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.
The proverb may be a cliché, but that does make it untrue to say “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
In Zambia, that’s exactly what Bread and Water for Africa® partner Kabwata Orphanage & Transit Centre is proposing to do, albeit on a much larger scale.
Angela Miyanda, director of the Kabwata Orphanage, founded the home in 1998 out of compassion for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Zambia to provide them basic necessities of life.
“Through the provision of education, shelter, health, nutrition, love and security we try to help the children reach their full potential in life,” says Angela.
To assist in the funding of the orphanage leading to self-sufficiency, she has created a banana plantation, which has expanded over the years because of its success and competent management, as well as a vegetable garden.
“Our long term goal is to achieve self-sufficiency,” said Angela. “In order to do this we plan to expand our income generating projects.”
But now, Angela is busily working on another income-generating project with help from Bread and Water for Africa® – fish farming.
The short, medium and long term goals for the fish farm is to first learn the guidelines to dig a fish pond and gain experience in its operation and then expand from there.
In addition, Angela notes that some of the older children at Kabwata will be included in the project for training as preparation for the time when they move out of the orphanage.
Angela said she has already acquired the land, and that it only takes a week to actually dig the pond, another 10 days to prepare the ponds for stocking and that the time to harvest will be between 90 and 120 days.
Angela is proposing two dig two ponds that will contain 3,000 fish each with additional stocking to occur at six-week intervals for continuation and projects making between $8,000 and $10,000 annually in profits.
In total, Angela estimates the fish ponds will result in the production of 24,000 fish annually. About a third of the fish –8,000 – will be used to feed the children at the orphanage, with the other two-thirds being sold at local markets to raise operating funds for Kabwata towards its goal of reaching self-sufficiency.
She has also already established a relationship with various shops that sell farm produce every day and they will be able to get from the project.
Initially, a group of six people will be necessary to operate the fish farm, as well as a farm manager with experience in fish farming and a supervisor with knowledge of water reticulation.
In requesting grant funding to dig the ponds, Angela comments that Kabwata has been a partner with Bread and Water for Africa® since inception.
“Today we look back at the many achievements and we are amazed at what faithfulness can be when two partners come together for the assistance of vulnerable people,” she said.
“We are aware, that with time, the project will need to stand on its own for its continuity. The time is getting close and indeed we are getting ready to be weaned.
“Words will never be enough to pay our gratitude to the entire team of Bread and Water for Africa®. Children in the project have made higher than they ever expected. They are a testimony of what love can do.
“Thank you Bread and Water for Africa®. We will never disappoint you.”