For one brief, heartbreaking period in their young lives all that the three brothers Wilson, Samuel and Joseph had was themselves after unbelievably being abandoned by their mother.
And it was on a dark, rainy evening in Kenya when a neighbor heard their desperate crying that a concerned, compassionate neighbor came to their rescue.
Though she tried to locate the boys’ mother, she was nowhere to be found – and with nowhere else to turn, the woman brought Wilson, Samuel and Joseph into the loving, welcoming arms of Phyllis Keino, the founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, a longtime partner of Bread and Water for Africa®.
“On arrival, they were weak, hungry and very malnourished,” Phyllis told us. “They came with many ailments.”
In addition, never having been to school, they could neither read nor write and showed signs of being mentally challenged.
Phyllis does not select the orphaned and abandoned children who are brought to her. Whether this is by government officials, the police because their parent(s) are in prison, or caring citizens, she instantly gives them her love as if each is one of her own, because from that moment on they are.
The horrors of their past lives are thankfully unknown, but what is known is that these three boys have a present filled with a love they have likely never known, the basic necessities of life including health care and an education, and hope for a long life and a bright future – thanks to Phyllis and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.
Today we would like to celebrate International Women’s Day with you by sharing the story of a truly remarkable woman and her even more remarkable work. As a supporter of our programs and efforts here at Bread and Water for Africa®, you may know her already as our volunteer spokesperson and a talented nurse or a dedicated partner in our work. Today we want to honor Phyllis Keino for the title she goes by to hundreds of children in Eldoret, Kenya – “Mama”.
Of course, the success of Bread and Water for Africa® depends entirely on voluntary contributions from our generous supporters, and every donation we receive is both vital to the people they go to and deeply appreciated by all of us. Not only do we depend on the compassion of our friends, donors, and supporters – but we also would not be nearly as successful without the compassion of our partners in Africa, like Phyllis.
Starting in the 1980s, Phyllis committed herself to a brighter future for the orphans of Africa- often toiling from before dawn until after dusk with the daily responsibilities at the# Lewa Children’s Home. Her hands-on approach to the home and her children (her own biological children grew up alongside the children she cared for!), along with her unbreakable will in the face of financial, emotional, and environmental struggles truly inspire us every day to continue fighting for these children, for their future, and for their present.
On the eve of a brand new year full of hope for thousands of Africans whose lives you made better in 2017, I wish to take this opportunity to say thank you on behalf of the children who were born healthy this year and their mothers who gave birth safely; families who have access to clean water and who no longer risk illness or even death drinking from contaminated sources; and so many others.
Your generosity to Bread and Water for Africa® has made all of this possible – and more!
As you will read below, Baraka, (which means “blessing” in Kenya’s native language of Kiswahili), all that we have accomplished together in my home country of Kenya, as well as Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe and elsewhere. Working together with our grassroots partners, Bread and Water for Africa® and you form a team that can truly call a blessing. Here’s just a little of what you have helped to make possible in 2017 alone:
• 53 children who were living at the Lewa Children’s Home in Eldoret, Kenya received food, health care, and other basic needs, as well as an education.
• 68 orphaned, abandoned or destitute children were supported through foster care and extended family living arrangements.
• 96 orphaned children found a loving home at the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Lusaka, Zambia which provided for all of their basic needs including food, shelter and healthcare, as well as educational opportunities and vocational training, and counseling.
• Another 84 children living in foster care received food support, a living allowance, assistance with school fees and basic health care through Kabwata’s outreach program.
• 65,000 people received medical care, counseling and health education from the Faith Healing Development Organization, Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone and the Panguma Catholic Mission Hospital in Sierra Leone.
• 1,225 children at the Lamgie Full Cycle Elementary School in Ethiopia have clean drinking water from a well that was completed in May on the school grounds.
• 460 children were provided with an education at the Kipkeino Primary School in Eldoret, Kenya, including orphaned and abandoned children living at the Lewa Children’s Home.
• An additional 34 vulnerable children in the Eldoret area received financial aid for school tuition, supplies and uniforms through Lewa’s outreach program.
• 150 female farmers received training and supplies from Faith Healing Development Organization in Sierra Leone to establish small farming operations which sustained their basic needs.
With the support of Bread and Water for Africa®, I have also truly been blessed to be the mother of hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children who have been able to call the Lewa Children’s Home their home over the years. Thanks to you, a child who is all alone in the world and brought to Lewa soon learns that he or she now has a loving home where all their needs are met and dozens of brand-new “siblings” who treat them as a brother or sister.
Your generosity warms my heart. Yet despite the many lives we have been able to touch, the need is so much greater. Children and their mothers in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ethiopia and communities in other African countries need so much. Your gift today would help so many.
Orphaned children need school supplies and school fees – a gift of $30 would supply 4 children with the textbooks they need for one year. Expectant mothers need medical care – a gift of $60 would provide that care to 15 mothers in one year. Communities need clean water – a gift of $120 goes a long way to bringing water lines and wells to communities with no running water.
Please send your end-of-year gift of $100, $50, $30, or whatever you can, to help us provide these most basic necessities of life for thousands of African children and families as we have done for nearly 20 years. Any support will help and be greatly appreciated – more than you will ever know.
Thank you for always showing how much you care for those in need halfway around the world.
My best regards,
Phyllis Keino R.N.
P.S. You have done so much for the people in Africa through your support this year and as we say goodbye to this blessed year I hope you can find it within your means to give a gift that will help light up this joyous season for the children of Africa who are looking forward to a promising new year anew.
Hoping that on Mother’s Day you’ll be surrounded by love and caring equal to that which you so openly have extended to the children for so many years. You are a very special lady who deserves to have a wonderful day! Our prayers continue to be with you. – Nancy S.
Dear Phyllis, I truly believe you are an angel here on earth. The love that you have for the children is heart warming and inspiring. I admire your dedication to your children and to other families around Eldoret who benefit from your generosity of heart. Thank you for loving the children and for opening your heart and home to them! You are an amazing mother and wonderful person! – Carol C.