This month, Bread and Water for Africa® executive director Beth Tessema is spending several weeks in East Africa developing new partnerships in order to enable us to provide assistance to more and more Africans, particularly children.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Beth toured the infamous Kibera slum, the largest slum in Africa and among the largest slums in the world, home to an estimated 250,000 impoverished people, the majority of them children.
It is there that we now have a new partner, the Seed Foundation, with the mission of transforming the lives of these vulnerable children living in squalor by providing them with access to a good education, while ensuring they also get fed during the school day.
“Most parents send their children to school because of the feeding program,” explained Beth. “Yes, in the short term the children are fed, but in the mid-term and long-term they get an education that will enable them to reach their full potential leading towards a better life than in the slum.”
Through our newly-established partnership with the Seed Foundation, we are working to raise $7,200 to provide meals to 100 children for an entire year – that amounts to just $72 per child per year.
The children in Kibera live with their families in a shack with an average size of 12 feet by 12 feet with mud walls, a corrugated tin roof and a dirt floor. These “homes” often house up to eight family members or more, and many sleep on the floor.
For them, attending the Seed Foundation school where they are learning and getting fed is a respite from their dire living conditions at home.
“Our program addresses the educational needs of the most vulnerable children within the communities in the slums of Kibera,” says Seed Foundation founder and director Patrick Odongo.
He explained that Kibera is “an informal set-up which bears the heaviest burden of employment and poverty in all of Nairobi. Due to rampant unemployment and the inadequacy of resources in rural areas, Kenyans migrate from their rural homes to Nairobi in search of jobs – and end up finding themselves in one of the most populous slums in Africa.
“The Seed School was created to offer students a quality education, and combine it with a feeding program,” Patrick continued. “Two meals are provided every day to every student. This helps in preventing stunting and other malnutritional-related diseases.”
In addition, he noted that the feeding program enables the children to be able to concentrate on their studies, instead of focusing on empty bellies.
The children from impoverished families who are able to attend the Seed School realize how fortunate they are.
“These are children who come from less privileged backgrounds and families,” said Patrick. “Our program offers hope and assurance for these children – giving them hopes and opportunities for a predictive and foreseeable future where they will be self-reliant.”
For us at Bread and Water for Africa® that is what we have been all about for more than 20 years – addressing a child’s immediate needs including food and shelter, while at the same time giving them the opportunity for a brighter future, and in this case – a life out of the slum.
Little Nyarai was only two years old when she was brought to Bread and Water for Africa® partner in Zambia, the Kabwata Orphange and Transit Centre.
She is too young to understand why she is there, but old enough to ask “where’s my mommy?”
The sad and tragic fact is that her mother was living in a hospital, deathly ill suffering from a terminal illness and was unable to work and care for her daughter.
“There is no other family,” Kabwata Executive Director Angela Miyanda told us.
With no one else in the world to care for this little girl, there’s no telling what her fate would be, what kind of future she would have…or even if she would have a future.
But with the love and care of Angela and her staff, all dedicated to literally saving the lives of hundreds of children in dire circumstances just like Nyarai, after only two months at Kabwata we are thrilled to learn that she is thriving.
“Nyarai had malnutrition which is now clearing off,” Angela reported.
And this little girl who seeming had no hope and future, has both.
It is with great relief that we are pleased to report good news on the agriculture front from Sierra Leone that the 2019 planting season started on time!
Bread and Water for Africa® has long supported the agricultural operations of our partner in the country, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), particularly its rice farm, so it was especially nice to hear from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations that: “Following a timely onset of seasonal rains, planting of paddy rice, to be harvested from September, started in 2019.”
Rice is the staple food in Sierra Leone and after years of disappointing harvests due to poor rains, it is good to know that the weather is cooperating with the farmers this year.
However, that does not mean that there still are not concerns. The FAO also reported that “despite the overall favorable food security conditions, some vulnerable households still need external food assistance.”
According to the FAO, “pockets of poverty remain in the country,” citing an analysis that 124,000 people will be in need of food assistance until September.
But thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, FHDO is expecting a bumper harvest of rice this fall which will go to feed thousands of hungry Sierra Leoneans who are most in need in the impoverished country.
An obstetric ultrasound is a critical tool in ensuring a fetus is healthy and developing normally – and thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® one is on the way to a newly-opened hospital in Cameroon.
Recently we were proud to announce – again thanks to our generous supporters – that our partner there, Hope Services Ministry International, had just opened a new hospital in Douala with significant financial resources from Bread and Water for Africa® in order to serve tens of thousands of the most needy in the country.
But once that task was completed, the next step was to equip it with the most modern medical equipment possible.
In partnership with New Orleans Medical Mission Services, whose mission is to bring medical equipment and supplies to needy people in foreign countries, we are working to ship a 40-foot container filled with 21,100 pounds of medical supplies.
Among the items are thousands of various types of needles, syringes, tubing, bandages, dressing, gauze, clamps…the list goes on and on.
However, the single most important item in the shipment is a Sequoia ultrasound system, refurbished to be good as new.
With the ultrasound machine, doctors will be able to determine the actual gestational age of the fetus, determine its location, check for the number of fetuses, check for major physical abnormalities, assess fetal growth, detect fetal movements and heartbeat, determine the sex of the baby – and most importantly, confirm fetal viability.
Hope Services’ Bonendale Hospital is able to provide general consultation and emergency services, minor surgeries, laboratory services, deliveries, antenatal care and post-natal counseling, and coming soon will be pediatric services, vaccinations, and major surgical services – all of which are desperately needed in the country.
Hope Services has been providing free and extremely-low cost medical care to the most needy and vulnerable in Cameroon for 25 years through makeshift clinics and outreach programs and now, thanks to people like you is in sight of reaching its true potential.
“Our long term goal has been the extension of medical services in Douala for the benefit of the poor,” says Hope Services founder and director Esther Ndichafah. “This project is a giant step into our long-term goal.”
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® the poultry farm in Sierra Leone operated by our partner there, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), is operating in full swing, just like Old MacDonald’s Farm with “here a cluck, there a cluck, everywhere a cluck-cluck.”
Two years ago, FHDO executive director Rev. Francis Mambu came to us with a request for assistance in the construction of a poultry farm where thousands of chickens would be raised from eggs (with plenty of surplus eggs to sell at the local market). This has provided thousands of Sierra Leoneans with access to affordable fresh poultry, which is hard to find in the country, and expensive when available.
In the photos Rev. Mambu sent us, he is surrounded by hundreds of nearly full-grown chickens. Not only does the farm make chickens and eggs available for families, it also generates income for FHDO towards its mission of providing low-cost health care services for the indigent, and education for children.
As the photo illustrates, while the chickens cannot likely be considered “free-range,” they also do not spend their lives contained in tiny cages barely larger than themselves. This allows them to enjoy their lives before being enjoyed as a special treat for dinner on the plates of roughly 5,000 hungry Sierra Leoneans each year.