pastor Patrick Kimawchi of Gospel Believers Children's Home reports that the corn distributed so far has been a huge help amid major financial constraints for the home. Gospel Believers has an increase in children and have been struggling to pay school fees and basic living expenses for the children. The donated corn greatly helps to supplement their budget and see that the children's needs are met.
We will be sure to keep you updated on more inspiring stories after the next harvest is distributed. Thank you so much for making the farm possible!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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Director of Development