Bread and Water for Africa welcomes our new partner in Sierra Leone, The Rural Youth Development Organization

Bread and Water for Africa welcomes our new partner in Sierra Leone, The Rural Youth Development Organization

The Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) operates the Mokoba Health Center in a rural region where most of the residents of the area are subsistence farmers with an average number of six children who struggle simply to survive on what they can grow.

“People living in this community are in the condition of extreme poverty, and consequently they have not [the] possibility of affording the cost of basic needs such as food, education and healthcare,” says program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba, adding that 80 percent live in “absolute poverty, with income below $1 a day.

Without access to the free clinic, parents seeking medical treatment for their children or themselves have no choice but to go untreated, or possibly worse as Joseph tells us that “for any chronic or severe diseases they have to depend solely on quacks.

“The quacks are not trained. They depend on limited indigenous knowledge.”

For those very few who have the means, and the strength, their only option is to travel long distances on rough roads to the nearest available clinic or hospital.

Joseph noted that this is especially dangerous for women about to give birth who cannot make it to a faraway medical facility “and are compelled to give birth under the open sky.”

However, Joseph is concerned the Mokoba clinic could be forced to shut down if necessary repairs are not made immediately.

“If the health center is not rehabilitated soon, the maternal mortality, child mortality and morbidity rates will begin increasing day after day,” he told us.

RYDO-SL was established in 1996 by a group of young men and women who wanted to contribute to their community through sustainable development and became officially registered as a Community Based Organization and recognized by the government of Sierra Leone.

The mission and goal of RYDO-SL is “To transform and revitalize the lives or the marginalized and oppressed populations in the communities” and “To rehabilitate a local referral facility providing emergency and immediate healthcare services for Mokoba and its environs.”

In addition to operating the Mokoba clinic, RYDO-SL promotes sustainable agriculture, women and youth empowerment, emergency relief and community rehabilitation projects.

Joseph explained that the need for a clinic is particularly critical in the Mokoba community where life expectancy, at 38 years compared with 45 years for the rest of the country (and compared to the worldwide rate of 71 years according to the World Health Organization) is the lowest in the world out of 183 countries.

The region also experiences high rates of endemic diseases, especially malaria, Typhoid fever, dysentery, yellow fever and HIV/AIDS, as well as from the Ebola virus outbreak of just a few years ago.

“Disease looms as a menace in the region,” says Joseph.

The nearest government hospital to Mokoba provides healthcare services “at a cost which is hard to afford by the rural people.

“Health is wealth, and for a community of 5,600 people if deprived of a free healthcare services will return to the service of quack treatment.

“With proper and adequate health delivery services at their disposal, the people of Mokoba and the four surrounding villages would in the long-term improve their living conditions.”

The people there had long lacked a health care facility in their community until 2000 when RYDO-SL constructed the health clinic, but now, almost 20 years later, the clinic building is in desperate need of rehabilitation, and the people it serves are in desperate need of continuing health care.

Joseph Ekidor – Making His Way in the World with Educational Support

Joseph Ekidor – Making His Way in the World with Educational Support

Joseph Ekidor is no longer a child at age 19, but a young adult looking to make his way in the world as he is on the verge of completing his secondary school education.

It’s a bright future made possible only through his hard work and determination, the loving home he found at the Lewa Children’s Home in Eldoret, Kenya, and the generous and loyal supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who made it possible for him not only to attend school as a child, but complete his secondary school education.

He came from a family of five siblings being raised by their parents who, only working casual jobs when they could find work, could barely scrape by putting a roof over their heads and putting food on the table for all of them – much less pay for the education they knew their children would need to succeed, reported Lewa founder and director Phyllis Keino.

“His parents were not able pay for their children’s education as the little they earn is used for basic needs,” explained Phyllis. “Through the Lewa Children’s Home he has been provided with an education through the Bread and Water for Africa® school fee sponsorship program.”

Phyllis noted that his best subjects in the classes he attends at Sambut Secondary School in Eldoret are chemistry, physics and mathematics – which is a good thing as his dream is to pursue a career in medicine, a much-needed field in the developing country.

His teachers noted in his term one academic report that in the courses where he is struggling that the see the potential in him writing, “you are capable of doing better.”

As for Joseph himself, “I really appreciate the support that you have given me since I entered Form One (freshman year),” he wrote in a letter for the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who made it possible to attend secondary school.

Ann Tiyaa – A Success Story 12 Years in the Making

Ann Tiyaa – A Success Story 12 Years in the Making

18-year-old Ann Tiyaa is a Form Four (senior) at Sambut Secondary School in Eldoret, Kenya, who has made great strides in her life.

For one thing, she has accomplished something only few children and youth are able to do in Kenya – attend 12 years of school and poised to graduate with a bright future ahead of her.

This would not have been possible for this orphaned young woman who first found a home in the loving arms of Phyllis Keino at the Lewa Children’s Home, and then began her education as a young child 12 years ago and steadily progressing through each grade, without the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who made it possible for Phyllis to pay her school fees.

“She was born and raised in a family of four children before her mother’s demise,” reported Phyllis. “She was an orphan so she was raised up in the Lewa Children’s Home.”

Phyllis has full faith in Ann who has already demonstrated in her young life that she has the will and determination to succeed at anything she puts her mind to.

“She is working hard to achieve her dream of becoming a journalist, and her best subjects are business studies, languages and history,” added Phyllis.

In her term one academic report, her teacher expressed encouragement to Ann to “put more effort” into the subjects where she has been struggling in the knowledge that “you have the potential.”

As for Ann herself, she is grateful and appreciative of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® school fee assistance program. In a letter of appreciation she wrote this to those who made it possible for her to continue her education to its completion:

“It is my pleasure to thank my sponsors for their efforts, and good hearts.

“If not for your support, I could not have reached where I am today or even have visions and missions…or even become the person that I am today.

“I promise you that I am going to do my best and make you proud at the end of this year. Words cannot express my gratitude. Only God knows what is in my mind.

“May God bless you very abundantly.”

What a life it has been for Emmanuel!

What a life it has been for Emmanuel!

We at Bread and Water for Africa® began to get to know him as a 2-year-old toddler when he was brought to the Lewa Children’s Home in Eldoret, Kenya, and into the loving arms of Lewa founder and executive director Phyllis Keino after being abandoned by his mother.

Even at that tender age, Phyllis, who has become known as “mother” to hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children and who all have a special place in her heart could tell there was something exceptional about Emmanuel.

15 years ago, Emmanuel arrived at Lewa with his older brother and sister, and it didn’t take long for them to become a part of the Lewa family, and for Phyllis to become the only mother he has ever known.

While most children in Kenya, and throughout the African continent for that matter, want nothing more than to be able to go to school in the knowledge that getting an education is their only chance out of a life of dire poverty, for Emmanuel, it was not just attending school – but excelling the classroom – that was his passion.

Emmanuel attended Kip Keino Primary School from Nursery to Jr. High, and in 2015, as an eighth grader, Emmanuel tackled his biggest challenge yet by scoring among the best and brightest throughout the entire country in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations (similar to the SAT for high school students in the United States).

It is especially tragic for those who have the ability and determination but lack the money for school supplies and uniforms and have no choice but to take menial low-wage jobs to help support their families and themselves.

While of course we cannot say what was going through Emmanuel’s mind as he filled out his application for Kapsabet High School, we must assume it was with hopeful optimism. Kapsabet is one of the most prestigious high schools in the country whose alumni include Daniel Arap Moi, the second president of Kenya.

The odds against him being accepted to Kapsabet – (where only 300 new students are accepted each year – out of an application pool of 60,000!) – were long, but as his acceptance to the class of 2019 illustrates, not insurmountable.

For Emmanuel, beating those seemingly overwhelming odds was not a matter of luck, but a testament to his ability, and his steady belief that he can do whatever he sets his mind to.

Four years later, we have just received word from Phyllis that Emmanuel is headed to Taita Taveta University in Mariwenyi, Kenya – on a full scholarship!

Taita Taveta University, a non-profit public higher education institution accredited by the Commission for University Education of Kenya, is described as “A Premier Institution in Education, Training, Research, Innovation And Community Outreach.”

Beginning in August, Emmanuel will begin his studies, majoring in agribusiness; a vital field on the African continent as noted by a recent report by the World Bank on “Agribusiness Indicators: Kenya” which states:

“The importance of agriculture in the economies of sub-Saharan African countries cannot be overemphasized.

 

“With agriculture accounting for about 65 percent of the region’s employment and 75 percent of its domestic trade, significant progress in reducing hunger and poverty across the region depends on the development and transformation of the agricultural sector.

 

“Transforming agriculture from largely a subsistence enterprise to a profitable commercial venture is the prerequisite and driving force for accelerated development and sustainable economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

We have no doubt that one day in the not-too-distant future, Emmanuel – the same 2-year-old helpless child abandoned by his mother – will be leading the way as a driving force in helping to reduce hunger and poverty, perhaps even at the Baraka Farm right next to the Lewa Children’s Home where he grew up.

Despite all Emmanuel has accomplished, we know he will never forget those who helped him attain the success he has achieved today – namely Phyllis, and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®. Without them, he would not have had a home, much less an education.

Upon his acceptance to Kapsabet in 2015, he expressed his sincere gratitude in a letter to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® writing:

“I write this letter to really appreciate for sponsoring me – for if it wouldn’t have been for you, I wouldn’t be where I am.

 

“This comes from the bottom of my heart. I promise to work hard at school and post good results as hard work pays.

 

“Moreover, I promise to not let you down.”

The town of Mariwenyi is 400 miles, a 12-hour bus ride on the rutted Kenyan roads, from Lewa where he grew up, but a world away from how his life began and how we are certain it will evolve.