Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema recently returned from an extended visit to Kenya to meet with Phyllis Keino, our international spokesperson and founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, to evaluate its progress and conduct a needs assessment.
From there Beth visited Uganda where she evaluated forming potential new partnerships with children’s homes and brought Phyllis with her “because she knows how children’s homes should be managed and can quickly evaluate whether there is a good standard of care at a children’s home.”
While she was in the country, she also visited our current partner Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder) which Bread and Water for Africa® has worked with to support its education program through the donation of books.
In the past two years, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided 44,000 books to Bega kwa Bega which distributed them to 120 impoverished rural schools benefiting more than 15,000 students.
In addition, Beth visited its organic farming training center and the farm manager who is very well educated in organic farming methods and is a strong advocate for food sufficiency at both the family and community levels.
Beth came away very impressed in the training center, which is used by Makerera University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in all of Africa, as an organic farming internship facility.
And she was equally impressed with the model farming sites she visited where she met farmers who are being trained in the best ways to make use of their very small plots of land utilizing every spot possible and learning to plant and harvest throughout the year using crop rotation among other things.
“The Bega kwa Bega program is a great example of how food self-sustainability at a grassroots level benefits family and, eventually, whole communities,” Beth commented. “It is always true that when every family’s needs are met at the grassroots level, the whole community changes.”
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.”
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.
In Zambia, Angela Miyanda takes in the country’s most vulnerable children and provides them with a loving home. But equally important is the fact that in doing so, she also prepares them for the day they will walk out when they must be ready to live on their own – much like when it’s time for a fledgling to leave its mother’s nest.
As she tells us, “The Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre was formed to provide basic requirements for orphaned and other vulnerable children in Zambia. Through the provision of education, shelter, health, nutrition, love and security we try to help the children reach their full potential in life.”
Most of the children who came to Kabwata to live 10 or 15 years ago are adults who have completed secondary school and are attending colleges and universities, and Angela justifiably takes pride in their success.
But it is the other young adults, those who are not so strong academically, who worry her. She knows they are capable of becoming self-sufficient with assistance in learning a trade.
Surprisingly, she found that four of her “children” had an interest – and an aptitude – for baking and thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® they received the training they needed not just to get a job, but to start their own cake bakery business by assisting them in acquiring the ovens and capital they need to get off the ground.
“This is a project that targets older children who leave Kabwata for reintegration back into society,” explained Angela. “This project believes this gesture to the youth will make a big impact on encouraging even those who have not made it academically.”