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 Children  Kenya Project #27458

Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya

by Expanding Opportunities
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Caring for Both Vulnerable Girls and Boys of Kenya
Jacinta and Vivian
Jacinta and Vivian

Busy days at JWHS: We are at our desired capacity of eight children in residence. Our capacity for children living with extended family is limited only by the number of sponsors. 

We have had a few temporary children. They are placed with us for their protection until their day in court when the judge decides a permanent arrangement.  It is amazing how quickly our hearts attach. It is hard not be able to follow up. But the court works to make the best decision for the child. 

For several years we had only boys then added a few girls. Now we have 5 girls and three boys.  Lot's more giggling. 

Jacinta and Vivian are our newest girls.  Jacinta in the headband and Vivian with the hoodie. Vivian had run to the police when she learned that the Aunt/Grandmother they were living with was planning to have them circumcised.  FGM is outlawed in Kenya but is still a strong cultural practice. Both of the girls have difficult backgrounds and landed in the same relative’s home.

Jacinta is in Class 6 and Vivian is in Class 8.  They are both quiet girls. It is a pleasure to have them. They had been very withdrawn when they first arrived and kept their hearts guarded.  It was a delight on Sunday.  When ready to leave for church the 4 newest girls walked up to me and each in turn gave me a big hug. A huge barrier was removed, a trust given I pray to never break. 

As reintegration to relatives is our goal, we have been working to fill in the blanks in these girls’ stories so we can plan the best for their future.  Until then they are helpful at home, studying hard at school and filling us all with a wonderful new dimension of a majority of girls. They give us such joy and purpose.  

The Gordon Clem Study Center is nearing completion.  Movies are shown each Sunday afternoon and the small library is accessed three times per week and now that school is out, children can come make use of the resources.  Our goal to offer free organized tutoring to the community children is on hold as the law in Kenya forbids holiday tutoring. We trust that this mandate will be amended to allow FREE voluntary tutoring.  

In addition to growing season and a large garden, we have been working to finish the perimeter fence. After tomorrow we will have completed 4 sides of this one acre and on to the last side!. I will no longer see the neighbor's maize from my window (sad) but soon it will be so hard for anyone to come in that side (glad). It was one of the two most porous sides. 

The need for this expense and labor is justified often. Even while working on the fence, posts and slabs were stolen. There, so far, has been no physical assaults but certainly thefts and unwelcome visitors.  

In praise of our manager, Chege, and the children I would like to mention that this is not an easy task. First the posts are lifted onto the roof of the G Wagon, then unloaded by Chege assisted by the children.  The post holes are dug with a machete and a piece of metal by Chege and the children. The rails are hoisted to the roof of the wagon and unloaded by Chege and the children. Nailed to the posts by Chege and the children. Then the off cuts, (the sides of the trees when cut into timbers,called slabs in US), are loaded onto the roof and unloaded by Chege and the children near my mud house so I can listen for a thief  in the night. Then the trusty chair is brought out to the driveway and each board is cut with an 18 inch crosscut hand saw. Then nailed to the rails by Chege and the children. In short... Lots of muscle work and time by Chege and the children. The only powered tool is the G wagon. 


Thanks Donors and Thanks kids and Thanks Chege.


Third side of the fence.
Third side of the fence.
Dance Class
Dance Class

Links:

Family search
Family search

JWHS

A new girl was brought to us at our home (JWHS) in April. A neighbor cared for the child and alerted the officials. There had been severe neglect and the mother is now serving time in jail for it. The children have all adjusted well and the new girl is assisting one of our other little girls who is having some very difficult adjustment issues. Living at the Home as of this date are three girls and three boys. Outside of the home but being educated with our assistance are ten additional children ranging from college to lower primary.

 

The rains delayed two months past the traditional start of rainy season – the fear of famine loomed over the village. Finally in May the rains began and the rush to plant filled the homesteads with activity. We also got our hands dirty and spirits lifted. At this time the potatoes, and maize and beans are popping their heads up promising at least a small harvest.

 

After settling all our children in school for 2019, the search for families continued. A day long adventure into the village of two of our children brought unexpected (and expensive) adventure and a firm lead for locating the grandmother. Family searches are important. Each child knows they have relatives and as long as they remain disconnected, they feel acute pain. Occasionally the rejection is unwarranted as the extended family has been searching for the child. Unfortunately often the family has avoided the child due to the fear of monetary burden. Regardless of the reason, the child has a need to know. We work with families to help reduce the real or perceived barriers to connection, as well. Family reintegration is often a wonderful occasion. Other times the child would not be safe in that environment, so we try our best to maintain some sort of remote relationship.

 

GCSC

Last year a donor assisted us to complete an addition that was started in 2003. It is now functioning as the Gordon Clem Study Center (GCSC). The study Center houses a small library, and large study/group space. Three days per week is for Open Study, and Sunday afternoon brings a movie matinee. During the day adults and college students may use the center for enrichment activities or private study, and Saturday morning will soon offer an enrichment activity for children.

Fields awaiting late rains
Fields awaiting late rains
GCSC group study center
GCSC group study center
Studying at GCSC
Studying at GCSC
*2018 JWHS children's home*
As we finished 2018, seven children lived at JWHS with a full-time social
worker, Bev, and with Chege (JWHS Manager) commuting from his home just
down the road. Unfortunately, Isaac ran away as of November. We are still
searching for him.
Currently in partnership with the Government of Kenya’s push for
reintegration of children in their home communities, Expanding
Opportunities is looking for more systematic ways to provide community
support so that Kenyans are empowered to care for and educate their most
vulnerable children.
Chege and Catherine recently attended a training on reintegration and
gained the tools we will need to push for family unity in 2019.
[image: image.png]

*Children updates*
Oti graduated Form 4 in 2017 and was accepted into Chuka University in
2018, where he studies economics. He is the 4th college attending graduate
of JWHS! He is being helped in his schooling by some very generous donors
at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Samwel had a big year. He took his exams for entrance into secondary
school. Though he got lower marks than he wished, he is eager to attend
high school in 2019.
Imam, like Samwel, will also be attending secondary school next year, and
he attended his circumcision ceremony and subsequent seclusion. He came to
us at age 6 and is now 15. ExOp continues to reevaluate the potential for
permanent reintegration on the basis of Imam’s safety, health, and
happiness.
Stephanie came to us in 2013. She is now a 15-year-old girl on her way to
womanhood. She took her qualifying exams for secondary school and will
attend Form 1 in 2019. We hope to be able to search for family members in
order to reintegrate Stephanie with her roots during 2019.
Mike has been with JWHS since 2007. He completed Form 1 this year but his
marks did not meet the expectations we set for him continuing in secondary
school. We searched for vocational training for him, but could not find
affordable, feasible training, so in 2019 he decided to return to his
grandmother’s house to attempt secondary school again. We are currently
trying out Michael’s reintegration with other members of his family in a
temporary way.
This October, we traced Gerrison’s steps home from his school in Nairobi
and found his older brother! They had a joyous reunion, and we are
following Gerrison’s reintegration with his brother’s family in 2019.
We went looking for Daisy and Kiptoo’s mother in October but our lead was a
false one, and we wish to track their grandparents in Kericho in 2019. Daisy
is partially supported and Kiptoo is unsupported by sponsors.

In the community
[image: image.png]
Because of ExOp support, 16 community students bought the supplies they
needed (including uniforms, books, writing utensils, and fees) to attend
school successfully in 2018. Community students are selected by Bev and
Chege on the basis of parental poverty indicators like debilitating
illness, single motherhood, and other referrals and unfortunate life
circumstances.
Also in 2018, four of our community students graduated from secondary
school, and one graduated from primary school. Way to go, kids!
10 children require our support as of January of 2019. First term dues
total $1360 including JWHS school fees.
As our attention shifts to community empowerment, we will be following our
children in the community more closely, counseling families, and
strategically supporting in-home care among both JWHS graduates and
underserved community members. All of these efforts will take resources in
the form of transport and human resources. Expect to see this section of
the report expanding in future years!

The Gordon Clem Study Center

The GCSC is located in the common area at JWHS. It is named after the
former headmaster at Saint Thomas Choir School in New York – Gordon Clem
had a heart for service and always wished to do work like that of ExOp in
Sub-Saharan Africa. His students and friends at Trinity Episcopal Church in
Lenox, Massachusetts have helped inspire the study center at JWHS, where a
library and study area are available to the public for free.
We envision this space in the future as a thriving center of formal,
informal, and cross-cultural learning in a rural place where these
opportunities are not readily available. We hope that one day it will
support itself through paid workshops, a café, and other services.
For the time being, the center is crowded with children after school lets
out. To be a better resource for these children, the center needs better
security, more books and media, a salaried overseer, and advertising.
The Gordon Clem Academy in Isiolo, GCSC’s predecessor, was turned over to
local management last year, and it is still in the process of securing
teachers.
[image: image.png]
Students and teachers from a GCSC 2018 summer arts camp, “Splash in the
Arts”

Link to our wish list for ways to support:

*https://bit.ly/2QraURN <https://bit.ly/2QraURN>*
Daisy and Kiptoo at JWHS
Daisy and Kiptoo at JWHS

In Kenya at JWHS (the ExOp orphanage), our last few months have been dominated by the search for lost family members. Since we regard the family environment as, generally, the ideal place - albeit sometimes needing support - to raise children, we act on every viable tip we get that helps us reunite the orphans at JWHS with positive kin influences in their lives. If successful, we search for the best possible outcomes for the child in question depending on in-depth analysis of the resources and mindset of the located family members.

With regard to three of the children, Garrison, Daisy, and Kiptoo, we received promising tips about mother, brother, uncle, and sister sightings. News about Daisy and Kiptoo (the brother and sister pair who came to live with us just a few months ago) came first.

Daisy and Kiptoo's mom had disappeared for several months before a neighbor realized the children, no older than 8, had been fending for themselves for several months, living off butcher scraps and whatever else they could find to eat. When Daisy got sick, Kiptoo was forced to reveal their situation, and child services brought them to our place at JWHS. 

As Bev, ExOp's Director, writes, "They had some difficulty adjusting. Neither of them had ever been to school so they entered nursery. They are quite bright and performed very well. Now they have settled in and daily hugs are in order. One day as Daisy was working so hard at communicating, she talked about her mother, and sister, and aunt. She mentioned her dad’s death and some of the difficulties in her home. She talked about having no food and no one coming to see them and care for them.  And she described her mother.

"About three weeks later we got a tip that her mother was in a town about 1.5 hours away. The person who gave the tip showed us the house but the woman was not there.  Trooping around the town for an hour or more finally brought another tip. The woman who was escorted out of the bar to the car was very tipsy.  As she approached the car the children said, "this is not our mother." The woman still claimed to be their mother but we did not believe her. She did not even know their names.

"We are glad we followed this lead.  Maybe the next lead will be the right one."

With Garrison's search, we were luckier. Chege, JWHS Manager, tells his story:

"When Garrison came to us the story was that his sister lost him when they traveled to Nakuru to visit his grandmother. He was found by police on the streets and was brought to us. [Later] Garrison told me the school he was in in Nairobi. I took him to that school and asked him if he would know his home from the school gate. He tried though the place had changed because of new buildings. Finally we got there and found his elder brother who was soo happy because he had been coming to Nakuru to look for Garrison on the street without success. It came out that after his mom died Garrison suffered mistreatment from the woman his father remarried. He decided enough is enough and ran away from home. His brother has promised to come to Nakuru - He is raising Garisson's younger sister and would love that they grow up together."

Beverly adds, "[This is] why we try so hard... Many times we fail but occasionally... Garrison has an older brother. This man, suffering that nightmare we hope to never have - a missing loved one - had been searching for Garrison. He has spent all his money searching. He had slept hungry on the streets searching. Joyous reunion... now we have family to help decide the best for Garrison."

Many conversations and visits will occur before we decide what is best for Garrison, but meanwhile, he has his family back. The resources we mobilize in search of and support for connecting families with abandoned or otherwise orphaned children like Daisy, Kiptoo, and Garrison are not part of the basic needs we request in support of JWHS children's day-to-day. If you would like to help JWHS children search for and connect with lost family members, please consider a special donation this season.

Garrison, after reuniting with his older brother
Garrison, after reuniting with his older brother

Links:

A lovely afternoon at JWHS browsing a new book.
A lovely afternoon at JWHS browsing a new book.

A very busy year in Kenya. As we approach the third school term of 2018, our children’s home has gained four more children. Only one of the four has a sponsor but we are managing.

One finished college and is now working, one will enter college in September. One started high school and one will take his high school examination. Three will be taking their Primary examination this term. All 24 of the children are in school.

Not only are we pleased with their academic progress but it is exciting to see them develop independence and strong character.

The children's center added a new feature, a Community Study Center and small library. Now all the children in the community can stop in and borrow a text book and get a little help. Many homes do not yet have power so eveing light for study is a treat!

Your donations reap strong, healthy, educated, independent children. THANK YOU

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Expanding Opportunities

Location: Brooks, ME - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @EXOPP
Project Leader:
Beverly Stone
Brooks, ME United States
$398 raised of $30,000 goal
 
9 donations
$29,602 to go
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