Feb 9, 2021

2020 is Behind Us!

Having more girls than boys shifts the power
Having more girls than boys shifts the power

Ever since we shifted our focus more towards reintegrating families in 2019 (away from providing permanent institutional housing), we have deepened our connections with the households and communities surrounding us that are most in need. We see this as the culmination of our work, even though COVID has kept our progress minute. We are working towards permanent solutions among all 10 children.

Here are some of the triumphs that you have helped us make in the past few months:

  • We found an older brother to 2 siblings who were left by their mother. The mother was in prostitution and running from the police. We plan to reunite them this month.
  • Provided menstrual hygiene products to one of our children who was reintegrated last year, so she can continue going to school regularly.
  • Found and collected birth certificates for two of our early marriage escapees.
  • Arranged for a visit by the father of one of our abandoned children.
  • Are in talks with relatives of 4 siblings at JWHS, who we think are promising reintegration parners.
  • Sent nearly all of our JWHS and community students back to school in January after the COVID hiatus.

All of these small triumphs come after months of searching and groundwork spearheaded by our Manager, Chege, who dedicates his life to these pursuits. Over the past year, he has taken steps to take on more leadership at JWHS and we hope for the opportunitiy to reward him accordingly.

For your part, you have helped by:

  • Sending money
  • Arranging us to present at your community meetings about our work
  • Sending prayers and kindness our way
  • Offering labor on our board or in our shop
  • Coming to JWHS to visit and building connections with our Kenyan community

Without ALL of these pieces, we could not do what we do in our corner of the world. From our depths, we thank you, and we ask that you keep us in your hearts and minds in the coming months.

 

With gratitude,

The ExOp Team

Before school waiting for the crew
Before school waiting for the crew
Just the 10 of us
Just the 10 of us

Links:

Jan 19, 2021

Exciting news!...

Camp Forest 2021 schedule
Camp Forest 2021 schedule

We may have to change a few things in terms of social distancing and mask-wearing, but we at Camp Forest are gearing up for a great 2021 season. Adam recently announced his intention to bring both his older children from Peru to join us for the camp season, and they will wow our campers with their jungle skills, deep ecological knowledge, and way of being in the world. 

We wish to thank you again for all of the help you have provided to make it possible for more campers to attend from Maine, where out-of-state children's camps tend to edge out the local competition. At Camp Forest, we cater to the local and the exotic in more ways than one. With an emphasis on local ecology and local children, we also infuse our teaching with the rich cultural globality of the diverse worlds we as staff and children inhabit. Check out this year's schedule above

And for those of you who have not experienced a Maine summer of swimming, canoeing, fire-making, tool-making, and navigation... what are you waiting for? Plan your way through the lingering snow by making summer plans today... and tell your friends!

As always, thank you for being part of our journey.

Camp Forest blends socio-ecological worlds
Camp Forest blends socio-ecological worlds
Come swim with us!
Come swim with us!

Links:

Oct 12, 2020

The new normal?

Karanja is our newest board member
Karanja is our newest board member

Wow, it's been an exciting couple of months at JWHS. 

On the US side, it may not surprise you that we are 100% in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we are turning our attention to our own operations, decision-making processes, and board makeup in an effort to 'decolonize' our organization. As part of this process, please join us in enthusiastically welcoming Joseph Karanja, P.A. in Michigan and former beneficiary of Expanding Opportunities, to the U.S. Board! We look forward to more board changes in the near future, so stay tuned.

We are also offering our website (ainamoja.com) as a platform to US-based black, African American, and indigenous artisans who would like to showcase their art on our site. So far, we are so pleased to offer Phaedra's (a former Maine resident) beautiful copper and silver jewelry on the site. If you know of other artists who you think we should be collaborating with, please let us know! Follow Phaedra on Instagram @thephorgerymetalwerkx or @pchigirl and shop at ainamoja.com and https://www.etsy.com/shop/Phorgerymetalwerkx.

During COVID19, we are fully educating most of our children at home in Kenya. To help make our curriculum stronger, we have partnered with the organization Ending Needs, who has provided us reading and educational materials. They connect our children to pen pals across the world and they are helping improve our English instruction. Also, we think Ending Needs is a great fit for Expanding Opportunities, based on the name alone!

In efforts to work with a new Child Services case manager, we have also done a lot of repairs and maintenance on our property in Kenya. We have replaced old mattresses, tiles in the bathroom, and gutters that were leaking our rain water. We are also working to upgrade our solar electrical system. It has been expensive, but worth it, and the place looks great!

Our newest child, let's call her "Tess" to protect her privacy, is still undergoing court cases, political turmoil, and counseling for trauma as she bravely seeks to testify against her abuser. She could use all the prayers and positive thoughts at your disposal as she recovers from childhood trauma no one should have to endure. Thank you to those of you who supported her financially and socially on Facebook in the last few months! Though her ordeal is far from over, your generosity enabled a supportive environment for her to adjust to her new life. She is beginning to trust Chege, Sarah, and Alice, and is fitting in with the other girls her age at JWHS. 

Beverly is on her way to the United States for a couple months to visit family. She will be in Florida and, we hope, Maine, so if you are there, please reach out to her while she is in town!

Meanwhile, Kenya is preparing to send children back to school. We don't know when the call will come, but when it does, we will have to provide school fees and uniforms for the 20 children we currently support in schooling. Please keep us in your thoughts, prayers, and pocketbooks as we adjust to the "new normal" in Kenya and within the organization, and thanks so much for keeping us in your hearts during these crazy times. We need you now more than ever!

With love and gratitude,

The ExOp Team

One of Phaedra's beautiful copper pendants
One of Phaedra's beautiful copper pendants
JWHS's little school
JWHS's little school

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.