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Jun 23, 2015

Keen on Green

Greens in the shamba
Greens in the shamba

The agriculture program at the CYEC is going strong! Five youth are renting individual plots in the shamba (garden) and growing vegetables to sell to the Centre and to buyers in the community.They provide the Centre kitchen all the leafy greans they need as well as peppers, onions, and potatoes. They’re earning enough to pay their college fees and put some away for savings! The two cows produce enough milk to give all the children a cup with breakfast, with the remainder sold locally. Dan, the nurse, notes this has helped their nutrition significantly.

The three youth with the hay business continue to do well. They regularly have jobs cutting and baling hay as well as making and selling manual balers. With Penn State University, they’ve received a grant to expand this business model to other youth centers in Kenya. We’re excited to be able to replicate what we’re learned to help others!

Finally, several youth recently attended training on bamboo propagation at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute. Bamboo is versatile and environmentally friendly – it purifies water and helps prevent soil erosion and can be used to construct furniture, fencing and homes, or to make charcoal or jewelry. We plan to start production at the eco-village site in Othaya.

Your support of these programs supports income-generation for the youth and nutrition for the children! Thanks for all you do!

Bamboo propagation
Bamboo propagation
Apr 6, 2015

A Life Story: Steve B

Education is a ladder that can lift a child out of poverty. For Steve B, however, enrollment in primary school moved his family in the opposite direction. The financial strain of paying for school—which includes tuition, uniform costs, and activity fees— proved too great for Steve’s single mother, and soon, hunger became an everyday reality for Steve and his family. Steve was dismissed from his primary school in order to retrieve the overdue balance of his school fees, only to be confronted by his mother, who asked, “Am I to feed my children, or pay for school fees?” It’s an impossible dilemma for a mother to find herself in, and especially difficult for a child with a desire for a better life. Steve’s mother chose to feed her family.

Steve left home, vowing never to return to school again. He spent the next two years of his young life as a street child in Nanyuki and Nyeri, fending for himself. It was in these very streets that a good Samaritan approached Steve to tell him that he could find a safe home at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre. Since then, Steve has returned to school and has hope for a brighter future. He recently received a prestigious Wings to Fly scholarship from the Equity Foundation and has started secondary school.

Your support helps educate and prepare young people such as Steve. Thank you so much!

Jan 6, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas, CYEC-ZFI version

In honor of your support of the Children & Youth Empowerment Centre in Kenya, we’ve composed a special version of The 12 Days of Christmas. We think even those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas will enjoy!

1. “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a book written by a child at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre.”

 This past summer, several Penn State students helped establish a writing program at the Centre to allow children to literally tell their stories. With donated software and a printer, the program continues.

 2. “On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 Several years ago, K-State students in the Leadership Studies program established a full set of co-curricular activities including an arts club. Local volunteers meet with the children every week to help them develop their creative talents. They now have a vibrant visual and performing arts program.

 3. “On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three acres of drip irrigation, two sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 Penn State engineering students installed a drip irrigation system in a section of the CYEC garden. Now the youth help grow veggies for the centre year-round.

 4. “On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four micro-loans, three acres of drip irrigation, two sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”                                           

In the past several years, youth at the Centre have received micro-credit to set up small businesses such as a retail shop and catering. They’ve repaid and are doing well!

 5. “On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five preschoolers playing & learning, four micro-loans, three acres of drip irrigation, two sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 The CYEC opened its nursery school program to the local community in 2012. Now these children can enter primary school ready to learn.

 6. “On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six students a-studying, five preschoolers playing & learning, four micro-loans, three acres of drip irrigation, two sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 Public education in Kenya is free through 8th grade, but secondary schools charge tuition. Local and international ZFI sponsors support CYEC youth as they further their education. Our kids regularly rank at the top of their class!

 7. “On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven children breakfasting, six students a-studying, five preschoolers playing & learning, four micro-loans, three acres of drip irrigation, two sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 ZFI donors ensure CYEC children have a healthy breakfast before school 2 days a week. We also provide medical and educational supplies and clothing.

 8. “On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 youth a-working, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 micro-loans, 3 acres of drip irrigation, 2 sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 PSU students led youth in professional skills workshops, and now many are employed locally and in Nairobi. They’ve also started development at the first eco-village site in Othaya!

 9. “On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-working, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 micro-loans, 3 acres of drip irrigation, 2 sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 Several years ago a PSU faculty member helped youth start a hay-baling business. They’ve received grants to provided training to youth in Uganda and other parts of Kenya to expand the program – helping many young people across the region!

 10. “On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-working, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 micro-loans, 3 acres of drip irrigation, 2 sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 Friends of the CYEC in Kenya have formed the Zawadi Society, a group of local volunteers who mentor and tutor children at the Centre. It’s so important for the kids to have a special someone who cares about them!

 11. “On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 children playing, 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-working, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 micro-loans, 3 acres of drip irrigation, 2 sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

After school activities include sports, reading, music, and an environmental club to help CYEC children and youth develop their self-awareness and have fun!

 12. “On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 youth succeeding, 11 children playing, 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-working, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 micro-loans, 3 acres of drip irrigation, 2 sets of paints and a book written by a child at the CYEC.”

 The CYEC strives to develop the potential of these children & youth so they can lead happy, productive lives. Your support helps us meet this goal! Thank you for a wonderful 2014!

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