Fabulous African Fabrics is in contact with the Good Samaritan Children’s Home on a regular basis. Weekly, Project Director Kris Wetah informs us about what is happening, what is going well, and where help is needed.
Right now the big need is for in-home pre-school teachers. Pre-schoolers who live in the orphanage have not proved to be ready for first grade at age seven. With two official languages in the country, and numerous regional languages, spoken, children need to be fluent speakers in the official languages. They may come to the home only speaking their regional language or need special tutoring in English or Swahili. The children need to be familiar with numbers and letters, to be able to sit still during story time and follow directions, and all those other things we learned in kindergarten.
Private schools offer pre-school, but that is too expensive for the orphanage. A solution would be to hire one or two certified pre-school teachers to teach the classes at the orphanage. We know that such a project is too expensive for our small organization to provide, but we would like to find some partner organization that would help us address this problem.
On a happier note, the older children are home for their holiday, happy and well fed and preparing for the first quarter of the new school year, which you have made possible with your donations of tuition and shoes.
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.