Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya

by American Foundation for Children with AIDS
Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya
Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya
Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya
Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya
Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya
Sustainable Food Project for Children in Kenya

Our small food garden project has been so successful!  Children have their hands in caring for the gardens and are helpful in preparing the crops for the kitchen.  There are several varieties of vegetables planted in this garden.

We continue to fight agaist hunger and have plowed land to prepare for more gardens.  The gardens will produce much needed food for the orphanage, kids at the school and HIV+ women.  Some of the crops will be sold to cover the additional costs in some of our other projects. 

The last harvest provided some money for porridge for the HIV+ children at the school.  Some of the children were not active in class due to hunger.  Childen were collapsing in class and could not concentrate well.  The porridge was introduced so they can be attentive in class.  The porridge also helps the medication work better.  Our parnter is sure that the food from the garden will sustain the porridge progam.

Our teams here at the American Foundation for Children with AIDS and our partners in Africa thank you for supporting this project and the work we do for the children in in our programs.  If you would like to learn even more about what we do or how you can meet some of the children you have helped, please contact Tanya Weaver at tweaver@AFCAids.org. 

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AFCA supporters recently completed an educational challenge “PassMyPlate” promoting awareness of how extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank at $1.90 or less a day, has resulted in a hunger epidemic affecting millions around the world.  Living in a nation of tremendous affluence, we tend to forget that countless numbers of people around the globe do not have the choices we take for granted every day. Trying to sustain on $1.90 or less per day might mean living on one meal a day without a choice of what that meal is—and without knowing if there will be a meal tomorrow.

In coordination with “PassMyPlate”, we have taken a stand with our partner in Kenya to address and find a solution to eradicate poverty to more orphaned and widowed households who are either affected or infected by AIDS.  Their sisal project addresses this epidemic and now most women in this project can comfortably take care of their children, pay school fees, and become self-sufficient.  Sisal fiber has a wide variety of applications that can generate income including hand-made sisal rope, twin rope, string and yarn which can also be woven into carpets, mats and various crafts.  We are blessed to be able to support the sisal project!

The team here at the American Foundation for Children with AIDS thanks you for supporting this project and the work we do for the children in Africa.  As you start to make decisions regarding your end of year giving, please keep us in mind so we can continue our good work into 2018 and beyond.  We wish you a new year full of many blessings and as much hope as you have shared with us.  If you would like to learn even more about what we do or how you can meet some of the children you have helped, please contact Tanya Weaver at tweaver@AFCAids.org. 

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Things happen in stages in order for them to be built well.

One of these projects is happening right now in Kenya. In order for us to build a sustainable food source for orphaned children, we need to start at the very beginning. For this particular project, that means we need to start with water, land and seeds. Let me explain.

There is a small orphanage in Kenya called Restoring Hopes. Living here are 13 beautiful children, all orphaned by AIDS and they are being raised by Hellen and Mama Roy. They are loved, cared for, fed, and hugged. While all that is being done for the kids is amazing, the feeding part is the part that caught my attention. Due to lack of funds, the kids eat very basic meals – beans and corn being the bulk of their caloric intake.

Talking to the directors of the orphanage, we sat and dreamed a little this summer, with me reminiscing of how things were when I grew up in an orphanage in Colombia. My dad was the director of that orphanage and one thing he did in particular always has stayed with me. He gave each of the kids there, along with my sister and me, seeds and a small plot of land, no bigger than 3 feet by 4 feet. We each had a special type of plant to grow and food to raise (mine was garlic!). At harvest time, we’d each sell our veggies to the orphanage, earning personal money and buying all the pride in the world.

As I told them this story, the folks in Kenya decided that this is just what the kids there need – to learn that with work comes pride and dignity. To learn that their efforts will help all the kids with whom they live. And to have joy in working the land. So, AFCA has purchased seeds for these kiddos and soon, small plots will be planted with cilantro, tomatoes, onions, kale, spinach, carrots, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and much more. This will not only serve the children in the ways mentioned above, but it will also provide them with balanced meals with all the colors of the rainbow. Super exciting!

Now, we need to go back to the beginning. While seeds and land are now available, water was the biggest issue. The closest water source was a long distance away and we didn’t want the children to have to drag water from such a distance. With this in mind, a water tank has been installed close to the orphanage, providing water to the kitchen, too! No longer does Hellen need to walk far to get water and now, the children will have easy access for their small gardens. THIS, my friends, is awesome.

I just know that sometimes our partners in Africa want to roll their eyes at me when I insist on backing up and trying to take care of small problems before starting a project. This helps avoid larger problems in the future but they seem inconsequential at the moment. Trust me when I tell you how happy they are that we took the time to scope out the land and to set up a water tank, with water piped in! Next, a little training in basic gardening will take place and then…THEN, the seeds will go in the ground and children will watch as their gardens grow. They will stand tall, holding out their hands with onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and kale for the directors to purchase. They will eat plates of greens, oranges, whites, and yellows. And they will know they are loved.

Thank YOU for allowing this to happen. Thank you for being a giver of hope.

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I am so excited to return to Miwani, Kenya this summer, with three back-to-back teams of volunteers. My, do we have plans with the community there!  We’ll be painting a school and clinic, setting up a playground, doing medical checkups, conducting training for community health workers, and we’ll be building a granary.

We have folks from USA, England, Ukraine, and Australia joining the local community to make this summer a summer of change in the small village where we’ll be working. How exciting to share cultures, languages, and joy together!

The granary building directly complements the garden project we have in Miwani, as it will allow our partner to have a safe place in which to store the harvest of vegetables and fruit.  Children from the orphanage on site will continue having food to eat, which community people will be able to purchase food from that location, as well. Potatoes, squashes, carrots, onions, and garlic will all be housed here, as well as veggies with shorter shelf lives, such as tomatoes, peppers, and kale. 

We are excited to expand the garden project through the building of the granary and we thank you SO much for being part this! Without YOU, it sure wouldn’t be happening. Thank you for believing that children like Tania, pictured here (yes, there are many boys and men named Tania in Kenya), are valuable and that they deserve a good, healthy life, just like you want for your own children.

Off to dig in some gardens in Kenya,

 

Tanya, for the children

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Children 1
Children 1

In 2016 I visited the village of Miwani, Kenya, where AFCA has various projects. My intention for this visit was to see how things are going, plan for the future, and teach some conservation farming techniques so that gardens would grow despite lack of rain. We worked hard and had a great time.  The older children from Hadrein Academy helped plant seeds and there was much laughter as we worked together. This was the first time that mulch was used on plants in their garden and we had no idea how things would turn out.

Something must have gone not-quite-right, as some of the plants didn’t grow as they should have, but others did.  I guess that is gardening though.  You don’t always know what you’ll get. But, the children are well and healthy as ever, thanks in part to that garden. Yesterday, I received a note from that project saying, “We want to thank you for the donations you’ve put towards the orphanage which ensure that the children have food to eat each and every day. Words are not enough to show our appreciation, as they are happy to eat good food and drink clean water. I must comment, the water filters have really helped as a lot! There are now no cases of stomach ache and typhoid with the children since they started drinking the filtered water. Thank you!” It is so exciting to know that gifts like seeds, training, and water filters can make such a difference!

Now, Kenya has been experiencing a drought for quite a long time now and the land is so dry now. Even so, they were able to harvest good greens for the children from the seeds we sent and it seems the children love eating them. And, great news is that the papaya seeds we sent seem to resist the drought and some are producing papaya fruit already! The children are so happy with the papaya trees, as fruit is already growing and the kids are dreaming of how good they will taste. The variety we sent seems to be different from the local papaya seed, as the trees have grown quickly.

When I return to this area with three volunteer teams in the summer of 2017, I am sure we’ll meet healthy children who now know what good, plentiful food is like.  Together with the volunteers, children and community members, we’ll be tackling the painting of a school, a clinic, and an orphanage, as well as setting up a tailoring school, and a playground.  Exciting times are ahead of us in this village and we are super excited!

If you’d like to be part of something like this and have been looking for a way to use your vacation time while doing something purposeful, check out our Vacation with a Purpose tab at www.AFCAids.org. There, you’ll find opportunities to volunteer in Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. We’d love to have you work beside us and the communities with whom we’ve partnered.

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Organization Information

American Foundation for Children with AIDS

Location: Harrisburg, PA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @AFCAids
Project Leader:
tanya weaver
Harrisburg, PA United States
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