Lerato Children’s Home: Empowering Melissa and Others to Reach Their Full Potential

Lerato Children’s Home: Empowering Melissa and Others to Reach Their Full Potential

Bread and Water for Africa® longtime partner Shinga Development Trust in Zimbabwe, which operates the Lerato Children’s Village,  was founded with the lofty goal of meeting the basic needs of orphaned and vulnerable children by providing them with a home where they are fed and sheltered, given healthcare and the opportunity for an education – and most importantly, loved.

Founder and director Margaret Makambira treats all those she takes in as “her” children, and to many, she becomes the only “mother” they have known in their short lives.

And through that, her overarching objective is “to empower children with the goal of helping them to reach their full potential leading to self-sufficiency.”

In order to address each child’s individual needs, they are provided with case management which includes a needs assessment upon arrival, continuous monitoring and regular evaluations as to their physical, social, psychological and emotional growth.

In addition, Lerato offers a mentorship program where a social worker is available to counsel them on a wide range of important topics including adolescent development, personal hygiene, abuse, their rights and responsibilities and peer pressure – just as any caring parent would do for their own child.

Margaret also explained that as the children grow and mature, they are taught life skills “where children are provided with important tools for development which teaches them to be independent and self-reliant; trainings include gardening, poultry-raising, sewing, cooking and cleaning.”

Many of the orphaned and abandoned children who come to Lerato had never been to school and today “are pursuing their educational dreams…and preparing themselves for a much better future” now, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, says Margaret.

Among them is 13-year-old Melissa – who is NOT a witch – although that false accusation by her extended family relatives after both her parents died is how she ended up at the Lerato Children’s Village.

Young Melissa has had much tragedy in her short life following the death first of her father, and then her mother. At just 10 years old, she was an orphan who was left in the care of her grandmother, then an aunt and a grandfather.

“Her grandfather and aunt started to accuse her of witchcraft and refused to give her food,” reported Margaret. “She survived by begging.”

After her situation was reported to the government Department of Social Development, Melissa was brought into the loving arms of Margaret.

“When Melissa first arrived at Lerato, she was withdrawn and did not like to socialize with any of the other children,” Margaret told us, but she received counseling to help her adjust to her new living environment. “The counseling sessions were quite helpful as she now relates well with the other children.”

Melissa had also not attended school, but Margaret was able to place her in a nearby school at an appropriate grade level for her to begin her educational journey.

Melissa is just one of the thousands of orphaned and abandoned children who have found a home – a place to belong, be loved and be cared for – at the children’s homes we partner within Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Kenya for more than two decades, all made possible by the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®

Putting Smiles on Orphans’ Faces in Zambia

Putting Smiles on Orphans’ Faces in Zambia

At the Kabawata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, our longtime partner Angela Miyanda. Its founder and director, is caring for 62 children –36 girls and 26 boys – all orphaned or abandoned and brought to her by the country’s Department of Social Welfare.

Among them is Amon, a 13-year-old 8th-grader who arrived there when he just 5 and began primary school the next year, likely highly unlikely for him without the love and dedication of Angela, and the financial assistance from the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, and who now has big dreams and is determined to make them a reality.

“When I finish school, I want to be an accountant,” says Amon. “So, I study very hard in all my subjects – especially in Mathematics!”

Like any teenage boy, he tells us he likes to play football (soccer), as well as read as many books as he can get his hands on, and even adds, “I also like to work.”

“The Kabwata orphanage has helped me a lot,” he said. “I have learned a lot of things like good behavior, respecting elderly people and loving the people who are around us.

“Here at Kabwata everyone is treated equally, and we are given everything we need like food, clothes, blankets and other things.

“I love this place because everyone is cared for and we live happy.”

And as for Angela who has transformed this young boy’s life as he transitions into successful adulthood:

“Kabwata is home to children in need and those who have no one they can depend on like Amon,” says Angela. “Today, our vision is beyond my grandest imagination because of the assistance we have received thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®. Our home has become a place of refuge and also a ladder for them to step up on to achieve their dreams.”

“You have given hope to those in seemingly hopeless situations.”

 

Medicines, Medical Supplies and Equipment Make a Big Difference in the Lives of Thousands of Cameroonians

Medicines, Medical Supplies and Equipment Make a Big Difference in the Lives of Thousands of Cameroonians

Our longtime partner in Cameroon, Hope Services Ministry International (HSMI), was founded in 1994 to provide humanitarian services including free and low-cost health care to tens of thousands of children, women, prisoners and vulnerable people in general.

Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were recently able to ship a 40-foot container containing medicines,  body health care supplies  for new mothers, medical supplies for hospitals and clinics such as sterile examination gloves and medical equipment including stretchers, wheelchairs, oxygen tubes, and more.

CEO Esther Ndichafah reported to us that they focused their distributions in local communities where there is much hardship is being experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nothing has really been small at such moments when people are struggling to meet their most basic needs,” says Esther.

For example, among the over-the-counter medicines HSMIs received is Zegerid, an antacid which is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems, such as acid reflux, ulcers and even prevent stomach bleeding in very ill patients, with Esther noting that “the prevalence of gastritis is relatively high, and this has helped many to find relief.”

Another seemingly small item that is greatly appreciated by nursing mothers is a body balm made of shea butter, with Esther saying that the skin rejuvenating properties of the body balm has helped many mothers with the post-delivery skin healing process.

In addition, HSMI  was also able to partner with another non-profit organization to carry out a medical mission which treated  many  people with a variety of health conditions such as hernias and lipomas, an overgrowth of fat cells under the skin which become benign tumors and can cause pain, complications or other symptoms.

“The donated supplies were used in the surgical procedures,” she reported.

Although HSMI  is located in Cameroon, it also regularly provides services to neighboring Chad which she notes is one of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries.

And with a life expectancy of about 52 years for women and 49 years for men, combined with poor healthcare infrastructure and being prone to conflicts, only makes matters worse.

“Some parts of the country are highly destitute including some of the villages we have been reaching out to,” said Esther. “These medications and relief items helped ameliorate their very basic lifestyle and every time they receive things of this nature, it meets a great need.”

And through the use of the medicines, supplies and equipment, HSMI  is also able to provide healthcare to those who have fled their homes due to violence in their regions who are known as internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“With the items we received through this shipment, we successfully reached out to hundreds of IDPs in Yaounde and Douala and less privileged people in our health care facilities,” she said. “And we are still reaching and planning to reach out to more people as the COVID-19 pandemic phases out.

“The donations were very timely given the various crises we have gone through in Cameroon in recent times, and many people have experienced untold hardships. It was a great relief to all age groups.”

And to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who help make all we do possible, Esther says:

“We wish to express our sincere gratitude for reaching out to thousands of Cameroonians. We count it a privilege that you trust and place such a responsibility in our hands.”

Thank You: For many years you have lived by Proverbs 19:17 to give hope to thousands of orphaned children throughout Africa!

Thank You: For many years you have lived by Proverbs 19:17 to give hope to thousands of orphaned children throughout Africa!

Dear Supporter of Bread and Water for Africa®,

September 5 is the United Nations’ International Day of Charity which was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa who devoted her life to helping the destitute.

For more than 45 years, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries around the world, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless.

For more than 20 years, Bread and Water for Africa® has strived to live up to the ideals of Mother Teresa by providing loving homes for thousands of orphaned, abandoned and destitute African children in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

And on this year’s International Charity Day on Saturday, we dedicate this day to our supporters across the country who live by the words of Proverbs 19:17,Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed”.                                         

literally saving lives of countless children who no doubt would’ve lived short lives struggling on the streets of urban cities and rural villages with no one to care for and love them.

In Kenya, our international spokesperson, Phyllis Keino, provides a loving home for dozens of children at the Lewa Children’s Home where they receive three meals a day, a warm bed to sleep in each night, healthcare and hope for a brighter future through education, as does our longtime partner in Zimbabwe, Margaret Makambira, founder and director of Shinga Development Trust which operates the Lerato Children’s Village, constructed and supported thanks to our supporters.

In Zambia, another of our longtime partners, Angela Miranda, founder and director of the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre, has cared for 1,424 children both Zambian and non-Zambian refugees fleeing violence in other surrounding countries since our partnership begin in 1998 and through 2019.

In addition, again thanks to our supporters, Angela has been able to provide aid to 517 children living in foster care and food support to 216 more during that period.

And through Kabwata, 98 children and youth who lived there were able to enroll in higher education, and of those, 60 secured professional jobs, something practically unthinkable when they arrived there as impoverished infants, toddlers, youth children and youth with no home, no family and not knowing where they next meal would come from or where they would be sleeping that night.

Mrs. Miyanda is very proud of her work and the children she has raised, many of whom are now successful professionals including engineers, teachers, nurses, health inspectors, members of the Zambian Air Force and Navy, police officers, administrative professionals, social workers, marketing professionals, bankers and bakers.

Currently, the home houses 53 children, ranging in age from 2 months to 16 years. In addition, 13 children over 16 live in supervised homes and 33 children live with extended family members or in foster care arrangements throughout the community and receive regular support from Kabwata.

Kabwata children are a great example of how orphaned, abandoned and destitute children can become successful citizens when opportunities are available, and support is provided.

“Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies,” notes the UN. “Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and protection of cultural and natural heritage.”

Thank you for all you do on behalf of the children of Africa,

Sincerely,

Bethlehem Tessema

Executive Director

Bread and Water for Africa 

A gift to Kenyan Children- Thank you! Asante Sana!

A gift to Kenyan Children- Thank you! Asante Sana!

For many years, Richard “Dick” Landis has been partnering with Bread and Water for Africa® to help improve the lives of Kenyan children.

First was his support of the Lewa Children’s Home, the Kipkeino Primary School and Baraka Farm, all integrated under the direction of Bread and Water for Africa® international spokesperson Phyllis Keino.

A successful retired businessman and track coach, Landis and his wife, Toini, have committed the biggest part of his retirement to working in Kenya, so far making the 18-hour trip some 40 times, notes a 2017 article in the Cornell College alumni magazine, his alma mater.

As noted in the article, he and Toini created a foundation to support their efforts which is building a high school and medical clinic with one of his former runners, a tribal elder.

That school is Kebeneti Secondary School in the town of Kericho where Bread and Water for Africa® and Mr. Landis have been partnering together for the past few years, first getting the start-up school established and then working on improvements and upgrades year after year.

Kebeneti opened in 2015 with 50 students, and has new grown to an enrollment of 480, where girls outnumber boys 244 to 236.

That former runner and tribal elder, Titus Korir, noted that the opening of the school four years ago was necessary because there was no secondary school in the area forcing children who had graduated from primary school who lived in the community to walk many miles to the nearest secondary school to continue their education.

Since the opening of the school, Bread and Water for Africa® has teamed up with Mr. Landis to construct six classrooms, as well as the construction of a chemistry lab and physics lab, which we then equipped with modern equipment.

Mr. Landis was quick to recognize the generous contributions of Unilever and the Finley Trust who supporting equipping the labs. “They were very helping with the labs,” he told us.

To accommodate the rapidly growing student body population, we are now in the process of constructing four more additional classrooms.

Most recently, we have just completed the construction of a dining hall and kitchen which was celebrated in grand style with a ceremony commending Bread and Water for Africa® and Mr. Landis on November 24 with ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Mr. and Mrs. Landis.

In a card written by a student, the student wrote:

To Landis family,

Wow! Thank you for the lovely gift! Thank you for your kindness; thank you for being the person you are.

You are a person who makes life easier and better for everyone in need.

You put others before yourself, making us feel special and important! It is a privilege and a please to know you Bread and Water for Africa!

We appreciate you Bread and Water for Africa ®. We thank you Mr. and Mrs. Landis.

A plaque on the exterior of the dining hall, known as “Landis Hall,” states: “The construction of this hall was funded with donations from Mr. Richard Landis of Montana, USA, and Bread and Water for Africa. It was officially opened by Richard Landis and his wife Toini on Sunday, 24th November 2019.”

As Mr. Korir stated in his request for assistance in constructing the dining hall, “The dining hall and kitchen are essential as students are currently eating lunch outside and their meals are being cooked in temporary shade.”

He also noted in addition to having a place for the nearly 500 students to sit

down together at lunchtime, the hall will also be used for school assemblies and as a concert hall.